Avalon Park, Chicago
|Community Area 45 - Avalon Park|
Location within the city of Chicago
|• Total||2.97 sq mi (7.69 km2)|
|• Density||3,400/sq mi (1,300/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Codes||parts of 60617, 60619|
|Median household income||$46,903|
|Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services|
Avalon Park, located on the south side of the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois, is one of the city's 77 official community areas and a park. Boundaries are 76th St. to the north, South Chicago Ave. to the east and 87th St. to the south. The community area includes the neighborhoods of Avalon Park, Marynook and Stony Island Park.
Johnathon Pierce began to develop the area under the name "Pierce's Park" in 1888. The Avalon Park Community Church (founded in 1896) led an effort to change the name of the area, and in 1910 the name was changed to Avalon Park. Early settlers included German and Irish railroad workers in the 1880s who built homes on stilts to raise them above the often flooded marshlands. A sewer system created in 1910 helped to drain the area and facilitate further development.
Avalon Park experienced a major demographic change in the 1960s. In the 1960 census, Avalon Park was 0% African American (only six of 12,710 residents). A decade later, Avalon Park was 83% African American, according to the 1970 census. The African American population continued to increase, making up 98% of the residents by 1990. The change in the neighborhood was different from the "white flight" that many other Chicago neighborhoods experienced: the average educational level increased, while the poverty rate decreased from 6.1% to 5.1% between 1960 and 1970. Unlike in some other rapidly changing neighborhoods, the homeownership rate remained high – still above 70%, as it has been since 1950. In the 1980 census, 59% of the population were employed in white-collar occupations; this rose to 65% in the 2000 census.
(Source: "There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, ethnic, and class tensions in four Chicago neighborhoods and their meaning for America" by William Julius Wilson and Richard P. Taub; 2006. The book gives Avalon Park a pseudonym of "Groveland")
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Rapper Common hails from Avalon Park.