Bucktown’s history dates back to the early 1800’s, even before Chicago was incorporated as a city. Many Polish immigrants chose to settle in the Bucktown area after leaving their war torn country in the early 1830’s. Bucktown was mainly uninhabited except for the wildlife that lived in the marshes and forests. A former Indian trail, now known as Milwaukee Avenue, kept the isolated Bucktown area connected to the more populated Chicago neighborhoods.
Although there is no official documentation, the Bucktown name is believed to have originated due to the early Polish settlers. Many raised goats, and the male goat is called a buck, hence the name Bucktown.
By the 1840’s, Bucktown had its own post office and hotel, the Powell House, located at Milwaukee and Armitage Avenues. Legend states that Mr. Powell influenced the road to be built directly in front of hotel by offering whiskey to the road construction crew.
The population and development of Bucktown began to flourish over the next few decades. By the late 1840’s, many German immigrants began to settle in Bucktown as they found employment at a nearby meat packing house. In 1851, an acre of land was purchased for $32, although three years later an acre of land was purchased for $500. After Chicago’s Great Fire in 1871, residents began to move out of the city and into nearby neighborhoods, including Bucktown. In 1883, Bucktown real estate was booming and newly built brick cottages were being sold for around $1,700.
In the 1890’s the city of Chicago decided that all streets were to be at the same elevation throughout the city. Many Bucktown streets and houses had to be raised, as second floors or attics were now at street level. Many homes were jacked up and new foundations or basements were put in.
By 1910, Bucktown was known as Little Poland or Polish Downtown due to the large population of Polish speaking immigrants that chose Bucktown real estate. Bucktown continued to attract immigrants and became a popular location for Jewish and Russian immigrants after World War I. The 1960’s brought another wave of Latin immigration, creating an even more diverse mix of residents.
The Bucktown neighborhood is located within the West Town community on the near northwest side of downtown Chicago. There is no official distinction between Bucktown and the adjacent Wicker Park neighborhood, and the boundaries between the neighborhoods vary depending upon the source. Many believe Bucktown is within the boundaries of Fullerton Ave on the north, the Kennedy Expressway on the east, North Avenue to the south and Western Avenue to the west
Originally known as a trendy, artistic area, Bucktown has grown into a diverse population with varying backgrounds. Bucktown attracts a large number of residents due to the various amenities the neighborhood offers. Affordable housing, combined with first-class public transportation and proximity to the downtown area has caused Bucktown real estate to be some of the most sought after real estate in Chicago. The trendy atmosphere is popular for many residents, and MTV chose Bucktown as a central location for a season on The Real World TV series.
Bucktown real estate appeals to those that are interested in the unique combination of historic architecture, tree-lined streets and the short trip to downtown Chicago. Once known as a prime artistic area, Bucktown now offers a variety of residential housing options. A mix of older single family homes, and modern lofts and condominiums can be found alongside coffee shops, taverns, vintage stores and churches.
A variety of architectural styles are available throughout Bucktown, including vintage cottages, rehabbed lofts, new-construction condominiums and luxury single family homes. New construction has been developed side by side with historic Victorian-style homes, creating a unique neighborhood design. Most buildings in Bucktown are only 2-4 stories, creating an additional distinction between Bucktown and the downtown Chicago area.
Once a slightly less expensive alternative to the higher priced Chicago neighborhoods, the appeal of Bucktown housing is increasing and property prices are on the rise. Bucktown real estate ranges from the mid $200's to million-dollar luxury homes.