Lincoln Avenue, as early as 1695, was a trail used by Marquette and Joliet. In the 1880's, this trail had an early streetcar line. In 1910, the first Chamber of Commerce was established for this thoroughfare. After the streetcar line was established, business and commerce centers began to develop along the route. Lincoln Avenue, formerly Route 41, was then the major access route into the City from the north.
In the early 1950's, several motels were built to accommodate travelers who came to visit their friends and families in the nearby neighborhoods. Lincoln Avenue once welcomed visitors into the city.
In 1994, Mayor Daley toured the area with Alderman Patrick J. O'Connor (40th) to discuss solutions to to the problems being created by the motels. In 1995, a zoning ordinance was passed by Chicago's City Council that would prevent the operation of motels on Lincoln Avenue, so that if any motels were closed for one year, they would not be allowed to re-open. The Police Department began documenting arrests made on motel properties, and built cases for license revocation.
Over an unprecedented period of redevelopment, three motels have been taken for public use. The Spa Motel is now the 20th District Police Station, the Acres Motel is the Budlong Woods Branch of the Chicago Public Library and the Riverside Motel, at Lincoln and Peterson, is now a fountain gateway to both the residential and business community of Lincoln Bend.
Lincoln Avenue has been designated a TIF (tax increment financing district) which has ignited private development. Already, the area has seen major developments and construction, such as the Lincoln Point Condominiums, the Lincoln Crossing development, and a new shopping center at Peterson and Lincoln Avenues that has a collection of restaurants and specialty stores. The City of Chicago has designated parts of the business district eligible for participation in the Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF), helping existing businesses update and improve the exterior and interior of their sites.
The future is promising! Welcome to Lincoln Bend....