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The city of Chicago was incorporated in 1835, and University Village, also known as Little Italy, was one of its original neighborhoods. As the oldest Italian-American neighborhood in the city, it has hosted a variety of immigrants: German, Irish, Scandinavian, Greek, Polish, Russian and more. Because of the neighborhood’s proximity to the railroad center, river and lake, it became a port of entry for people arriving to Chicago and the Midwest. As the area continued to grow, more ethnicities including African-American, Asian and Hispanic groups immigrated to Chicago. This increased the vitality and diversity of the neighborhood.

Throughout the years, the area has continued to develop and evolve. The University of Illinois at Chicago has expanded in the area, as have medical colleges and research institutions. People from all over have come to work and study, and many choose to reside in University Village. The sense of community first established is still flourishing and growing with a continuous influx of vibrant newcomers.

The people of University Village are committed to preserving old traditions and embracing new ones. Together, they’ve built churches, gardens, hospitals and community organizations while supporting businesses and cultural, athletic and artistic endeavors. Although much has changed in University Village, the past remains, forever intermingled with a promising future.

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