|Origins||Settled by Ferdinand Rohn in 1856 and annexed in 1889|
67th Street on the north, 79th Street on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, Kenwood Avenue to Kimbark Avenue to South Chicago Avenue on the west
This area was first settled in the year 1856 by German farmer Ferdinand Rohn who built a farm where 71 Street and Lake Michigan meets and used the trails in the area to transport his crops.
In the year 1861 the area was annexed into Hyde Park Township, regardless, there were very few farmers that joined Rohn until after the annexation of the area in 1889.
This area was originally heading toward being multiple different neighborhoods such as “Bryn-Mawr” that developed in the early 1890s, then a little while later “Parkside” developed between 67th Street and 71st Streets, then “Essex” developed between 71st Street and 75th Streets. The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a major trigger that sparked development in these areas.
In the 1900s decade longer time white residents of Washington Park fled that neighborhood to become a part of the South Shore neighborhood as they fled from African Americans moving to Washington Park. The new residents developed the “Jackson Park Highlands” area and built an exclusive country club called the “South Shore Country Club” that did not allow African Americans and Jews.
In the 1920s the area was renamed “South Shore” as Irish, Swedish, German and Jewish families moved into this neighborhood as they flocked from the black migration into Washington Park, many more houses and apartments were constructed to house these families.
South Shore would do well during the Great Depression era of the 1930s and prospered well in the 1940s. When restrictive covenants were lifted in 1948 African Americans began moving into this neighborhood.
By the 1950s African Americans would continue to slowly move into the community and white residents became concerned the neighborhood would develop the same socioeconomic problems racially changing communities around them were facing, this caused white flight to begin in higher numbers in the 1960s because panic developed after commercial disinvestment started to become rampant; however, this was halted in 1973 when South Shore Bank attempted to bail out of the community heading for the downtown Loop. The Renewal Effort Service Corporation and the Illinois Housing Development Authority petitioned to not allow the bank to flee the area, the Federal Currency Comptroller listened to the protests and made the bank stay and fall under new management. The bank then worked with urban renewal programs to renovate the area and prevent South Shore from declining.
In the very early 1960s blacks began settling in the Jackson Highlands section of the neighborhood between 67th Street and 71st Street from Stoney Island to the Illinois Central tracks. There was much racial strife about this and backlash from the white community and that’s when the Black Stone Rangers moved into this area partially serving as protection for black youths.
By the later 1960s white flight became a major factor in this community and by 1970 the community was now majority black at 69% black. By the later 1960s the Black Stones had now conquered all the way down to 79th Street. Their new main area became 74th the 79th and Stoney Island to the lake front. The Black Gangster Disciples (Mainly Devil’s Disciple/Black Disciples) moved into the area in second half of the 60s and conquered from 67th to 74th and Stoney Island to the lake front and also from 71st to 79th/South Chicago Ave from Stoney Island to the Illinois Central tracks.
In the early half of the 1970s decade the rest of the white community left the neighborhood leaving this to become a black community.
Problems of crime, drugs and gangs still would move into the South Shore community as the 1980s and 1990s were the most violent decades. The area of 75th Street to 79th Street and Colfax to Yates became the most violent and impoverished area of South Shore, this area became known as “Terror Town” and was mostly controlled by the Black P Stones and Gangster Disciples. Several Strip malls in this area have fallen on hard times since the 1970s and are also the site of where crime happens.
Despite some of the negative in this community over the years the neighborhood has been the home of many middle class black home owners for decades. In the 21st century the middle class African American population has increased as the neighborhood is seeing more renovations; however, South Shore is still one of the more violent and harder neighborhoods in Chicago but is not a blighted area.