Kenwood was settled in the 1850s by wealthy Chicagoans seeking respite from the increasing congestion of the city. John A. Kennicott, one of the areas first residents, built a home and named it Kenwood after his ancestral land in Scotland, and when the Illinois Central Railroad built a small depot near 47th Street, they named the station Kenwood as well. Shortly afterwards, the name Kenwood began to be applied to the whole area.
The southeastern portion of Kenwood contains the Indian Village neighborhood, which features the Chicago Landmark Powhatan Apartments and the National Register of Historic Places Narragansett. The 1902 Blackstone Library is another well-known landmark in the neighborhood and continues to be part of the Chicago Public Library system. The recently reopened Hyde Park Art Center, located on Cornell Avenue just north of 51st Street and East Hyde Park Boulevard, is Chicago’s oldest alternative exhibition space, with an on-site school and studio.