Bridgeport, Chicago

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Community area
Community Area 60 - Bridgeport
The intersection of West 35th Street and Halsted in Bridgeport.
The intersection of West 35th Street and Halsted in Bridgeport.
Location within the city of Chicago
Location within the city of Chicago
Coordinates: 41°50.4′N 87°39.0′W / 41.8400°N 87.6500°W / 41.8400; -87.6500Coordinates: 41°50.4′N 87°39.0′W / 41.8400°N 87.6500°W / 41.8400; -87.6500
Country United States
State Illinois
County Cook
City Chicago
Neighborhoods Bridgeport
 • Total 2.10 sq mi (5.44 km2)
Population (2015)
 • Total 33,878[1]
Demographics 2015[1]
 • White 31.93%
 • Black 2.81%
 • Hispanic 28.18%
 • Asian 34.54%
 • Other 2.54%
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes parts of 60608, 60609 and 60616
Median income $43,056[1]
Source: U.S. Census, Record Information Services

Bridgeport, one of 77 community areas of Chicago, Illinois, is a neighborhood on the city's South Side, bounded on the north by the South Branch of the Chicago River, on the west by Bubbly Creek, on the south by Pershing Road, and on the east by the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Neighboring communities are Pilsen across the river to the north, McKinley Park to the west, Canaryville to the south, and Armour Square to the east. Bridgeport has been the home of five Chicago mayors. Once known for its racial intolerance, Bridgeport today ranks as one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods.[2]


The White Eagle Brewing Company building in Bridgeport, designed by John S. Flizikowski, once stood at the corner of W. 37th Street and South Racine.

Bridgeport served as a shortcut for French traders who soon saw the economic potential for a canal. When Fort Dearborn was completed, what is now Bridgeport became Leigh's Place. Centered on James Leigh's farm, it became Chicago's first neighborhood. In 1836, the area was renamed Bridgeport.[3]

Historically, much of the neighborhood was initially an Irish-American enclave. In the 1830s, large numbers of immigrants from Ireland started settling in this working-class neighborhood. Many of the same Irish immigrants who helped build the Erie Canal later came to Chicago to work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Because of inadequate funding for the project, the State of Illinois began issuing "Land Scrip" to the workers rather than paying them with money. A large number of those Irish-Americans who received the scrip used it to purchase canal-owned land at the northern end of the canal where it meets the south branch of the Chicago River. The original Bridgeport village, named "Hardscrabble," centered on what is now the section of Throop Street north of 31st Street.[4] The area later became known as Bridgeport because of its proximity to a bridge on the Chicago River, which was too low to allow safe passage for boats, forcing cargo to be unloaded there. Finley Peter Dunne later wrote about this area in popular sketches around the turn of the 20th century. Dunne's protagonist, Mr. Dooley, lived on "Archey Road" (present day Archer Avenue).

Although the Irish are Bridgeport's oldest and arguably most famous ethnic group, Bridgeport has also been home to a large number of other groups. Bridgeport is also home to many Italian-Americans, as is its smaller neighbor to the east, Armour Square.[5][6] Many Lithuanian-Americans settled along Lituanica Avenue, which runs between 31st Street and 38th Place one block west of Halsted Street in what was once called "Lithuanian Downtown" and the center of Lithuanian settlement in Chicago. Today, there are also large numbers of first and second generation Mexican-Americans and Chinese-Americans who, like the Irish immigrants of the 19th century, have settled in the Bridgeport area due to its affordable housing and proximity to their work.

Bridgeport's Polish history is most visibly represented in its two churches in the Polish Cathedral style: St. Mary of Perpetual Help, and St. Barbara. The Art Institute of Chicago has done restoration work on the paintings in the Shrine Altars at St. Mary of Perpetual Help which date back to 1890, with further plans calling for restoration of the stained glass windows and to complete the painting of the interior ceilings and rotunda.

