Humboldt Park is the “cultural and economic heart” of Chicago’s Puerto Rican community. It was named for naturalist Alexander Humboldt in 1869, long before it was home to the current Puerto Rican (and Mexican) residents.
The community was first home to Danish and Norwegian immigrants, and later, to Germans, Scandinavians, and Russian Jews. Puerto Ricans began moving into the neighborhood in increasing numbers in the 1980s, and most recently, so have Mexican immigrants. The community is roughly one-third Mexican now.
The community began a revitalization and new development a number of years ago, partially in response to increasing gentrification of their community. Spaces for poetry and art were added, a community-based learning center, affordable housing for elders, and new businesses were all part of the mix.