Tag: Medium Length Walk

Sauganash and Old Edgebrook

Length of Walk: The walk through Sauganash is 2.0 miles. You will then drive 1.5 miles to Old Edgebrook and walk about a mile there.

Where it is Located: Sauganash and Old Edgebrook are neighborhoods within the Community Area of Forest Glen. It is Walk #14 on the Walks Location Map.

Home in Old Edgebrook


How we got there: We drove and parked where we wanted to start our walk in each neighborhood. Street parking is easy and plentiful. Public transportation options can be reviewed at: CTA Trip Planner


Sauganash Trail

Marge’s Comments:  You will forget you are in the city of Chicago when you walk these neighborhoods! Upscale, pretty, historical and nestled in the woods, you will feel far from the grit of the city. The residential architecture in Sauganash seems more diverse than elsewhere in the city. Instead of the usual bungalow and four square, you will see some unique Art Deco and Art Moderne homes as well as various revival homes in the French, Colonial, Italian and Tudor style. If you feel miles away from the city in Sauganash, you might feel like you’ve escaped to the country in Old Edgebrook, which lies within the Cook County Forest Preserve of Edgebrook Woods.

One of only two roads that lead into Old Edgebrook

Ed’s Comments:  These two walks, so near each other, are a wonderful way to experience the contrast of different Chicago neighborhoods. Sauganash is a charming, suburban-like old neighborhood with interesting, well maintained homes and a historic parish church. Not much has changed in 50 years and, in a sense, time has stood still for the visitor.

Old Edgebrook is a two block village in the middle of the forest. You would expect a gingerbread house at any moment and we did see a deer on the side of a house during our walk. The overlook of the golf course and northwest branch of the Chicago river is charming. Great walk any time of the year. The two walks go together like tomatoes and mint. Tasty, but so different.




Printable PDF of the Sauganash and Old Edgebrook Walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk Sauganash and Old Edgebrook

Sauganash and Old Edgebrook Walk



Sauganash Walk 



The land where Sauganash stands was inhabited by Native Americans in the early 19th Century. The name “Sauganash” comes from Billy Caldwell, the Potawatomi son of a Mohawk mother and British officer father. Given the name “Chief Sauganash,” meaning Englishman, Caldwell mediated treaties between the Native Americans and the United States.


As thanks for his diplomacy, in 1828 the government gave him the nearly two-and-one-half-square-mile area that is now occupied by Sauganash and Edgebrook. This 1,600-acre parcel of land stretched along both sides of the Chicago River—crucial for food, water and transportation—which accounts for the diagonal street pattern.


In 1912 a small portion of the Billy Caldwell Reserve, 260 acres, was purchased by one of the oldest and most respected real estate firms in Chicago, Koester and Zander, and named “Sauganash,” to denote the area’s history. While the first eight homes on Kostner Avenue between Peterson and Rogers Avenues were completed by 1924, two hundred homes were completed by 1930.


Sauganash is a blend of several distinctive architecture styles, ranging from bungalows and Cape Cod cottages to the palatial French and Classical Revival designs, as well as Art Deco and Art Moderne. The principal architectural style is Tudor Revival.


Koester and Zander laid the foundation for Sauganash’s distinctive green space by planting more than 20 varieties of trees, including oak, sycamore and mountain ash, lending to the lush character of the community. By the 1930s, census records show the area catered to upper middle-class families.

(Info from the Sauganash Chamber of Commerce website)


Part of Sauganash is a National Historic District and that is where our walk takes us today. As original Art Deco and Art Moderne homes are so rare to see, we’ve selected this style to show you on the walk. There are many architectural styles represented in the district and they are itemized in the Sauganash National Historic District Info . You may want to use it as a guide as to design your own walk through the district to architectural styles you are most interested in.


Park near Queen of All Saints to start the walk


  1. Queen of All Saints Basilica                                 6280 N. Sauganash Ave.

An important Sauganash landmark is Queen of All Saints Basilica. The church, designed in a Neo-Gothic style by Meyer and Cook, was completed in 1960. The magnificent, cathedral-like church was raised to the dignity of a basilica by Pope John XXIII on March 26, 1962. The large window over the choir loft features eight different shrines of the Virgin Mary, each particular to a certain country or culture representing the different ethnic groups living in Sauganash. (from The Sauganash Chamber of Commerce website)


  1. Sauganash Elementary School                   6040 N. Kilpatrick Ave.

This school was built by the Works Public Administration (WPA) in 1936. Designed by John C. Christensen, the long-time architect for Chicago Public Schools, this two story brick and terra cotta school is a good example of New Deal-era Art Deco public architecture. Situated on 2.5 acres, the Sauganash Elementary School and its grounds provide recreational and green space for residents. (From the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form)


