Located on the north end of a vibrant Clark Street, between 4900 and 5800 N. Clark Street, bordering the Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods, Andersonville, as the Chamber of Commerce website notes, is known for its Swedish roots, historic architecture, and the Swedish-American Museum. It’s also home to the annual Midsommarfest in June and the St. Lucia Festival of Lights in December. It is also home to Chicago’s largest LGBTQ+ populations, Andersonville “is a community full of pride and a commitment to equality.”
Andersonville’s roots as a community extend well back into the 19th century. According to EastAndersonville.org, when immigrant Swedish farmers started moving north into what was then a distant suburb of Chicago. In the 1850’s the area, now known as East Andersonville, was a large cherry orchard, and families had only begun to move into the fringes of the area. Andersonville’s Wikipedia page notes that the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 2010.
While its roots are Swedish, Andersonville is also recognized as the “shop local capital of Chicago,” supporting the largest network of local and independent businesses in the area, such as Women and Children First Bookstore
Like Mayberry? Really?
Yes! According to EastAndersonville.org, amid historic houses and urban parks, Andersonville has become a magnet for all kinds of families. There is a strong sense of unity in the neighborhood, a friendliness that has led more than one observer to note, “It’s sort of like Mayberry!” For a sprawling urban community to be named in the same sentence as the fictional, placid town of ‘The Andy Griffith Show, ‘ that’s saying something in this day and age.
Keeper of the flame: The Swedish-American Museum
According to its website, for more than 40 years, the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark Street, interprets the immigrant experience for children and adults and promotes an appreciation of contemporary Swedish-American culture. They also provide genealogical research for those who wish to explore their Swedish roots.
Celebrating Swedish Women Artists
From now through Monday, January 2, the Museum’s Raoul Wallenberg Gallery presents ‘Landscapes, Immigrants and Female Artists of the 20th Century’From the Vault explores artwork from twelve different artists, each with a unique background and connection to the Swedish/Swedish-American community. Women and minority artists are often under-represented in museum collections, and the Swedish-American Museum vows, “the artwork on display is a representation of the work the Museum has collected over time and explores missing perspectives. and we recognize is important to acknowledge these holes in our collection.”
The Swedish-American Museum, Gallery & Store is open Tuesday – Friday, from 10am- 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am -4 pm. For admission and more information, click here.
Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago