Hyde Park was established as a Chicago suburb in the 1850s and due to such world-class institutions as the University of Chicago (founded in 1892), the neighborhood has long attracted an elite class of people. Several celebrity figures have made Hyde Park home, including Lawyer Clarence Darrow; Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor; Poet Carl Sandberg; Boxer Muhammad Ali; and President Barack Obama.
Hyde Park was first put on the map when the World’s Columbian Exposition (the World’s Fair) was held in 1893 in the suburb to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s historic American landing. Though New York City, Washington D.C. and St. Louis all vied to host the festivities, the Windy City was chosen. The fair took three years to prepare and it captivated entrepreneurs, inventors and artists alike to settle and make Hyde Park their home. Before the turn of the century, Hyde Park was annexed into Chicago, but continues to maintain its individuality today.