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Goose Island is an artificial island in Chicago formed by the North Branch of the Chicago River on the west and the North Branch Canal on the east. The land that was to become the present-day Goose Island lies on a bend in the Chicago River between North Avenue on the north and Chicago Avenue on the south. It is about 1.5 miles long and 0.5 miles across at its widest point.
The name may have originally referred to a small natural island at the north side of the confluence of the North and South Branches of the Chicago River that was home to seasonal flocks of birds. Goose Island’s access to water made it the perfect place for industry. By the late 1800s, the small island was covered with tanneries, breweries, and soap factories, and by 1887, there were two grain elevators, eleven coal yards, and a railroad among these other industrial businesses. The name of Goose Island is rumored to have come out of this time of industrialization. Irish factory workers took up residence on the island during this period, and it is believed that they brought with them flocks of geese and kept them as livestock.
Goose Island may be best known for the beer company that takes its name from the manmade island. Real estate developers believe in the next 10 years, hundreds, if not thousands of new office workers will be commuting to Goose Island for their jobs. There are several major adaptive reuse projects underway, and also some new construction that will help draw companies to this old industrial corridor.