East Side

Located 17 Miles South of The Loop.

Neighborhoods include: East Side
Zip Codes Include: 60617

The East Side, until recently, was socially and economically dominated by the Calumet River and the jobs it supported. The community got its name from the river because it was located on its east bank. The river formed the once-thriving industrial Port of Chicago. A cluster of riverside docks and slips allowed materials of all sorts to be loaded and unloaded onto adjacent railroad lines, and the river itself was lined with steel mills. Republic Steel began operations here in 1901. The Republic mill was the site of frequent union unrest, culminating in the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 and the successful drive by the United Steelworkers to organize the Chicago mills.

Many of the neighborhood’s residents during this period were families of Slovenia, Croatian and Serbian heritage, who had emigrated from Europe to work in the steel mills and take related jobs. Especially after unionization, the neighborhood became a stronghold of the Chicago Democratic Party machine of Mayor Richard J. Daley. The neighborhood’s longtime alderman, Edward Vrdolyak, became a noted Chicago “power broker” after the senior Daley’s death. Today, the area still remains largely Hispanic, Serbian, Croatian, and Polish.

In the 1950s, the East Side was divided in two by the Chicago Skyway. The riverside steel mills and heavy industries went into serious decline in 1970-2000, and are no longer the mainstay of the neighborhood.

Much of East Side’s homes are the Chicago-style bungalow, and the southeast portion of East Side contains many newer homes (including some bungalows) built after 1980. Currently, there are proposed plans to expand East Side’s Calumet Park and Beach, and to extend the existing lakefront bicycle path to the proposed new lakefront parklands in adjacent South Chicago. This proposed future expansion of Chicago’s southern lakefront parklands will result in the connection of Calumet Park to Rainbow Beach, the South Shore Cultural Center, and Jackson Park.

East Side is bounded by Calumet River to the North and West, State Line Road (4100 E) to the East, and 126th street (12600 S) to the South.


East Side is Metra territory, as the nearest Chicago Transit Authority train station is the 95th/Dan Ryan station on the Red Line, 7 miles northwest of the neighborhood. Residents utilize the Metra Electric station at 93rd street (9300 S, 3300 E) in South Chicago, and the South Shore Line at Hegewisch/136th street. The Burnham Greenway Trail travels under the Chicago Skyway, and then southward into the south suburban communities of Burnham and Calumet City.

East Side is also served by three CTA bus routes:

  • 26 – South Shore Express
  • 30 – South Chicago
  • 100 – Jeffery Manor


Population (2010)

• Total 23,042
• Density 8,200/sq mi (3,200/km2)

Demographics (2010)

• White 17.23%
• Black 3.37%
• Hispanic 78.45%
• Asian 0.23%
• Other 0.72%

Neighborhood Links

10th Ward & Alderman