Andersonville 2016-10-13T02:29:00+00:00
Andersonville Title Header
PotBelly on Clark Street in Andersonville

History Map Showing the Boundaries of All the Neighborhoods in Chicago

If you’re looking for Scandinavian history and heritage, you can find it here. Located a half square mile in the southeast corner of the Edgewater neighborhood, Andersonville is an old Swedish neighborhood, first settled in the mid-19th century with cherry orchards. At one time there were more Swedes in Chicago than any city outside of Stockholm, but that isn’t the case anymore. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, wooden homes were outlawed in Chicago. The Swedish immigrants who could not afford to build new homes out of stone and brick and began to move outside of the cities northern limits. However, Swedish immigrants arrived in the thousands to Chicago and settled in Andersonville throughout the early 1900’s in the newly built homes surrounding Clark Street. For those that could afford to live in Andersonville, it became a home away from home. Many of the newly arrived Swedish immigrants brought their time-honored traditions and customs with them to the new land. New to these areas the Swedish immigrants created lively ethnic communities, building new churches and social organizations. The variety of churches established—Augustana Lutheran, Mission Covenant, Free Church, and the Swedish branches of the Salvation Army and Methodist and Baptist churches—reflected denominational movements among the Swedish people. Through worship, music, and socials, churches served as important cultural hubs to Swedes in the city, and many single immigrants met their spouses through these churches.

A common trend among most European-American ethnic groups, including the Swedes, was moving to the suburbs during the Depression and post-war periods. By 1930, first-generation Swedes accounted for 20 – 24 percent of the local population. Andersonville declined in the 1930’s through the 1950’s as the Swedes moved but started to slowly make a comeback in the 1960’s. There was a horrible commercial business climate in the area and in an effort to revive the local economy, the Uptown Clark Street Business Association strengthened its commitment to its Swedish heritage by renaming itself the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. On October 17, 1964 Andersonville was rededicated in a ceremony attended by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. At about the same time, the annual Swedish tradition of celebrating the summer solstice blossomed into Midsommarfest, which has since grown into one of Chicago’s largest street festivals.

Some of the businesses that were owned and run by Swedish immigrants didn’t stick around as the neighborhood began to change and new stores and restaurants owned by Koreans, Lebanese, and Mexicans started to pop up. However, 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, by Kurt Mathiasson, as a grassroots effort to preserve and disseminate the history of the great contributions of early Swedish immigrants to Chicago. The Museum 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. The Museum has since undergone several phases of growth, including the 2001 addition of the Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration and the 2009 renovation of the lobby and façade. Andersonville remains one of the most concentrated areas of Swedish heritage in the United States, but its residents and businesses represent a wide array of cultures. In March, 2010, the Andersonville business area was named a National Historic District because of its rich cultural and architectural history. Clark Street, Andersonville’s commercial strip, hosts spots where one can buy antiques, books jewelry, toys, and chocolates, as well as a pleasing array of restaurants and unique bars with a neighborhood feel. Several of the stores and restaurants are owned and operated by local residents. One of the better known bookstores, Women and Children First, has a large collection of feminist/lesbian material, and is known for its author readings and signings.

Demographic Statistics for Andersonville

Cuisine

Chicago has long been known as a city that takes its cuisine seriously. Whether it’s the legendary Taste of Chicago, held in July, or the famous steakhouses that are found throughout the city, there is bound to be something that satisfies everyone’s inner foodie. One of the things that makes Chicago’s food scene so unique and awe-inspiring is the amount of high-quality diverse food. So it comes as no surprise that Andersonville boasts some of the best Swedish food that you can find outside of Stockholm! But it’s more than just that…you can find some outstanding places with a very non-Nordic tradition. From great Lebanese food, to classic American breakfast and brunch spots the choices are endless. North of Catalpa Avenue, you will find a large commercial area catering to the neighborhood’s Hispanic community. Two of the city’s best bakeries are located in Andersonville. For freshly baked pita bread and scrumptious spinach pies, among other delicacies, the Middle Eastern Bakery on Foster Avenue between Clark and Ashland is the place to go. If you like coffee cake…even a little bit, you have to check out the Swedish Bakery at 5348 North Clark Street. You’ll devour the whole thing and wind up guilt ridden, but covered with crumbs and completely satisfied! There’s no need to go anywhere else to satisfy any ethnic food cravings you find yourself falling victim too! Just head on over with an open mind and an empty stomach. Make sure to come and check out everything that Andersonville has to offer.

  • Svea – 5236 N. Clark St.

  • Big Jones – 5237 N. Clark St.

  • M. Henry – 5707 N. Clark St.

  • Anteprima – 5316 N. Clark St.

  • Taste of Lebanon – 1509 W. Foster Ave.

  • Swedish Bakery – 5348 N. Clark St.

  • Middle East Bakery – 1512 Foster Ave.

  • Cosina Grill – 1706 W. Foster Ave.

  • Tanoshii – 5547 N. Clark St.

  • Andies Restaurant – 5253 N. Clark St.

  • The Bongo Room – 5002 N. Clark St.

  • Calo Ristorante – 5343 N. Clark St.

  • Giordano’s – 5207 N. Clark St.

  • Kanela Breakfast Club – 5413 Clark St.

  • Vincent – 1475 W. Balmoral Ave.

Nightlife

Where would we be if we couldn’t enjoy ourselves? We’re all social by nature and Andersonville accomodates that need with a thriving nightlife. Stepping out into the neighborhood at night offers you a variety of options. You can visit local sports bars, small dives or trendy wine bars. There’s places that offer top-notch martinis and others that have low-lights with soft music that make it perfect for a date. The wealth of choices is one of the things that makes it so appealing.

  • Joie De Vine – 1744 W Balmoral Ave

  • Marty’s Martini Bar – 1511 W Balmoral Ave

  • Farragut’s – 5240 N Clark St

  • Moody’s Pub – 5910 N Broadway St

  • The Brixton – 5420 N Clark St.

  • Simon’s Tavern – 5210 N Clark St

  • Replay – 5358 N Clark St.

  • Elixir Lounge – 1509 W Balmoral Ave

  • Sovereign Liquors – 6202 N Broadway St

  • The Pumping Company – 6157 N Broadway

  • @tmosphere – 5355 N Clark St

  • Appellation – 5212 N Clark St