K-Town in Chi Town is now an official landmark.
The neighborhood, made up of 16 blocks in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the west side of Chicago, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in a ceremony today attended by residents, representatives from state and local preservation agencies, city officials and the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
K-Town’s nickname is a result of the fact that many of its north-south streets — Karlov, Kedvale, Keeler, Kenneth, Kilbourn, Kildare, Kolin, Kolmar, Komensky, Kostner, Kilpatrick — start with the letter “K.”
Interesting bit of history: In 1913, a street-naming proposal had streets named according to their distance from the Illinois-Indiana border; so all these streets are named with a K, the eleventh letter, thereby marking the eleventh mile west of the state line.
The 16-block neighborhood expands from Pulaski on the east to Kostner on the west and from Cermak on the south to Cullerton on the north.
The area has the largest concentration of Greystones in the North Lawndale neighborhood and provides a nice mix of residential and commercial properties.
Its listing on the National Register is a result of a partnership between NHS, the Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which worked to create the National Trust’s pilot “Cornerstones of Community” program.
The program attempts to expand awareness and use of historic preservation tools and incentives, particularly historic district designation, in neighborhoods where these resources have not been available.
“The historical designation shines a bright light on K-Town,” said Paul Norrington, a 50-year resident and block club president on the 4200 block of W. 21st Place. “It gives us a powerful focal point to preserve our neighborhood. K-Town is on the National Register. We are distinct across the country and around the world.”