Near West Side: Easing the Transition

Beginning as early as the 1830s, waves of immigrants and migrants made Chicago’s Near West Side their home. Families from diverse ethnic backgrounds created vibrant communities despite poverty and unsafe living and working conditions.

“Playground Ball” at Marshal Swenie Playground in the Near West Side neighborhood, 1907 

“Playground Ball” at Marshal Swenie Playground in the Near West Side neighborhood, 1907
 

Courtesy of Chicago Public Library

Hull House, a settlement house in the Near West Side, was established in 1889 to help neighborhood residents negotiate survival and success in the city.

Jane Addams, Founder and Visionary

Progressive era reformer Jane Addams founded Hull House. The settlement house offered practical assistance, vocational training, and social and cultural activities to Chicago’s working-class and immigrant populations. Its programs revolutionized the methods of social work. Addams won a Nobel Prize for her efforts.

Cofounder Jane Addams with children at Hull House, 1933

Cofounder Jane Addams with children at Hull House, 1933

Courtesy of University of Illinois at Chicago Library, JAMC 0000 0030 0058

Hull House, established in 1889

Hull House, established in 1889

Courtesy of Chicago Postcard Museum, http://ChicagoPostcardMuseum.org