by BRIAN NADIG
A large mural depicting many of Jefferson Park’s historic buildings and two of the area’s first settlers is installed this week in the decorative new pedestrian walkway in front of Jefferson Park’s CTA terminal.
City Year Chicago, a division of Americorps, is developing and installing the mural in partnership with the Northwest Chicago Historical Society, which previously partnered with City Year at its “Community Learning Day” events, the society’s president said. historical Susanna Ernst.
The pedestrian plaza, which was funded with tax increment funding, is located between Popeyes’s Chicken, 4866 N. Milwaukee Ave., and Weston’s Coffee & Tap, 4872 N. Milwaukee Ave. The mural will be on the south wall of the Weston building. , opposite the alley of the people area, which is closed to car traffic.
The mural will include the following structures that still exist in the community: Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, Jefferson National/Hoyne Savings Bank, Our Lady of Victory Church, Jefferson Masonic Temple, Jefferson Park firehouse, Copernicus Center and Wilson Park fieldhouse.
Ernst said the following “lost in time” buildings will also be represented: the 1,900-seat Gateway Theater (now inside the Copernicus Center), the Jefferson Train Depot, and the Times Theatre, which until the 1980s was a dance hall and once hosted concerts, including performances. by the Buckinghams group.
The following descriptions of the settlers depicted in the mural were provided by the Northwest Chicago Historical Society:
Elijah Wentworth – Known as “Old Geese”, Elijah Wentworth came to Chicago in 1827 and later ran the “Wolf Tavern” at the Chicago River Fork. In 1830 it moved 8 miles northwest along a sandy ridge in the middle of a prairie to what is now Jefferson Park. He purchased over 320 acres of land and opened a popular tavern, “Wentworths”, which was located just southwest of the present-day intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Lawrence Avenue. He is considered the first permanent settler in Jefferson Park.
David L. Roberts – Entrepreneur and staunch abolitionist, David L. Roberts settled in the area in 1844. He bought farmland and a tavern from Elijah Wentworth, and he became the most important leader of the local community. In 1850, he co-founded Jefferson Township, choosing the name of the township and becoming the town’s first clerk. He held several leadership positions on the township board for the rest of his life. In 1855 he mapped and placed the village of Jefferson, which included a large public square (now known as Roberts’ Square, across from Beaubien School). In 1861, he co-founded the Jefferson Park Congregational Church, the oldest religious institution in the area. His family has lived in the area for generations, living mostly in large homes along Milwaukee Avenue. He is considered the father of Jefferson Park.