The earliest known name for the area which became the community of Oak Lawn was Black Oak Grove, later abbreviated to Black Oak. The German Methodist Society of Blue Island, San Ridge and Black Oak was founded in 1854, suggesting that the name was in use at that time. The community’s first official mention appears in the Worth Township records of 1859 when Franklin Chamberlain, former Town Supervisor, was paid the fee of one dollar in July, 1859, for work on a bridge in “Black Oak Grove.” In fact, for many years the Worth Township section of 95 Street was known as “Black Oak Grove Road”.
One of the unresolved questions about the community’s name concerns the change from the informally accepted Black Oak to Oak Lawn. The first subdivision in the area was dubbed “Oak Lawn” in the Plat and Description recorded with Cook County on July 6, 1882. The residents of the subdivision suggested and promoted its subdivision name as one for the entire community. Over the course of the ensuing two decades, the uncertainty of the name of the community between Black Oak and the title of the subdivision of Oak Lawn was resolved in 1909 when the Village of Oak Lawn was officially incorporated.