The Prairie Avenue Historic District is a Chicago South Side historic district that was once one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. From 1872 – 1904, following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the area became known as “Millionaire’s Row”, with mansions owned by the likes of Philip Armour, Marshall Field, and George Pullman.
Prairie Avenue Historic District first became known as the site of the Battle of Fort Dearborn in 1812. It housed a cottonwood tree that stood on the site as a memorial marker, later replaced with a bronze statue, and was recognized as Chicago’s first landmark.
In the 1900’s, due to the growth of downtown and the spread of noise and pollution in the Near South Side, the district fell out of favor. By 1915, residences began to be replaced by industry. And, by 1944, only 11 residences remained.
The Prairie Avenue Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1979.
Today, the district is once again a residential neighborhood, and includes 11 residences that survived the glory days. These include the John J. Glessner House and the Clarke House Museum, which are open for tours.
The 1800 and 1900 blocks of South Prairie Avenue, 211-217 East Cullerton, and the 1800 block of South Indiana make up the historic district. The Prairie Avenue Historic District is also a popular stop on cycling tours of Chicago.