To sites 15, 16, and 17
Exit the State Park and drive south on Avenue O.  You are in the community of Hegewisch.
Drive south to Brainard Avenue (Brainard runs at an angle and crosses Avenue O at approximately 13800) 
Turn southeast (left) to Powderhorn Lake
Exit Powderhorn Lake and drive northwest(right) to Baltimore Avenue. Turn north (right) on Baltimore Avenue

Hegewisch business district at the turn of the century
15) Hegewisch

Achilles Hegewisch founded the area of Hegewisch in 1883. He founded the area with the idea of following the Pullman Company's success with a similar community. Achilles was president of the United States Rolling Stock Company at the time. He hoped to build homes to accomodate the 1,500 employees of the company at the time. He also set up large shops and plants. Achilles also envisioned building two canals, one shortening the Calumet River, the other connecting Lake Michigan and Wolf Lake. This however never took place. Therefore, the anticipated industrial development did not take place. Hegewisch became part of the city of Chicago in 1889 when the village of Hyde Park was annexed. 

16) Powderhorn Lake

The Lake Calumet area is part of a large wetland complex which until the late 1800's covered most of south-eastern Cook County and extended into northwestern Indiana. It is likely that wetland vegetation was interspersed with open water in the shallower portions of the lake making a boundary between the lake and the wetland. Most of the wetland vegetation was composed of bulrush, cattails, blue-joint grass and sedges. Powderhorn is the one of the nature sites which makes up the Calumet region. Powderhorn is least established natural area with the most diversity of plants and animal species within the city of Chicago. In Powderhorn we can find various types of trees, including different types of oaks, cottonwoods and blue beech. The most common trees found at Powderhorn are different kinds of oaks. The leaves are lobed and simple, and their condition is mostly undamaged. This means that they are not burned, broken or scarred. A few of them, though might be cankered, missing or flaking. These trees are there for the environment, for cleaner air and to provide for better biodiversity.

Flocks of migrating waterfowl and endangered birds manage to survive in this industrial area encompassing the Little Calumet River. The area is also used by the public for fishing. It is also utilized by environmental groups because if it's diversity and beauty. In the middle of Powderhorn is the marsh. Water from that marsh is not clean and is not safe to drink. Powderhorn is a wetland. There are many trees, but Powderhorn is not a forest. 

17) Hegewisch Shopping District
Views of Early Baltimore Avenue Shopping District in hegewisch

The major commercial strip of Hegewisch is along South Baltimore Avenue (originally known as Erie Avenue) from 132nd to 134th streets. This shopping district was orginally set up by Achilles Hegewisch when the town was developed. The Hegewisch Theater is a former movie theater located on the 133rd block of Baltimore Avenue. The white facade of the building is unusual for the area. It is now used as a Knights of Columbus hall. The Opera House was located at 13305 Baltimore Avenue. The building was built in 1888. At the time it was located above what was the Hegewisch Branch Post Office. It was a favorite destination of residents and members of surrounding commuities who came to see the theatrical and musical presentations staged there. In the early twenties it presented silent films. The first talking picture shown there was "A Face in the Fog." The theater was able to seat 950 attendees. Today the Opera House building is home to Cousin's Restaurant. 

  Continue tour                                                                                                  Return to title page