Today we conclude our capsule look at how peoples from the 28 NATO countries helped build Chicago.
Belgium—As early as 1854, the government of Belgium identified 83 Belgians as living in the city of Chicago. What there was of a Belgian neighborhood in the city later developed in the few blocks around St. John Berchmans Catholic Church in Logan Square. Since the 1960s that concentration has dispersed.
Germany—Germans were the first ethnic group to come to Chicago in great numbers. In 1850 one-sixth of the city’s population carried the “born in Germany” label. By 1900 a full 25% of Chicagoans were either first- or second-generation German.
They settled on the North Side and up the Lincoln Avenue corridor. They built churches, schools, social halls. They printed books and newspapers, and organized political clubs. They were determined to keep their culture. When one nativist mayor closed the saloons on Sunday, the city’s Germans rioted.
Then came World War I, and a national wave of anti-Germanism. The local Germans became more assimilated.