Andersonville is one of the smaller neighborhoods that comprise the larger area of Edgewater in Chicago. Located west of Broadway and stretching over to Ravenswood, and running approximately from Winnemac to Elmdale on the north, Andersonville is one of the city’s most vital and popular neighborhoods for residents, shoppers and tourists alike.
Historically, Andersonville was once a quiet little village founded by immigrant Swedish farmers who moved north of downtown in the mid nineteenth century towards what was then cherry orchards. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Andersonville became an even more popular destination for Swedish immigrants, as the village was outside of the city’s new strict zoning laws. As many could not afford to build new homes of brick or stone, Andersonville became a refuge outside of Chicago’s northern limits for those who wanted to settle. Quickly, the commercial strip along Clark Street became dominated by Swedish-owned businesses, a fact still reflected today in Andersonville’s continued Swedish cultural presence. The neighborhood also is proud of several landmark homes that have been well preserved. Not a single home facade on the north side of West Farragut Avenue has been altered since the quiet street was developed in 1920.
Today, Andersonville is one of the most diverse neighborhoods on the north side of Chicago. Its Swedish roots are still reflected by the Swedish American Museum (opened in 1976 in a ceremony attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden himself), the Swedish Bakery and many Swedish restaurants and delicatessens. To this day, Andersonville is still known for its Midsommarfest, a celebration of the summer solstice that has grown into one of Chicago’s largest street fairs.
Over the years, Andersonville has also become a prominent home to many Middle-Eastern, Hispanic and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) businesses and residents, furthering the neighborhood’s commercial vitality and appeal to Chicago residents looking for diversity. In fact, the community is widely renown for its unique commercial district, primarily centered around Clark Street north of Foster, comprised almost entirely of independently-owned and locally-operated businesses.
Andersonville is also a trailblazing community in the 21st century concerns of eco-responsibility. In 2007, the Andersonville Development Corporation founded the eco-Andersonville initiative, a business certification program that would guide and promote businesses that are acting sustainably. Founded on the three principles of People, Planet and Prosperity, eco-Andersonville promotes business district recycling, energy audits, green events in the neighborhood, and composting research. Attractive to the ever growing number of ecologically conscious consumers, the Andersonville business district is slowly building a sustainable community in what could be a model for city neighborhoods across Chicago and other metropolitan areas.
Andersonville is served by the CTA's Howard-95th/Dan Ryan Line with stops at Bryn Mawr and Berwyn. Several CTA buses also run north-south along Ashland, Clark, Broadway and Sheridan with some express busses running along Lake Shore Drive to the Loop. East-west busses run along Bryn Mawr/Peterson and Foster. Travel to the Loop on Lake Shore Drive takes about 15 minutes.