The area is notable for its Six Corners outdoor shopping district, centered at the intersection of Irving Park Road, Cicero Avenue and the diagonal Milwaukee Avenue, the Portage Theater and for its namesake – Portage Park. The name of the park was taken from the major portage linking the Des Plaines and Chicago rivers along what is today Irving Park Road. The area was so swampy that in wet weather, Native Americans and trappers were easily able to paddle through the area in either direction without leaving their canoes.
Portage Park has the largest Polish community in the Chicago Metropolitan Area according to the 2000 census. Portage Park is home to the Polish American Association, the Polish Jesuit Millennium Center, the Polish Army Veterans Association in the beautiful building of the former Irving State bank, in addition to the multitude of Polish shops and businesses throughout the district. One of the area’s parks is named Chopin Park after Frédéric Chopin, Poland’s most famous pianist and composer.
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