The Chinese influence in Bridgeport has also followed in the tradition of ethnic groups in the neighborhood establishing places of worship, with the Ling Shen Ching Tze (真佛宗美) Buddhist Temple on West 31st Street being established in 1992.[7]


Bridgeport has been the home or birthplace of five mayors of Chicago, representing all but 10 years between 1933 and 2011, illustrating the neighborhood's influence on Chicago politics for most of the 20th century.[8] These five men were Edward Joseph Kelly, mayor of Chicago from 1933 to 1947; Martin H. Kennelly, mayor of Chicago from 1947 to 1955; Richard J. Daley, mayor of Chicago from 1955 until his death in 1976; Michael A. Bilandic, initially appointed by City Council to finish Richard J. Daley's term as mayor, the former Bridgeport alderman won the special election in 1977 and served until 1979; and Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago from 1989 until 2011.

Kelly, Kennelly, the elder Daley, and Bilandic comprised an unbroken, 46-year period (1933–1979) in which Bridgeport was home to the city's mayor. Richard J. Daley is widely acknowledged as being the architect of the Chicago's 'machine politics' for a large part of the 20th century.[9] Daley's base was rooted largely in Bridgeport's working-class Irish population with the 11th Ward as his vanguard.[10][11] The 11th Ward Democratic party, which is headquartered in Bridgeport near 36th Street and Halsted, remains a stronghold of the Daley family today, represented by Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson and on the Cook County Board of Commissioners by his uncle John P. Daley. John Daley is also the Democratic Committeeman for the 11th ward.[12] Alderman Thompson represents the third generation of the Daley family to serve in Chicago politics. He is the grandson of Richard J. Daley and the nephew of Richard M. Daley. Thompson was sworn into office in May 2015.

In the 2016 presidential election, Bridgeport went for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a two-to-one margin. The area cast 7,471 votes for Clinton, cast 2,859 votes for Trump, and approximately 550 ballots were cast for third party candidates.[13] In 2012, Barack Obama won Bridgeport by a larger margin of nearly three-to-one. The area cast 6,988 votes for Obama, 2,352 votes for Mitt Romney, and approximately 200 votes were cast for third party candidates.[14]

Bridgeport is represented in the Illinois Senate by Tony Muñoz and in the Illinois House of Representatives by Theresa Mah.[15]


Chicago Public Schools operates several primary schools in Bridgeport: Mark Sheridan Academy, Philip D. Armour School, Robert Healy School, Charles N. Holden School, and George B. McClellan School.[16][17] Neighborhood residents are zoned to Tilden High School in the Canaryville neighborhood just south of Bridgeport.[18] Neighborhood Parochial elementary schools in Bridgeport operate under supervision of the Archdiocese of Chicago: Bridgeport Catholic Academy, Santa Lucia School, St. Jerome School, St. Mary School and St Barbara School.

The Richard J. Daley Branch of the Chicago Public Library system is located at 3400 South Halsted Street.[19]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 53,553
1940 49,109 −8.3%
1950 46,070 −6.2%
1960 41,560 −9.8%
1970 35,150 −15.4%
1980 30,923 −12.0%
1990 29,877 −3.4%
2000 33,694 12.8%
2010 31,925 −5.3%
Historical population citation[20]

According to an analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, there were 33,878 people and 12,519 households in Bridgeport. The racial makeup of the area was 31.9% White, 2.8% African American, 34.5% Asian, 2.5% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.8% of the population. In the area, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 19, 25.5% from 20 to 34, 20.1% from 35 to 49, 21.5% from 50 to 64, and 10.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years.[1]

The median household income was $43,056 compared to a median income of $47,831 for Chicago at-large. The area had an Income distribution in which 29.8% of households earned less than $25,000 annually; 25.6% of households earned between $25,000 and $49,999; 16.7% of households earned between $50,000 and $74,999; 11.0% of households earned between $75,000 and $99,999; 10.4% of households earned between $100,000 and $149,999 and 6.5% of households earned more than $150,000. This is compared to a distribution of 28.8%, 22.8%, 16.1%, 10.7%, 11.3% and 10.3% for Chicago at large.[1]

Over 75% of Bridgeport residents have graduated high school and approximately one quarter of residents have graduated college.[1]


The Bridgeport Art Center occupies the former Spiegel Catalog Warehouse building at 1200 West 35th Street in the Central Manufacturing District-Original East Historic District.

