Harvey was founded in 1891 by Turlington W. Harvey, a close associate of Dwight Moody, the founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Harvey was intended as a model town for Christian values and was one of the Temperance Towns. It was closely modeled after the company town of Pullman.
The city had its greatest growth in the prosperous postwar years, reaching its peak population in 1980. But it suffered losses in jobs and population through restructuring of steel and similar industries in the late 20th century.
In the 2000s and 2010s, Mayor Eric Kellogg attempted to boost Harvey's economy, with little success. Kellogg offered developers millions of dollars in incentives to revive the long vacant Dixie Square Mall. The city granted a developer $10 million in incentives to redevelop the Chicago Park Hotel, but he abandoned the project before completion, leaving the building gutted.
In February 2018, Harvey became the first city in Illinois to have its revenue garnished by the State in order to fund the city's pension liabilities. The city laid off employees in order to deal with the changes.
The former Dixie Square Mall (completed 1966, abandoned 1978, demolished 2012) appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers as the scene of a car chase. Set builders made the abandoned mall look to be functional just long enough for cinema viewers to see its reconstructed interior destroyed. The building stood abandoned for years as the neighbourhood slowly died due to a combination of "white flight", street crime and the exodus of most of the local middle class.
Harvey is served by two Metra Electric commuter rail stations along the line's Main Branch. One is at 147th Street (a.k.a. Sibley Boulevard) and Clinton Street, and the other is at Park Avenue and 154th Street.
Three major north-south streets in Chicago venture as far south as Harvey in some capacity. Halsted Street (Illinois Route 1) runs through the east side of town. Dixie Highway, as it is known in Harvey, is Western Avenue in Chicago. Finally, Chicago's Ashland Avenue becomes Wood Street in Harvey.
Eleven Pace bus routes serve Harvey and the Pace Harvey Transportation Center.
- Popeye's Louisiana Chicken, 257 E 147th St, ☏ .
- Comfort Suites, 16920 S Halsted St, ☏ .
- Sleep Inn, 16940 S. Halsted St, ☏ . 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. 1 mile from Dolton Expo Center and within walking distance to several restaurants and shopping stores.
Harvey remains one of the most dangerous cities in Illinois, with rampant poverty and high levels of violent crime.
|Routes through Harvey|
|Chicago ← Blue Island ←||N S||→ Oak Forest → Kankakee|
|Joliet ← Tinley Park ←||W E||→ Lansing → Gary|
|Milwaukee ← Midlothian ←||N S||→ Lansing → Gary via|
|Joliet ← Oak Forest ←||W E||→ Lansing → Gary|