Principally located along North Wells Street, between Division and North Avenue, Old Town connects Lincoln Park to the Gold Coast and is known for its diverse collection of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. It also features some of the city's best-preserved historic homes.
The area was first inhabited by the Potawatomi, Miami and Illinois tribes, however after the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, a new wave of settlers flocked to the area. Germans, predominately Catholic, arrived, and their influence is highlighted by St. Michael’s Church. A Bavarian-built church, it is one of the few to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The neighborhood gets its name from North and Clark Street, as well as Ogden Avenue, which combine to form a triangle.
Old Town has evolved into an upscale neighborhood with single-family homes priced well over $1 million and many newer condominiums. The community has also edged west in recent years with a number of large redevelopment projects that have brought new life and some more moderately priced housing to the area.
The neighborhood is served by the Chicago Public School system, which offers public education to children from grades K-12. Additionally, the LaSalle Language Academy, a magnet school in the CPS system, provides education for children in grades K-8. The CTA Red Line runs through the neighborhood, providing easy access to the Loop, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and beyond.
A hippie haven in the 1960s and 1970s, vestiges of Old Town's past live on in local institutions like Zanies comedy club, The Old Town Ale House, the annual Old Town Art Fair and the world famous Second City Improv. Old Town's active street life and proximity to the lake, Lincoln Park and downtown make it a preferred choice among many Chicagoans.
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