  1. Art Deco Residence                                     5928 N. Kilbourn

Described by the Chicago Daily Tribune as “a residence said to reach the zenith of modernism,” the house here was perhaps one of the earliest Art Deco small homes in the nation. Built by Herman Voss, the house features many typical Art Deco elements. Vertical lines are emphasized all along the front elevation, both in the long rectangular windows, and in the ornamental pilasters that frame two round windows. Decorative elements, such as the detailing at the corners of the wall below the roofline, add to the Art Deco feel of the house. (From the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form)



  1. Art Moderne Residence                          5915 N. Kenneth

Inspired by streamlined industrial design, the Art Moderne style developed following Art Deco in the 1930s. Rather than building upon elements of the past as Art Deco had, Art Moderne was an attempt to create a glimpse into an exciting future during the Great Depression. The style is characterized by horizontal lines and rounded corners designed to simulate a feeling of movement. Architects also borrowed many elements directly from the transportation industry, such as chrome and circular windows. Because it was based on already familiar designs, Art Moderne was more accepted as a residential style. In addition, Art Modern lent itself well to remodeling projects, allowing budget conscious consumers to update their homes in the latest style.


The house here on Kenneth provides an excellent example of the Art Moderne design. The house is constructed of brick, with accent bricks set to create horizontal lines that appear to trail off after the windows. Round porthole-style windows are placed in the front door and entryway. A rounded wall of glass bricks at the south end of the house is a unique feature, reinforcing the streamlined appearance of the house. (From the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form)


  1. Sauganash Park                                          5861 N. Kostner Ave.


The single story English style fieldhouse dates back to 1934. In the mid-1970s, a large gymnasium was added to the fieldhouse. Because the addition detracts from the design, materials and feeling of the original Tudor-style field house, the fieldhouse is a non-contributing resource in the Sauganash Historic District.


  1. Sauganash Trail Park                                                                        Access the trail east of the park

The Sauganash Trail officially opened June 21, 2008. It’s one mile long, running from Bryn Mawr to Devon near Kostner. It’s a wonderful little path that is used regularly by locals. Community residents can access the path at Bryn Mawr to pedal downtown, take a leisurely stroll or power walk, walk their dog, or take jog in the neighborhood.


Enter the trail at the park, enjoy a brief half mile stroll, and exit at the first access point you see.


  1. You will emerge onto W. Thome Avenue.

Follow the map or wander around more of these lovely streets to return to your car.


After returning to your car, drive over to Old Edgebrook 

Old Edgebrook Walk 


Planned originally in 1894 as a neighborhood for executives of the Milwaukee Road Railway Co., Old Edgebrook is rich in architecture, history and rustic charm. There are just 48 homes in this small community with winding, heavily forested streets. The architecture represents almost every style popular with middle and upper middle class families in the 1890s through the 1940s.

Wildlife abounds as the neighborhood is surrounded by the Edgebrook Golf Course, Cook County Forest Preserve and the Chicago River. The two roads leading in and out are heavily wooded, adding to the secluded feel of the area.

This neighborhood became a Chicago Historic District in 1988.

The route plotted through the neighborhood is entirely random, so meander as you wish to the only item on the walk that I have listed.


  1. Mary Burkemeier Quinn Park of Trees (aka Quinn Park)                            6239 N. McClellan Ave.
  2. This is one of the smallest Chicago Park District Parks. When Edward Quinn died in 1980, he left their property to the Chicago Park District for a park to be named after his wife. Under the terms of the bequest, he instructed that his house be demolished and a minimum of 21 trees be planted on the site. In 1988, the wooded park became part of the City of Chicago’s Old Edgebrook Historic Landmark District.






East Humboldt Park

Length of Walk: 2.7 miles

Where it is located:  East Humboldt Park is actually a neighborhood on the west side of the West Town Community Area. It includes Humboldt Park and the famous Puerto Rican “Paseo Boricua”, which are the focuses of this walk. It is Walk #13 on the Walks Location Map.

Humboldt Park Receptory Building and Stable, home to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture

How we got there:  We drove and parked inside Humboldt Park at the start of the walk. We entered on N. Albany off North Avenue just east of the Armory and found a spot right away. You can check out your public transportation options with the CTA Trip Planner.

from Chuckman’s Photos

Marge’s Comments: It’s been a couple of years since we took this walk, but what I remember most is feeling wistful that I had never seen the park at the peak of its glory, probably in the mid 1900s. Its bones are magnificent and the restoration of the Stables is a must see. The lagoons, gardens and fieldhouse are mere shadows of their former selves but still impressive. Emerging from the park onto the Puerto Rican Paseo Boricua is a lively change of pace with vibrant street life, colorful murals and ethnic eateries.

Puerto Rican Flag on Paseo Boricua (Division St.)


Ed’s Comments: This walk is more of a park walk than a neighborhood walk as most of the mileage is within Humboldt Park.   Nevertheless, you couldn’t find a more delightful inner-city park just a short distance from all the interesting neighborhoods on the near west side of town.  The ponds, pavilions, trails, and formal gardens are a delight most months of the year. Don’t miss the Puerto Rican Heritage Museum in the old horse stables south of Division Street.


