Get to Know Your Ward: 19th Ward

NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.

In this profile, learn all about the 19th ward, which covers parts of the Far Southwest Side, including Beverly, Mount Greenwood, Morgan Park and Washington Heights.


  • Total Population: 51,525
  • White: 67.14 percent
  • Black: 25.83 percent
  • Hispanic: 5.41 percent
  • Asian: 0.83 percent (Source: WBEZ)

Current Alderman: Matt O'Shea

Ward Committeemen: Matt O'Shea (democratic committeeman) and James Parrilli (republican committeeman)

Who Else is Running: Anne Schaible is running against O'Shea. (Pat McGann, a local comedian, also ran a fake campaign with an advertisement poking fun at the aldermanic race in the 19th ward. Check out his commercial.)

Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Closely knit, diverse (though the Irish-Catholic influence is strong), community-oriented, safe, highly educated

Predominant Economic Engine: Shops, restaurants and art galleries abound. A sign of the relatively stable local economy is the high number of home owners, especially compared to the rest of the South Side.

Where People Eat: Restaurants include Top Notch Beefburgers, Jimmy Jamm Sweet Potato Pies, Pizzeria Deepo, Franconello Italian, Johannah's, Five Star Burger and several fast food restaurants.

Where People Drink: Bars include several pubs along Western Avenue (Cork and Kerry, Keegan's Pub, Ding Batts and Dubliner), Wrong's Tap and Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery. Coffee shops include Beverly Baker and Cafe, Hardboiled Coffee and Iona's Beverly Hills Cafe.

Where People Pray: There are many Catholic churches in particular in the 19th ward. Churches include, Church of Nazarene, Christ the King, St. John Fisher Church, Prayer Tabernacle Church of God, Trinity United Methodist Church, Beverly Unitarian Church, Triedstone Full Gospel Baptist Church and Pilgrimmage Presbyterian Church.

How the Ward Typically Votes: Matt O'Shea has been alderman since 2011. In 2007, Virginia Rugai won 55 percent of the vote, defeating John Somerville (28 percent) and Timothy Sheehan (18 percent). In 2011, O'Shea won 61 percent of the vote, defeating Anne Schaible (28 percent) and three other challengers.

Landmark: Givins Irish Castle, which is billed as Chicago's only castle, not surprisingly. Frank Lloyd Wright also built two American System-Built houses in Beverly that are relatively well-known.

Resident's Voice: Jim Quigley, a manager at Top Notch Beefburgers, said his community needs more parking, particularly in the form of parking lots. "Parking is a premium around here. We're a restaurant business, and it hurts us. That's what everybody talks about in the restaurants," he said. Quigley added that the lack of parking can virtually shut down strets and slow down business, hurting the local economy.

Ward Expert: Caroline Connors, former editor of the Beverly Review and current executive director of of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Business Association.

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