Hyde Park is a neighborhood and community area located on the South Side of Chicago, in Cook County, Illinois, United States, seven miles (11 km) south of the Chicago Loop. Established in the 1850s by Paul Cornell, Hyde Park Township was incorporated in 1861 and independent of Chicago until it was annexed to the city in 1889.
As a neighborhood, Hyde Park's definition has been restricted to the core area of the former township centered on Cornell's development on E 53rd Street and the lakefront. Today, the name Hyde Park is officially applied to E 51st Street-E Hyde Park Blvd. to the Midway Plaisance(between E 59th and 60th), with eastern and western boundaries being Lake Michigan and Washington Park.
In 1892, the University of Chicago was established in Hyde Park by the philanthropy of John D. Rockefeller. With leadership from William Rainey Harper, the university grew into one of the world's most prestigious universities, and is now associated with eighty-seven Nobel prize laureates. In 1893, Hyde Park hosted the World's Columbian Exposition. While the fair covered hundreds of acres, the only structure left today is Charles Atwood's Palace of Fine Arts, which has since been converted into the Museum of Science and Industry.
By the 1930s, Hyde Park was prospering as a resort area boasting over a hundred hotels, including nearly a dozen elaborate, lakefront structures. Following the Depression and during the war, some of these hotels began to serve a more transient population. Most of the hotels were later converted to apartment and condominium buildings. A thriving artists' colony on E 57th Street led to the establishment of the 57th Street Art Fair in 1948, which continues as Chicago's oldest juried art fair
The neighborhood has gained particular notability as the former home of President Barack Obama, who now owns a home in neighboring Kenwood.
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