History from 1951 to Present

Modernizationkankakee homes
During the late 1950s and most of the 1960s many downtowns and older sections of neighborhoods under went “modernization”. The destruction of older buildings and residential structure was generally meant to make space available for new construction in the architectural style of the time – modernism – a style with simplistic lines and minimal decorations. Riverview was not exempt from these changes in taste.

Several large homes of the 1860 – 1920 era were razed for building 1960s ranch-style homes, several multi-unit buildings were constructed. Many of Riverview’s larger homes were converted into multi-unit apartment buildings.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s over ten thousand manufacturing jobs left Kankakee County. This resulted in a general decline of economic vitality in the county. More retail stores left downtown Kankakee for Meadowview Shopping Center, an outdoor retail concept built on the north side of Kankakee. In the 1980s a modern indoor mall was built in Bradley, a village north of Kankakee, further draining retail from downtown Kankakee. While popular residential trends moved to the northern portion of the area there was a group of residents who never stopped promoting the unique qualities of life in Riverview.

Kankakee’s come backkankakee bradley house
In the late 1980’s several prominent homes from 1880 – 1900 period were purchased, renovated, and returned to their former glory as single family homes. These resurrection projects became the catalyst for preserving the historical structures and for the growing pride of the Riverview neighborhood. In 1986 a group of Riverview residents took it upon themselves to lead an effort to establish the Riverview Historic District. On August 22, 1986 the Riverview Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

With the turn of the millennium the Riverview Historic District saw in influx of new residents. Many were returning from college elsewhere to start their families in the neighborhood of their childhood memories. Other new residents were discovering the amazing value of residential property in Riverview and moved from the Chicagoland area to Kankakee, which is only a short 60 minute drive from Chicago’s Loop.

In recent years the Riverview Historic District has become an exciting community of engaged residents sharing pride in their distinct homes and charm in an area that has become an anchor for the revitalization of the City of Kankakee.

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