Although Woodlawn first boomed during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, it was not until the 1920s that the neighborhood around 63rd and Cottage Grove reached residential and commercial maturity. Woodlawn proved an appealing retail and amusement district in large part due to its convenient transportation connections and close proximity to dense concentrations of affordable housing in lakeside apartment buildings. During the 1920s, as African-Americans looked to move out of the overcrowded slums to the north, Woodlawn residents, in an attempt to keep their neighborhood all-white, established restrictive covenants and engaged in rogue violence against those seeking to move in. Some Woodlawn amusements followed suit by excluding African-American patrons. During the 1950s and 1960s, as racial tensions mounted, Woodlawn declined as one of Chicago’s largest outlying business districts.



Dance Halls and Cabarets


Parks and Pleasure Grounds


Other Information