Friendly neighbors are free to disagree as to the exact starting and ending points of the quaint north west side neighborhood known as Bucktown. The borders are generally considered to be North Avenue to the south, Fullerton to the north and the Kennedy Expressway and Western Avenue on the east and west sides respectively. Residents are also free to speculate on the origins of their neighborhood’s unusual name. Some claim that Bucktown’s early Polish immigrants allowed their goats (the males of which are called “bucks”) to roam freely along the streets, inspiring the rather humorous nickname. You’re more likely to see baby strollers than goats these days, as Bucktown has enjoyed a resurgence as a family-friendly neighborhood.
Like many of Chicago’s culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods, Bucktown has enjoyed a long and colorful history. There were the early Eastern European immigrants in the beginning, of course, but in the 1980s Bucktown enjoyed a period as an important artist community. Attracted by affordable housing, good ethnic restaurants and local watering holes with character, Bucktown became home to working artists and many small art galleries. Throughout the 1990s, the annual arts festival “Around the Coyote” attracted hundreds of people from around the city who no doubt fell in love with Bucktown’s peaceful side streets and Old World architecture. Most of the artists and galleries have moved on, but some of that Bohemian spirit lives on.
Being connected to so many transportation options, makes Bucktown the perfect commuter neighborhood. Served by the CTA Blue Line, with a stop at Western Avenue, a commute south to the Loop for work or play is easy. Quick access to the Kennedy Expressway also serves residents well, as do the major bus lines running along Bucktown’s borders. An added bonus is the close proximity of other great Chicago neighborhoods like Logan Square to the east and Wicker Park to the south. Both of these areas are rich in trendy restaurants, boutiques and hip night spots.
Bucktown has a mix of housing stock with converted lofts, new condo construction, rehabs and cozy cottages providing something for everyone. Recent gentrification has certainly brought in the air of an upwardly mobile populace in search of the good life. Adding further value to Bucktown is the proposed “high line” park that will follow the old elevated railroad tracks along Bloomingdale Avenue. The 2.6 mile walking/biking trail will cut through Bucktown as it connects the Chicago River to the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park and Logan Square.
Being nestled in Bucktown can create an almost small town feel within the larger context a world class city. Tree-line streets provide shade from the sun during hot summers, and when the snow blankets the sidewalks in winter, nothing looks more inviting than the lit windows of the houses along Charleston Street and Shakespeare Avenue. Bucktown is a good place to visit and a better place to live.