Goose Island Beer Company has become an staple in Chicago bars, and become popular across the country. But before the brewery came to the island, the little clay island known as Goose Island was home to geese and other birds located near the merge point of the North and South branches of the Chicago River.
Back in the 1800’s, the area became associated with nearby Irish squatter settlements. As these Irish factory workers took up residence on the island, it is believed they brought with them flocks of geese and kept them as livestock.
In 1832, the 80 acres of land now known as Goose Island was sold for $100. By 1853, after several purchases of the island and resells, it finally was purchased by the Chicago Land Company. Eventually, the canal built around the land to connect the Chicago River was officially navigable, forming Goose Island and the only island on the Chicago River.
By 1887, the island was home to two grain elevators, eleven coal yards and a railroad. By the turn of the 20th century, many residents began to move off the island, including many businesses deserting the land.
Today, Goose Island has become the site of redevelopment, similar to previous industrial Chicago neighborhoods like River North and Fulton Market. Major warehouses have been converted into creative loft-office spaces and become home to large corporations like Wrigley Corporation’s research & development facility and Sara Lee Corporations headquarters (as well as the
Ready to tour the area? Stay in the heart of the city and travel to all of Chicago’s amazing neighborhoods for rich culture, and a few cold brews!