Andersonville is a ‘sub neighborhood’ located in the southwest corner of Edgewater, first settled in the mid- 19th century by Swedes migrating to the shores of Chicago. Approximate street boundaries for Andersonville (and this is subjective, especially with Realtors and happy residents) stretch from Winnemac north to Bryn Mawr and Ravenswood east to Magnolia. According to the Chicago Historical Society Andersonville was named after Reverend Anderson who had a church here in the early 1900s – however, according to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce it was named after a local landowner John Anderson who came to Andersonville back in the 1850s. Locals now call it A-ville!!
Though it started as a sleepy, Scandinavian farming community; it has now grown into one of Chicago’s most popular and sought after neighborhoods. Andersonville is known for its unique commercial district which until recently was made up of almost entirely independently and locally owned shops, stores and restaurants. This is one of the best features of Clark Street and still has a very old world flavor. Today it is a thriving, hipster neighborhood with a sizable LGBT community, but you’ll still find hints of those who were here generations ago. Though larger companies have recently moved in, you can still visit a hardware store in which the owner has lived upstairs and operated his shop for more than two decades, the awesome Swedish breakfast restaurant Svea, serving the best coffee and Swedish potatoes you could ask for, and unique and equally eclectic hamburger joint Hamburger Mary’s.
Additionally, Andersonville plays host to one of the summer’s largest and most anticipated street fairs – Midsommarfest. Since 1964 when Andersonville was ‘rededicated’ following a post-war decline, the Swedish tradition of celebrating the summer solstice has evolved over time and welcomes residents from all over Chicago to enjoy this now 3 day street festival.