Andersonville Arts Fest Sept 21-22
When: Saturday Sept 21-Sunday Sept 22, 2019 Both days 10AM-6PM
Where: N Clark St between W Winona St (5100N) and Argyle (4900N) Admission: Free
This is a new festival so I have no idea what goes on there. It sounds like a typical art fest, in fact, it’s produced by a company that produces many area festivals. It’s hosted by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. Andersonville is still quaint and so far hasn’t been overrun with chain stores and vacant storefronts. They also just got a branch of Enjoy which is an urban general store at 5307 N. Clark.
This art fest caps off their annual Andersonville Arts Week.
History of Andersonville (from Encyclopedia of Chicago redacted)
Andersonville’s roots as a community extend well back into the 19th century, when immigrant Swedish farmers started moving north into what was then a distant suburb of Chicago. In the 1850’s the area north of Foster and east of Clark was a large cherry orchard. The neighborhood’s first school was built in 1854 at the corne.
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Swedish immigrants, who could not afford to build homes of stone or brick, began to move outside of the city’s in Andersonville in homes surrounding Clark Street.
Before long, the entire commercial strip was dominated by Swedish businesses. The local churches, such as Ebenezer Lutheran Church, Bethany Methodist Episcopal Church, First Evangelical Free Church and St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church, were also built by Swedes.
Swedes began to move to the suburbs during the Depression and post-war and the neighborhood began to decline. The Uptown Clark Street Business Association renamed itself the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. In October 1964, Andersonville was rededicated in a ceremony attended by Chicago Mayor Daley and Illinois Governor Otto Kerner.
While some of the Swedish-owned businesses gave way to stores and restaurants owned by Koreans, Lebanese, and Mexicans, many remained in Andersonville, serving the remaining second and third-generation Swedes as well as the new arrivals to the neighborhood.
The Swedish American Museum was founded in 1976 and was opened to the public in a ceremony attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who returned in 1988 to dedicate new and larger quarters at 5211 North Clark Street.
In the late 1980s, Andersonville began a revival as new groups discovered affordable housing stock, easy access to downtown and the lakefront and the unique commercial district. A large lesbian and gay population developed, spurred by the such businesses as Women & Children First. New shops and eateries giving Clark Street new vitality and diversity.
Today, Andersonville is comprised almost entirely of unique, locally owned, independent businesses. The vast majority of Andersonville merchants have ties in the community beyond their business.
They live in or near to the neighborhood, serve on community committees or boards, provide funds, goods, and time to local charities. Andersonville has become a magnet for all kinds of families with a strong sense of unity and friendliness.
In 2010, the Andersonville business area was named a National Historic District because of its rich cultural and architectural history.
Through its eco program, Andersonville instituted Chicago’s first neighborhood-wide residential composting program in 2013. Andersonville was also the first community in the city to install a “People Spot,” created by turning parking spaces into green space for sitting and gathering. Andersonville has on-street bike corrals encouraging sustainable transportation.
Andersonville Historic Commercial District
The Historic Andersonville commercial district, along Clark Street and Ashland Avenue, is comprised mostly of early twentieth century commercial architecture. One of the best examples is the Temple Theater building, located at 5233 North Clark Street home to Women & Children First Books.
You can take a self-guided tour of “Historic Andersonville!” This historic tour map and tour handout will take you on a 20-minute walking tour of historically significant buildings throughout the commercial area. Remember to stop, shop, and eat too!