Let’s take a little stroll down a street in Mayfair, a Chicago neighborhood just south of Forest Glen, the last Chicago neighborhood I wrote about.
Bungalows like this are pretty typical for Mayfair although not far from this street I saw a whole row of Luxembourg farmhouses. Continuing down the street you reach the North Branch of the Chicago River.
There’s an oddly riparian lifestyle here. Not at all something you’d expect in the heart of Chicago. I’ve actually seen houses in this neighborhood with docks and boats tied up at them. Lots of wildlife. Ducks, as you can see if you click on the image above for a larger version, but also geese stopping on their migration from Canada, otters, raccoons, deer, and coyotes. Rats, too, I suppose. And damp basements. I wouldn’t eat a fish caught out of the Chicago River if you paid me but I’ll bet there are people who do.
Here’s a glance upstream. Mayfair is quite diverse. Within three blocks of this street are a Catholic church, a Romanian Evangelical church, a Buddhist temple, and a mosque.
Mayfair is a small neighborhood in the community area of Albany Park, on the northwest side of Chicago about 8 miles north of the Loop. It got its start after the Civil War and was annexed to Chicago in 1889. It wasn’t until the turn of the century that Albany Park became urbanized—prior to that it was farmland.
For the last century Albany Park has been home to many immigrant families, Germans and Swedes initially, then Jews from Eastern Europe. Nowadays Albany Park is very heavily Korean although it has substantial Hispanic and West Asian populations as well.