I’ve been wanting to go on one of Big Shoulder Realty’s Neighborhood Bike Tours forever, but they always occur on Saturdays and I’m notoriously lazy on Saturdays. A tour through Avondale, however? Could not miss that one.
Those familiar with Chicago might be surprised by my desire to visit Avondale, as it is not one of the city’s better known neighborhoods. It lies about six miles northwest of Chicago’s downtown, just beyond hipster mecca Logan Square. Avondale has a lot going for it though, including the fact that Po Campo co-founder Emily T lives there. Since leaving our little company last year, Emily has poured much of her energy into her love of the neighborhood, even becoming VP of the Avondale Neighborhood Association. I could not pass up the opportunity to spend a few hours on a beautiful Saturday with her biking around her ‘hood. The timing turned out well for Emily, too, because she had planned to spend her Saturday morning covering the neighborhood with posters for her upcoming art walk, A Day in Avondale.
But we did more than poster. I have heard that people get addicted to these neighborhood tours, and I can see why. One fascinating tidbit was learning that this area used to be called “Bricktown” because all the clay deposits along the river led to the development of brick production. I love production, industry, factories, all that stuff, so learning about this cottage industry in Chicago’s past just made my day. Unsurprisingly, this industry led to the settling of many different immigrant communities, and the neighborhood continues to enjoy a diverse population. And lots of beautiful bricks!
I greatly enjoy going on historic tours around Chicago and it is not something that I do enough. Sometimes a tour like this one is just what you need to help you appreciate the what you’ve got. Any jewels in the rough in your neighborhood?
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