Edgewater: A History

Located 7 miles north of the Loop, Edgewater is a historic beachside neighborhood known for its diversity, affordability, and down-to-earth attitude. Whether tasting the neighborhood’s diverse eats or strolling through beautiful areas like the Bryn Mawr Historic District and the fashionable Andersonville, Edgewater is for the unpretentious and curious of heart. Residents love their neighborhood’s great parks and beaches, charming homes, and easy access to downtown (and beyond) via the CTA Red Line and Lake Shore Drive.
Until the late 18th century, the area was dominated by dense woods dotted with orchards operated by German and Irish immigrants. Seeing possibility in Chicago’s exploding population, developers bought up much of the land. John Lewis Cochran headed the project and gave the neighborhood its name in 1885. With a plan to attract affluent Chicagoans, Cochran built mansions along the lake, negotiated the extension of the CTA Red Line to Howard, and provided the area with street lights and lamps. In less than a decade, Edgewater went from woods to one of the first electric suburbs in the country. The neighborhood was annexed to Chicago in 1889.
Cochran’s gambit was a brilliant success; by the 1920s, Edgewater was regarded as one of the most prestigious communities in Chicago and a building boom was well underway.  More…

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