Irving Park’s beginnings can be traced back to 1843, when Major Noble purchased 160 acres of land in the area and established a farm. In 1869 the farm changed hands again; its new owners were 4 New Yorkers: Charles T. Race, John S. Brown, Adelbert E. Brown and John Wheeler, who intended to continue farming on the land. They quickly realized it would be much more profitable as a suburban development, so the land was subdivided and an agreement was made with the nearby Chicago and North Western Railroad- the train would stop at Irving Park if a station was built there., and the station stands today. Originally called “Irvington” after Washington Irving, the name was later changed to “Irving Park.”
The Chicago Fire of 1871 brought new residents to the area, and in 1889 Irving Park, along with the rest of Jefferson Township was annexed to Chicago. In 1950 the Kennedy Expressway was constructed and cut through the heart of Irving Park, displacing many residents and businesses. Irving Park was “reborn” in the 1980s, when Chicagoans rediscovered the lovely historic homes built by its earliest residents.
The Irving Park Historical Society, founded in 1984, works to preserve the neighborhood’s heritage and beautiful architecture. Stately homes built in the 1870s and 80s still survive, and the Historical Society has restored many more. In Old Irving, you’ll find an array of vintage styles: Victorians, Queen Annes, Princess Annes, Italiantes, vintage farmhouses, bungalows, graystones, and Prairie School homes. And though it is known for outstanding vintage, if you are looking for new construction- Old Irving has that too. New townhomes and condos aren’t hard to find, and blend well with the historic feel of the neighborhood.