Due to its position on the canal, Bridgeport became an industrial center. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the Central Manufacturing District emerged from Bridgeport.[21] A July 2016 analysis by the University of Illinois at Chicago showed there are approximately 5,200 jobs within the community area.[22] Manufacturing remains the top employing industry sector the Bridgeport community with 30% of those who work in Bridgeport holding such jobs. Manufacturing is followed by retail trade (9.5%), education (8.8%), accommodation and food (8.3%) and wholesale trade (8.1%). Almost forty percent of the workers in these fields reside outside of Chicago. The top 5 employing industry sectors of community residents are accommodation and food service (13.9%), healthcare (10.7%), education (9.1%), retail trade (8.9%) and manufacturing (8.5%).[1]


In 2008 the Chicago Sun-Times listed Bridgeport as one of the four most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, alongside Albany Park, West Ridge, and Rogers Park. A traditionally working-class neighborhood, with a diverse ethnic heritage, Bridgeport's cultural history has left an indelible mark on Chicago cuisine. While pizza is well represented in Bridgeport, it is the breaded-steak sandwich served by most of the neighborhood's pizzerias, that the neighborhood can claim as an original.[23] Chinese and Mexican fare are also well represented, particularly along 31st Street, Halsted Street, and Archer Avenue. Bridgeport in the early 21st century has also begun to experience an upswing in new restaurants, with a few recent additions serving a wide range of items.[24]

The neighborhood is served by the Bridgeport News, a community newspaper delivered weekly on Wednesdays to homes throughout the neighborhood.

The Bridgeport Art Center and the Chicago Maritime Museum are located in West Bridgeport.

Public transit[edit]

View from southwest of the Orange Line's Halsted Station platform.

The area is served by the CTA's Orange Line at the Halsted and Ashland stations, although Ashland is a few blocks outside of the neighborhood.[25]

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Community Demographic Snapshot: Bridgeport" (PDF). Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. June 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Bridgeport Rising: The consequences of the whiteout of a neighborhood's changing face". 30 June 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Joanne, Gazarek Bloom; Sullivan, Maureen F.; Pogorzelski, Daniel (August 13, 2012). Bridgeport: Images of America. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 6-7. ISBN 9780738577302. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Bridgeport: Lock Zero". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  5. ^ DeGrane, Susan. "A Little Italy". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood comes out as diverse - Jeff McMahon - Scorched Earth - True/Slant". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Google Maps". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "BRIDGEPORT: CHAPTER V". University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Weisberg, Jacob (23 July 2012). "Chicago Style". Slate. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Irish Politics". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "Despite Suburban Address, Finley An Old Machine Pol". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "11th Ward". Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  13. ^ Ali, Tanveer (November 9, 2016). "How Every Chicago Neighborhood Voted In The 2016 Presidential Election". Chicago, Illinois: Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  14. ^ Ali, Tanveer (November 9, 2016). "How Every Chicago Neighborhood Voted In The 2012 Presidential Election". Chicago, Illinois: Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2017. 
  15. ^ Xiao, Xiao; Zhou, Ya (February 17, 2016). "Chinatown Forum Airs Issues in State Representative Race". Medill Reports. Evanston, Illinois: Medill School of Journalism. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  16. ^ Black, Lisa. "Army of volunteers gives Bridgeport school a makeover." Chicago Tribune. June 14, 2008.
  17. ^ "Home". Charles N. Holden School. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Geographic Information Systems". Chicago Public Schools. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Daley Library". Chicago Public Library. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  20. ^ Paral, Rob. "Chicago Community Areas Historical Data". Chicago Community Areas Historical Data. Archived from the original on 18 March 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Keating, Ann Durkin (November 15, 2008). Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226428833. 
  22. ^ "Economic Fact Sheet #1: Chicago and Cook County Economic Trends" (PDF). University of Illinois Chicago. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2011-07-10. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Fremon, David (September 1992). "Rapid transit from Loop to Midway: New line means change for Chicago's southwest side". Illinois Issues. Vol. 18 no. 2. Springfield, Illinois: Sangamon State University. p. 33-36. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 

External links[edit]