In 1828, the land now known as Evergreen Park was settled by a German farming family. Over the next 20 years or so, other German immigrants began to settle there also. The sprawling farmland, centered upon the intersection of Kedzie Avenue and 95th Street experienced its first railroad in 1873 and its first school just west of the above intersection two years later.
As more families began settling the area, shops began to accumulate around Kedzie and 95th marking the area’s main business district. As the area began to experience a real boom, a real estate developer designed a start-shaped park with evergreen trees (hence the name) and eight streets raiding outward from it.
In 1888 Evergreen Park’s iconic St. Mary's Cemetery was established. Mourners traveling from Chicago began to populate the restaurants and pubs that would spring up around the area.
Over the course of the next decade, the area experienced much traffic with visitors indulging its beer gardens, dance halls and picnic groves. The area was incorporated as Evergreen Park in 1893 in an effort to eliminate the threat of annexation to the City of Chicago. In that year, the village’s first church was established.
Seven miles southwest of the Chicago Loop, the village is also known as the “Village of Churches” because of its thirteen established religious congregations. It’s surrounded by Chicago on the north, south and east sides and boasts Evergreen Plaza, located on 95th and Western. Evergreen Plaza is an indoor shopping mall that was established by Arthur Rubloff in 1952.
Known as “The Plaza,” the shopping mall covered 1,2 million square feet and two stories and is notable as being the first modern American mall. It set the standard for American mall development until the 1980s. In 2006, The Plaza closed its doors after 61 years and is currently under development. In its heyday, it boasted an annual visitor count of 7,000,000 people.
In Illinois’ first congressional district, Evergreen Park typically leans moderately Democratic.
The Evergreen Park Public Library was established in March of 1944 when a group of citizens lead by the Women’s Club, the Methodist Church and the Evergreen Park Public School P.T.A. worked with representatives from the Village Board and the School Board to establish a local public library.
To raise money for library supplies, the group held Mardi Gras in the public school gymnasium. The building was donated by the Village Board. Books were donated and Mrs. Amie Burnham Martin served as the first librarian. A Library Board was established in 1945 and a library tax rate was established to support the institution.
As the library outgrew its location, in 1957 a new facility was built at 94th Street and Troy Avenue. An addition was completed in 1976. A one-year expansion and renovation was completed in 2007 giving the village the 23,000 square foot facility it enjoys today.