Hermosa: A Diverse and Historic Chicago Neighborhood
Hermosa, a vibrant community area located in the heart of Chicago is well-known for its rich history, diverse demographics, and accessible transportation options. As part of Chicago’s 77 designated community areas, Hermosa is a charming neighborhood that has continued to evolve over the years, offering a unique blend of city life and community feel.
Location and Municipality Facts
Hermosa, with its distinctive triangular shape, is conveniently located and surrounded by several other prominent neighborhoods. To the east, you’ll find Logan Square, with Avondale and Irving Park to the North/Northeast, Belmont-Cragin to the west, and Humboldt Park to the south. This central location provides Hermosa with a unique blend of city and community vibes.
The community area, one of the 77 officially recognized by the city, has remained consistent in its borders since the late 1880s. Hermosa falls under the Jefferson Township, which is a critical factor in determining property taxes for the area. The majority of the area uses the 773 area code, shared by most of Chicago, excluding downtown which uses 312.
A Glimpse into Hermosa’s History
The history of Hermosa is rich and varied, dating back to the late 19th century. The neighborhood began to take shape in the 1880s, following the expansion of railroads through the area. The first settlers were primarily Scottish, German, and Swedish immigrants, many of whom were skilled workers. Among them was Walt Disney’s father, Elias Disney, who built a cottage house at the corner of Tripp and Palmer in 1893.
The first streetcars appeared on Armitage Avenue in 1895, and Hermosa was officially annexed into the city of Chicago in 1889. The southern area near Armitage and Fullerton was developed first, featuring workers’ cottages and industrial warehouses surrounding the railroad lines.
As the community evolved, the population rose and fell, with the Hispanic/Latinx residents becoming the majority during the 1980s. Today, Hermosa’s diversity continues to be a defining characteristic, with many nations and dialects represented.
Hermosa’s Transportation Options
Hermosa offers a range of transportation options, ensuring residents can easily navigate the city. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides extensive bus service throughout the neighborhood, including East/West routes along Armitage, Fullerton, Diversey, and Belmont, and North/South routes on Pulaski and Cicero.
For train commuters, the CTA’s Blue Line is conveniently accessible, with Eastbound buses connecting to the Damen, Western, Logan Square, or Belmont stations. Additionally, Hermosa has three Metra train stations, providing further connectivity to the wider Chicago area.
Cycling is another popular mode of transportation in the neighborood, with bike lanes on Diversey Avenue near Pulaski and Wrightwood Avenue near Kelvyn Park. The 606 trail, a popular biking and walking path, also ends at Hermosa’s eastern border.
Demographics of Hermosa
As of 2020, Hermosa had a population of 24,062 residents, according to the U.S. Census. The neighborhood is diverse, with a large Hispanic/Latinx population representing 82.5% of the residents. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 9.9% of the population, followed by non-Hispanic Blacks at 4.5%, non-Hispanic Asians at 2.3%, and other non-Hispanic races at 0.8%.
Notable Landmarks in Hermosa
Hermosa is home to several notable landmarks, including the birthplace of Walt Disney. The house, located at 2156 North Tripp Avenue, was designed and built by Disney’s parents in 1893 and was sold in 2013 with plans for restoration and landmark status.
Another significant structure in the neighborhood is the St. Philomena Catholic Church, founded in 1894. The church is located on Kedvale Avenue and houses the Pritzker College Prep within its campus.
Hermosa’s Parks and Recreation
The area boasts several parks, providing residents with ample outdoor recreation options. Kelvyn Park is the largest in the area, offering walking paths, sports fields, a fitness center, and a large field house. Hermosa Park and Ken-Well Park are other popular outdoor spots in the neighborhood.
Education in Hermosa
Hermosa offers a range of educational opportunities, with several public, charter, and private schools in the area. Kelvyn Park High School and North-Grand High School are two of the prominent public high schools in Hermosa. The neighborhood also has several elementary schools, including Nixon Elementary School, Barry Elementary School, and McAuliffe Elementary School.
Hermosa is also home to Pritzker College Prep, a public charter high school, and several private PK-4 grade schools.
Industry and Economy in Hermosa
Hermosa is characterized by a strong industrial presence, with 25.7% of all general land use in the area devoted to industrial use. Manufacturing is a significant industry in the area, providing jobs for a large portion of the community’s residents.
Hermosa’s Political Landscape
Hermosa has traditionally supported the Democratic Party, with Hillary Clinton receiving 86.59% of the votes in the 2016 presidential election and Barack Obama receiving 88.41% in the 2012 election.
From its rich history to its diverse demographics and convenient transportation options, Hermosa offers a unique blend of city life and community charm. As it continues to evolve, Hermosa remains a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood in the heart of Chicago.