Hegewisch is a small area in
Chicago. It is
on the far southeast side of Chicago and is surrounded by
factories, grain elevators, highways, and other industries. By
a little more than five hundred names appeared in the town directory,
of the settlers were foreign born whites.
Hegewisch is built upon Sections
31 and 32, Township 37 North, Range 15 east: Section 5, Township 36
Range 15 east, and that part of Section 6, Township 36 north, Range 15
east, lying east of the Calumet River. The area covers fifteen
Adolph Hegewisch founded the area
of Hegewisch in 1883. He founded the area with the idea of
the Pullman Company's success with its community. Adolph was the
President of the United States Rolling Stock Company at the time
was founded. He also set up large shops and plants.
envisioned building two canals, one shortening the Calumet River, the
connecting Lake Michigan and Wolf Lake. This however, never took
place. The much anticipated industrial development never took
There is some confusion about his first name. Many sources list
his name as Achilles, others as Adolph. Based on my research I
suspect that during the WW II era a local newspaper began calling him
Achilles since Adolph was not a fitting name for the founder of their
Hegewisch became part of the city of
Chicago in 1889, when the village of Hyde Park was annexed on to
In 1920, the population of Hegewisch was forty-seven percent foreign
of which the largest group was Polish, with some Yugoslavians,
and some Swedes. The population declined between 1930 and 1950
of the Depression and World War II The postwar industrial boom in
the South Chicago and Calumet region and the postwar housing shortage
population in the area.
In the 1900's, the number of housing
units in the area increased by thirty-nine percent, and the population
by twenty-five percent. During the 1960's, housing was
by another twenty-nine percent, to three thousand, three hundred and
five units, the population grew to over eleven thousand people.
median value of a single family, owner occupied house in the area in
was forty one thousand, six hundred and seven dollars.
The population of Hegewisch
during the 1920's to almost 7,900,55 percent of who were of Polish
During this time , the distance from Hegewisch to the main part of the
city and its industrialization probably equaled the appeal of its ample
supply of residential land .
The population composition of what was
once all white European Hegewisch has been changing since the 1960's .
The 1990 census showed that Hispanic growth to 11% from 6% in
. Of all the European whites , the ones that were most populous were
Polish . Almost all of the Hispanics are Mexican .
Most of the houses in Hegewisch
are small structures . More than half of the homes are single family
and the rest are mobile homes . Only 2% of the structures are of five
. Most of the units were owned by one owner .
Hegewisch had a period of renovation
beginning in the 1980's with the rebuilding of Hegewisch's major
strip on Baltimore Avenue between 132nd and 134th streets. They
had new sidewalks, curbs, repaved streets, and trees installed in the
due to a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant. They also
a new Metra train station in Hegewisch, which held 1,600
They remodeled Mann Park and added a small playground
They were also able to finally build a library that was long
In February, 1990 Hegewisch was supposed
to be replaced by Lake Calumet Airport . Homeowners were very angry
hearing the news . The people that were to build the airport were
that a "New Hegewisch" would be built a few miles away . But obviously
it never happened because the people did not approve of it.
Click on the links at the left to tour
Chicago's Hegewisch Community.