Bridgeport was initially called the "Portage de Checagou" (or Portage des Chenes), and Fr. Jacques Marquette and trader Louis Joliet traveled through in 1673. It technically remained under French control until 1763, then British control until 1783 or 1795.
In the 1830s, large numbers of immigrants from Ireland started settling in this working-class neighborhood, which became an Irish-American enclave.
Bridgeport's Polish history is most visibly represented in its two churches in the Polish Cathedral style: St. Mary of Perpetual Help, and St. Barbara.
The Chinese influence in Bridgeport has also followed in other ethnic groups in establishing neighborhood places of worship; the Ling Shen Ching Tze (真佛宗美) Buddhist Temple on West 31st Street was established in 1992.
If catching a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field isn't your cup of tea, don't fret! Bridgeport is one of the most diverse areas of Chicago, you'll discover an incredible variety of authentic cuisine, indelible art and interesting cultural experiences. For an in-depth guide on what to do, see and eat, check out this Time Out article!
In 2008 the Chicago Sun-Times listed Bridgeport as one of the four most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Chicago, alongside Albany Park, West Ridge, and Rogers Park. A traditionally working-class neighborhood, with a diverse ethnic heritage, Bridgeport's cultural history has left an indelible mark on Chicago cuisine. While pizza is well represented in Bridgeport, it is the breaded-steak sandwich served by most of the neighborhood's pizzerias, that the neighborhood can claim as an original.
Chinese and Mexican fare are also well represented, particularly along 31st Street, Halsted Street, and Archer Avenue. Bridgeport in the early 21st century has also begun to experience an upswing in new restaurants, with a few recent additions serving a wide range of items.