One of our latest projects, Optima Lakeview, is in the midst of a neighborhood filled with interesting, iconic Chicago history. Within the Lakeview neighborhood is Wrigleyville, named after the home of the Chicago Cubs. The team itself is loved by fans near and far, but Wrigley Field is an equally fascinating piece of Chicago’s past.
Lakeview Comes to Life
At the turn of the 20th century, the site of Wrigley Field was originally home to the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. At the same time, Lakeview was rapidly growing into a place for recreation and escape from the city; the once-quiet neighborhood was starting to change. The seminary sold the land, and developers started envisioning its future use. Due to leadership changes and funding, the site didn’t see real change for a little over a year.
A Stadium is Born
Around 1913, the owners of the Federal League, a minor league across six cities, secured the lease of the land. One of the owners, Charles Weeghman, commissioned a team of architects to design the stadium, which took just two months to complete. By 1914, the stadium — named Weeghman Park — was hosting its first major-league games. The park was a perfect fit for Lakeview’s changing dynamics, featuring modern design, impeccable cleanliness, top-notch food and hospitality.
The Wrigley Era
Despite the popularity of the stadium, the Federal League disbanded by 1915, but Weeghman didn’t give up. He purchased the existing Cubs franchise and moved the team to his own stadium. The Cubs played their first home game in Lakeview in 1916. Weeghman exited his management role shortly after, making way for another investor’s influence: chewing gum magnate William Wrigley. Wrigley hired the original architects to expand the existing structure to accommodate crowds and re-named the stadium to Wrigley Field.
Over the years, the stadium saw plenty of other expansions and renovations, as did its surrounding neighborhood. Wrigley Field had such a magnetic pull that the community around it eventually became Wrigleyville. Streets, bars, restaurants and entertainment were all inspired by baseball, the Cubs and Wrigley Field. The vibrancy and excitement of Wrigleyville and the ballpark are both visible from Optima Lakeview’s Skydeck.
Today, Wrigley Field is renowned as one of the oldest and most iconic Major League Baseball parks in the country. Chicago — and Lakeview — couldn’t be more proud to host the team; and we’re now thrilled to be part of the neighborhood.