It held a
political dynasty from 1933 until 1979, since every Chicago mayor
was from Bridgeport: Edward J. Kelly, Martin Kennelly, Richard
J. Daley and Michael Bilandic (St. Jerome's parishioner).
got its name from the fact that there was a low bridge near the
South Fork in the 1840s and heavily-loaded canal boats had to
unload items from the decks and carry them around it.
extends from the Stevenson Expressway north to Pershing Road on
the south, and from the Conrail tracks on the east to Bubbly Creek
(a small fork of the Chicago River) on the west.
In the 1830s
and early 1840s, its original settlers were Irish canalers. These
squatters built their shanties on federal land -- the canal banks
-- near the source of fresh water. Bridgeport was a city suburb
In the 1850s,
it was alleged that Bridgeport residents had illegally voted in
a Chicago mayoral election.
included the canal, the meatpacking houses (in 1865 consolidated
into the Union Stock Yards), a limestone quarry at Halsted and
29th Street, brickyards, and Illinois Steel (built in 1870 at
Archer and Ashland avenues). These have all disappeared except
the quarry. The Union Stock Yards lasted until 1971.
residents subsequently became merchants, saloonkeepers, teachers,
clergymen -- but more than anything else -- politicians, policemen
and city employees. Political patronage has long flourished here.
corner of Bridgeport abuts Chinatown and, beginning in the 1970s,
Chinese-Americans have begun to move into Bridgeport. In two census
tracts, the figure for 'non-whites' in Bridgeport jumped from
2.9 percent in each in 1970 to 10.9 percent in one census and
25.2 percent in the other by 1980.
population decreased from 35,167 in 1970 to 30,923 in 1980, half
of what it was in 1920. It dropped a little to 29,877 in 1990.
Among those who have moved out, however, have been Mayor Richard
M. Daley and his family.