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Old Town

Old Town

Old Town is a neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois, bounded by Larrabee Street on the west, Clybourn Avenue on the southwest, Division Street on the south and LaSalle Street on the east and northeast. It spans across eastern parts of the community areas of Lincoln Park and the Near North Side. Old Town includes the Old Town Triangle Historic District, bounded on the northeast side by Lincoln Avenue and Wells Street, and on its south side by North Avenue. Old Town is today considered an affluent and historic neighborhood, home to many of Chicago's older, Victorian-era buildings. In the 1950s, the majority of this area was an enclave to the first Puerto Ricans to emigrate to Chicago. They referred to this area as part of "La Clark" until commercialization decorated late 1960s shop signs with the name of Old Town. The neighborhood is home to St. Michael's Church, originally a Bavarian-built church, and one of 7 to survive the path of the Great Chicago Fire. St. Michael's, Holy Name Cathedral, Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph's catered also to Latinos with Spanish-speaking masses.

The neighborhood is known for the famed The Second City improvisational comedy troupe.

Old Town was also home to many gays & lesbians from the 1920s through the 1980s. There were numerous gay bars lining Wells Street (all of them closed now). This was the first "gay ghetto" in Chicago, predating the current Lake View neighborhood (which is the current epicenter of gay life); the first homophile organization in American history, the Society for Human Rights, was established by Henry Gerber at his home on North Crilly Court in 1924. As the area gentrified, the gays moved further north to Lincoln Park and then Lake View neighborhoods.

Old Town has one Brown-Purple Line 'L' station at 1536-40 North Sedgwick Avenue. It is one of the oldest standing stations on the 'L'.




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