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Austin

Once part of Cicero Township, Austin was involuntarily annexed into Chicago in 1899 over political disagreements with neighboring Oak Park. The remaining pre-annexation structures, including parks, churches, gracious homes and a fire station harken back to Austin's suburban origins. In the 1920s, ornate apartment and commercial buildings popped up along major thoroughfares like Lake Street, Central Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. The neighborhood's centerpiece, Columbus Park, was laid out by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen in the 1920s. Though the neighborhood has faced several challenging decades of disinvestment through "blockbusting" and red lining due to rising racial tensions in the 1960s, many organizations today are working together for positive change, including the release of a new Quality of Life Plan for the neighborhood in 2018.

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