Hegewisch (Chicago), Illinois

Hegewisch (pronounced "heg-wish" by local residents) is located on Chicago’s far South Side, just north of the Indiana-Illinois state line. It is named for Adolph Hegewisch, the president of the U.S. Rolling Stock Co., who said he hoped to establish “the ideal workingman's community" when he laid out the town along a rail line in 1883. Six years later, Chicago annexed the town.

Hegewisch has more undeveloped land than anywhere else in Chicago with 475 acres of open space and 536 acres of vacant space. The William H. Powers Recreation Area, Mann Park, Wolf Lake and Powderhorn Prairie Marsh Nature Preserve are all located in Hegewisch.

Hegewisch also contains Chicago's only trailer park, Harbor Point Estates, located east of Avenue F. The trailer park is built on the former site of a landfill. In 2014, it contained 190 manufactured homes and 50 RVs.

There have been multiple efforts to redevelop the trailer park. In 2008, developers attempted to convert the trailer park into a 900+ unit subdivision, but this project was canceled because of the subprime mortgage crisis. Another effort was made in 2014, but this project has not been realized.

According to an analysis by the Chicago planning commission, there were 9,371 people and 3,558 households in Hegewisch in 2016. The racial makeup of the area at that time was 42.5% white, 4.4% African American, 0.2% Asian and 0.6% from other races. Hispanics of any race made up 52.4% of the population.

The population was dominated by those in the upper age groups, with 25.3% under the age of 19, 18.6% from 20 to 34, 17.8% from 35 to 49, 21.5% from 50 to 64, and 16.9% 65 years or older. The median age was 39 years.

The median household income was slightly higher than that of Chicago’s. In Hegewisch, the median household income was $50,000 compared to a median income of $47,831 for Chicago at large.

The commission reported that 26.6% of households earned less than $25,000 annually; 23.4% of households earned between $25,000 and $49,999; 17.2% of households earned between $50,000 and $74,999; 13.5% of households earned between $75,000 and $99,999; 11% of households earned between $100,000 and $149,999 and 8.2% of households earned more than $150,000.

The top employers in Hegewisch are in the manufacturing sector, with (47.5%). They include the Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant, which is the oldest continually operated plant of the Ford Motor Co., located at 12600 S. Torrence Ave. on its border with South Deering. Flex-N-Gate, which provides bumpers to auto manufacturers, announced that it would begin production near the Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant in 2019. 

The union hall for UAW Local 551 is headquartered on Torrence Avenue. Hegewisch is also home to Calumet Harbor Lumber Co., the last surviving saw mill inside Chicago.

Other employers are in wholesale trade (19.7%), retail trade (11.1%), accommodation and food (5.2%) and finance (3.9%). Almost two-thirds of the workers in these fields live outside of Chicago.

KCBX Terminals, a pet coke processing facility owned by the Koch brothers, is located in Hegewisch

Hegewisch schools are part of the city of Chicago Public School District. Local schools include Virgil I. Grissom Elementary School and George Washington High School. The nearest City College campus is Olive-Harvey in Pullman.

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