In the second installment of our six-part series on Chicago and the suburbs, we explore the North Side, site of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Steppenwolf Theatre, Wrigley Field and the Water Tower — but no World Series titles ( the Cubs were on the West Side when they last won in 1908).
1. Billy Caldwell and Sauganash are two names for the same person. A chief of the Potawatomi, he was a half-British, half-Native American man who often played the peacemaker between the Indians and early settlers. He famously interceded to save white families in the aftermath of the Battle of Fort Dearborn in 1812. Sauganash was held in such esteem that the government granted him 1,600 acres of land on the North Branch of the Chicago River, an area that includes Sauganash, Forest Glen and South Edgebrook.
2. Looking for small-town life in the big city? You could do worse than tiny Brynford Park. This Far North Side enclave has just 120 homes and sits immediately northwest of the intersection of Bryn Mawr Avenue and Pulaski Road (formerly Crawford Avenue — the combination of Bryn Mawr and Crawford is where Brynford Park got its name). It is surrounded by Montrose Cemetery, Bohemian National Cemetery, North Park Village Nature Center and an industrial park.
3. Early residents of a Far North Side community marketed their town as the first "electric suburb" because it sported cutting-edge electric streetlights. And they didn't stop there. In 1890, they asked for — and received — Thomas Edison's approval to name their village in his honor. Edison Park joined the city in 1910.
4. Where's the world-renowned Steppenwolf Theatre? If you said Ranch Triangle, give yourself a prize. Make that R.A.N.C.H. Triangle, a name derived from its borders: Racine, Armitage, North, the Chicago River and Halsted, according to ranchtriangle.org. And if you're wondering how five sides make a triangle, then you're just being too literal.
5. Old Town Triangle, which sits just north of Old Town, is another geography-challenged triangle. It is bounded by North Avenue, Clark Street and … well, what happened to Ogden Avenue? That street, which is named after Chicago's first mayor, was cut off at North Avenue in 1967. That urban planning decision not only severed a key connection between Lake Shore Drive and the interstate highway system, but also separated Cabrini-Green from its more upscale neighbors to the north.
6. Riverview Park, which billed itself as the largest amusement park in the world, took up 74 acres at Belmont and Western avenues, and entertained millions during its six-decade run. In May 1928, Chicago Mayor William "Big Bill" Thompson closed public schools, 10 to 20 each day, so kids could attend the park for free, despite protests from outraged teachers and parents groups. The park closed suddenly in 1967.
7. Streeterville is named after a whiskey-selling squatter and scamp who was despised by city fathers. In 1886, Capt. George Streeter ran his steamship aground on a sandbar about 400 feet off Superior Street, or smack dab in the middle of what is today Northwestern's law school campus. Streeter urged builders to dump their junk around his boat, then declared the newly created land to be a "District of Lake Michigan" separate from Chicago and Illinois. He defended this claim in court and with a shotgun that he wasn't afraid to use. The city fought back by extending Lake Shore Drive south, creating the curve at Oak Street to surround Streeter's ville. It took decades for officials to wrest control from the irascible captain.
8. In Lincoln Square, you'll find a lot of things (a library, a school, a glass company) with the name Budlong. Lyman and Joseph Budlong's 700-acre farm and pickle factory sat northwest of Western and Foster avenues. The city still designates the area as Budlong Woods.
9. Developer Jesse Bowman helped establish the village of Bowmanville in the late 1800s. Trouble was, he didn't own the land he was selling. He skipped town, but his name stayed — on the neighborhood nestled south of Rosehill Cemetery.
10. Towertown, named after the Water Tower, was the community of artists, writers and free-love advocates who settled on the Near North Side just west of Michigan Avenue in the early 20th century. The area's high property values drove them out, and the neighborhood no longer exists.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune. Stephan Benzkofer is the Tribune's weekend editor.
Sources: "History of Chicago: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time" by Alfred Theodore Andreas; "Encyclopedia of Chicago"; "Chicago Politics, Ward by Ward," by David K. Fremon; "Our Old Town," by Shirley Baugher; forgottenchicago.com; Roscoe Village Neighbors; Chicago Public Library; Brynford Park Community Association; Edison Park Chamber of Commerce; Northwest Chicago Historical Society; and Tribune archives