Avondale, Chicago Community Area 21 sits 6 miles northwest of the Loop. Once part of a vast expanse of prairie, the installation of the Old Northwest Plank Road, today’s Milwaukee Avenue, helped spur business and development and ushered in many years of prosperity. Avondale was annexed to Chicago in 1889 and grew rapidly as city improvements such as paved roads, electric street car lines and the Logan Elevated line contributed to a population that swelled to almost 50,000 by 1930. Due to an abundance of clay in the pits near the river, a brick industry developed and the working class residents built some of the most sturdy and beautiful examples of masonry construction in the city. As a result, the area is ripe with rich examples of architectural beauty.