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.
5 minutes to Chicago Loop
27 minutes to O’Hare Airport
22 minutes to Midway Airport
Distance to downtown 0-1 mile
Goose Island is crossed by Division Street, running east–west, and Halsted Street, which runs north–south across the southeast portion of the island. Goose Island has access to Blue Line trains, as well as buses to all areas of the city.
This small near north side area draws Chicagoans to its premises with a phenomenal, extremely small restaurant scene that joins the ranks of some of the city’s best dining. Be sure to check out The Dining Room at Kendall College. It is headed by notable chef/owner graduates and offers diners the opportunity to taste the classroom projects of chefs in training before they become famous. It is cheaper than eating at a five-star establishment and you still get dishes on par with Chicago’s finest restaurants for a fraction of the price. For seafood lovers, Goose Island Shrimp House is a carryout joint that cooks up batches of sizzling shrimp, as well as oysters and frog house. It is located right off the Edens Expressway, making it convenient to pick up some great seafood on the way home from the office.
In addition to being a future leader in the workplace, Goose Island is also poised to become an important recreation space as it is surrounded by the Chicago River. Goose Island, and other industrial areas being redeveloped along the Chicago River’s North Branch will allow residents and workers to have river access to these areas for the first time in many years.
With a population of only about 4,000, Goose Island has three schools. One of the best schools is Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts. The Public schools in Goose Island belong to the City of the Chicago School District 299.