Lake View’s History
After the great Chicago Fire in 1871, the population expanded rapidly beyond Fullerton Avenue, which was then the northern boundary line of the city. In 1882, Lake View was mostly farmland and Lincoln Avenue was the main country road that extended from Fullerton to Lawrence Avenue. Unpaved, it was flanked on both sides by deep draining ditches, usually retaining stagnant water, almost impassable in rainy and wintry weather. Cutting across what was then Lincoln Highway were lesser mud roads. North of Roscoe was a thick grove of oak trees. It spread from Ashland Avenue to the lake. East of Greenview (or Perry as it was called then) was rural including farm houses and barns, grazing cattle and farmers who sold their products to the city markets.
In the 1880s and 1890s, these farms were gradually acquired by real estate firms, divided into city blocks and subdivided into lots for homes. New dwellings sprang up quickly in great number. One attaction to moving to Lake View was that it was not part of the city at that time, and one could still build with cheaper wood frame, rather than the brick required in Chicago after the Fire.
At the time, however, the Lake View area west of Greenview was desolate. All the way to the river were abandoned brick yards and huge ugly, gaping clay-holes. The city used these pits as convenient garbage and refuse dumps. Foul-smelling odors emanated from them when the breezes blew from the west. (The clay holes were filled in the early 1900s.)
In those days, Chicago did not yet have an efficient transportation system. Cumbersome cars, each accommodating about 30 passengers, were drawn over steel tracks by a team of horses at the rate of four to five miles an hour. The Sedgwick street line came closest to Lake View but terminated at Fullerton Avenue.
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