Avalon Park: a tight-knit, friendly community


Freddie Gist

View from a house on 86th street that shows just how average this average neighborhood is.

I come from a quiet area on 86th Street in the Avalon Park area, and since I have lived here my entire life, I can easily say it is very unremarkable.

My immediate neighborhood is a tight-knit community filled with older people who have lived here for many years. Something that shows my block’s bond is that we held a block club party every summer before COVID-19. But I feel like most streets in the neighborhood have strong bonds because, from what I have noticed, most people on their respective blocks know almost everyone on their street and are friendly with each other for the most part.

Due to it being a rather quiet neighborhood, there aren’t too many places for kids to hang out or have fun. What you would see most kids in the neighborhood do is either go to the local library on Stony Island or go to the park, where there is an indoor and outdoor basketball court, an outdoor swimming pool, a bike trail, some tennis courts, a playground and other things for kids to do.

The boundaries of Avalon Park are 76th St. to the north, South Chicago Ave. to the east (diagonally), 87th St. to the south, and the Metra line to the west. Additionally, part of the Skyway cuts through Avalon Park giving it an odd boundary that makes the area difficult to point out on a map.

Compared to many official or semi-official neighborhoods of Chicago, the Avalon Park area hasn’t been around very long with its development beginning in 1888. The neighborhood originally was calledĀ  “Pierce’s Park,” after Johnathon Pierce, the man who initially developed the area,. The Avalon Park Community Church, which was founded in 1896, later led an effort to change the name, and in 1910 the neighborhood was renamed Avalon Park.