O'Leary's on South Halsted Street, 1906
“Canaryville” enjoyed a reputation as one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city from the late nineteenth through much of the twentieth century. A largely
community on the
community area, it stretches from Fortieth to Forty-Seventh Street between Wentworth Avenue and Halsted, with the “
” to the east and the late
Union Stock Yard
to the west. Given its close proximity to the stockyards, the area's physical environment and economic life were shaped by livestock and
from the 1860s until the industry's decline in the postwar era. Canaryville's name may originally have derived from the legions of sparrows who populated the area at the end of the nineteenth century, feeding off stockyard refuse and grain from railroad cars, but the term was also applied to the neighborhood's rambunctious youth, its “wild canaries.”
helped establish the neighborhood's truculent reputation and were active in attacks on
during the 1919
Boasting a strong
machine throughout the twentieth century, Canaryville also embraced a rich
cultural life centered on St. Gabriel's Parish. With the closing of the stockyards and the
population in the area began declining in the 1960s. Still populated largely by Irish, Canaryville now includes a sizeable
Davis, Myron. “Canaryville.” University of Chicago Research Paper, doc. 1a, in “Documents: History of Bridgeport.” 1927. Chicago Historical Society.
Pacyga, Dominic A., and Ellen Skerrett.
Chicago, City of Neighborhoods: Histories and Tours.
Wade, Louise Carroll.
Chicago's Pride: The Stockyards, Packingtown, and the Environs in the Nineteenth Century.