The Austin neighborhood (Community Area 25) borders suburban Elmwood Park to the northwest and suburban Oak Park to the west. The northernmost portion of Austin, north of North Avenue (Illinois 64), has a western border with Elmwood Park at Harlem Avenue (Illinois 43). To the south of this northwest panhandle of the Austin neighborhood is suburban Oak Park at North Avenue. The majority of the western border of the Austin neighborhood borders suburban Oak Park at Austin Boulevard.
Across the border to the north, the Austin neighborhood borders Montclare and Belmont Cragin. The actual north border of the Austin neighborhood is the Metra Milwaukee District/West (MD-W) line, which mostly runs slightly northwest to southeast into Chicago. There are five Metra Stations on the Milwaukee District/West line — from west to east the stations are Mont Clare, Mars, Galewood, Hanson Park, and Cicero & Grand (located just north of Cicero Avenue and Grand Avenue).
SUBURBS ON METRA MD-W
To the northeast, the Austin neighborhood is kiddie corner to the Hermosa neighborhood.
The Austin neighborhood borders Humboldt Park, West Garfield Park, and a little bit of North Lawndale to the east — separated by the Belt Railway located about two blocks east of Cicero Avenue and parallel to Austin’s nearest border roadway, Kenton Avenue.
To the south, the Austin neighborhood borders suburban Cicero, which has a common eastern border along the Belt Railway. The Island is an area of the Austin neighborhood south of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and north of Roosevelt Road. The Island is isolated from the rest of the Austin neighborhood by I-290.
The Island was the last of Austin’s neighborhoods to integrate. In the 1980s, when the rest of Austin was over 70% African-American, the Island did not have a single African-American family. In 1984, when an African-American family attempted to move in on Roosevelt Road, they were met with violent resistance. The family quickly moved out of the neighborhood. Politically, the area voted strongly for Jane Byrne in the Democratic primary and for Edward Vrdolyak against Harold Washington in the 1987 mayoral election, which was split on racial lines. Today, the Island is a racially-integrated community.
In addition to The Island, the Austin neighborhood (community area 25) includes three other neighborhoods — Galewood, North Austin and South Austin.
Galewood is named for Abram Gale who bought a farm on the area in 1838. The Galewood neighborhood is bordered by the Milwaukee District / West Line to the north, Harlem Avenue to the west, North Avenue to the south and Central Avenue to the east. The area is a historically Italian-American community with a sizable population of Chicago city employees. Since the 1980s, Galewood has seen an increase in African American and Latino residents, but this integration has occurred peacefully in compared to other areas of Chicago.
Galewood has two stations on the Milwaukee District/West Line. The Mars station functions as a stop for employees of the nearby Mars, Incorporated North America factory, located at Oak Park Avenue and Armitage Avenue; and Shriners Hospitals for Children, located just to the north on Oak Park Avenue in the Montclare neighborhood in the Belmont Cragin community area. Metra only make stops at the Mars station during commuting hours. The Galewood station is located west of Mars station and is a regular service station.
North Austin boundary starts north at Milwaukee District/West Line and Armitage Avenue. The western boundary consists of Austin Avenue or Austin Boulervard south of North Avenue. The eastern boundary is listed Cicero Avenue and the Belt Railway. The southern boundaries to Division Street. The Robert LeFlore, Jr. Post Office at 5001 West Division Street is in this neighborhood.
South Austin is the community area’s largest neighborhood. South Austin is bordered by Division Street to the north, Austin Boulevard to the west, Roosevelt Road to the south and Cicero Avenue/the Belt Railway to the east. The South Austin neighborhood was the first neighborhood of Community Area 25 to become an African-American majority.
South Austin is characterized by its numerous historic buildings. The neighborhood is home to six landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places; Austin Historic District, Midway Park, Austin Town Hall Park Historic District, Columbus Park, First Congregational Church of Austin, Joseph J. Walser House and the Seth Warner House. Austin Town Hall Park is modeled after Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.
South Austin is also home to an additional seven Chicago Landmarks not listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Beeson House and Coach House, Hitchcock House, Laramie State Bank Building, Schlect House, F. R. Schock House, Marie Schock House and the Third Unitarian Church.
Loretto Hospital is located in South Austin at 645 South Central Avenue. The next closest hospital is West Suburban Medical Center, at 3 Erie Street in suburban Oak Park.
Fire Stations in Austin
Engine 96 and Truck 29 with Battalion 13 at 439 North Waller Avenue.
Engine 113 and Ambulance 23 with Battalion 13 at 5212 West Harrison Street.
Engine 117, Tower Ladder 14 and Ambulance 15 with Battalion 13 and EMS District 4-5-4 at 4900 West Chicago Avenue.
The Austin neighborhood is listed as one of the top ten most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago in 2017 by Maggio News “Bloody Chicago” … and is the largest neighborhood in Chicago by area and population.
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