Printable PDF of the Walk:  Chicago Neighborhood Walk East Humboldt Park

The Walk:


East Humboldt Park Walk

This neighborhood has followed the pattern of so many Chicago neighborhoods. It has seen successive waves of immigrants, lured by rail access and factory work. Germans, Scandinavians, Poles, Jews and Italians lived here around the turn of the 20th century. As the century progressed, they migrated elsewhere. The area deteriorated and fell victim to gangs and decline.

The latter half of the century saw the area as a Latino “port of entry” neighborhood. Puerto Ricans and Mexicans comprised about 62% of the population by 1990. There were periods of riots and unrest among the Puerto Rican community because of police treatment of its residents. In 1995, Division Street found new life when city officials and Latino leaders decided on a public art project to recognize the neighborhood and the residents’ roots. They christened it “Paseo Boricua” and installed two metal Puerto Rican flags—each weighing 45 tons, measuring 59 feet (18 m) vertically and stretching across the street—at each end of the strip.

This is considered the flagship of Puerto Rican enclaves in the United States and is the political and cultural capital of the Puerto Rican community in the Midwest. It is home to a cultural center, colorful murals, vibrant street life and music, and a yearly festival and parade.

The neighborhood is changing once again. Gentrification has brought higher real estate values and taxes and poorer residents are getting edged out. Latino makeup has fallen to 47% and is declining.

Humboldt Park (the Park) is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Boathouse and Stables are designated Chicago landmarks.

History of Humboldt Park, the Park: (from Wikipedia) William Le Baron Jenney began developing the park in the 1870s, molding a flat prairie landscape into a “pleasure ground” with horse trails and a pair of lagoons. The park opened to the public in 1877, but landscape architects such as Jens Jensen made significant additions to the park over the next few decades. Between 1905 and 1920, Jensen connected the two lagoons with a river, planted a rose garden, and built a fieldhouse, boathouse, and music pavilion. There is an audio tour on the Chicago Park District website of the park that gives more history and information. (The walk is also available at Tour Budy.)

At the request of the largely German born population at the time, the park was named after Baron Freidrich Heinrich Alexander Von Humboldt (1759-1859), the famous German scientist and explorer, though Humboldt had only visited the U.S. once and had never been to Chicago.

1.) Humboldt Park Fieldhouse 1400 N. Sacramento

In 1928, the West Park Commission constructed a fieldhouse in Humboldt Park. The structure was designed by architects Michaelsen and Rognstad, who were also responsible for other notable buildings including the Garfield Park Gold Dome Building, the Douglas and LaFolette Park Fieldhouses, and the On Leong Chinese Merchant’s Association Building in Chinatown.

2.) Boathouse 1301 N. Sacramento

Jens Jensen commissioned Schmidt, Garden, and Martin to design an impressive boat house and refectory building (1907) which still stands at one end of the historic music court. There is a café here which has outdoor seating and pretty views of the park.

3.)  Bison Bronzes at the Formal Garden

The two bison at the Formal Garden were sculpted by Edward Kemeys who also created the lions in front of the Art Institute.

4.)  Formal Garden

Jens Jensen created this garden in 1908. It once featured semi-circular beds of roses and other perennials, as well as an upper terrace with wooden and concrete pergolas, according to the Jensen Formal Garden Restoration Project website.

“He called it a ‘community garden’ explaining that it was created for ‘those who have no other gardens except their window sills,'” the website reads.

Over the years, the garden has deteriorated: the concrete walls and pergolas are cracking, the wood is rotting, some flowers beds have been sodded over and very few flowers remain, according to the website.

DNA Info reported on May 2, 2017 that the prominent Dutch designer behind the award-winning Lurie Garden in Millennium Park has been tapped to revitalize the garden.  Plans include repairing the crumbling infrastructure and revitalizing the design features in keeping with Jensen’s famous Prairie style.

5.) Humboldt Park Receptory Building and Stable                     3015 W. Division

This beautifully restored building houses the only year round museum dedicated to Puerto Rican arts and culture, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. It has received 23 million dollars in renovations over the last several years. The Chicago Landmark Commission report describes the building’s appearance as “old German style of country house architecture” which looks vividly picturesque within the greenery of Humboldt Park. It was built in 1895 to house horses, wagons and landscaping tools.

It was designed by Frommann and Jebsen and also served as the office of the Humboldt Park Superintendent, Jens Jensen, whose office was in the turret. It is the oldest surviving building in Humboldt Park.

The rest of this tour is taken verbatim from the Humboldt Park Mural Tour created by architreasures, an arts based community development organization.

6.) Paseo Boricua Gateway Flags, 1995        One flag at Western and Division and one flag at California and Division

Each flag weighs 45 tons, measures 56’ high, and forms a 59’ arch from one side of the street to the other. They are made out of steel and steel pipeline welded together. The flags were made out of steel to honor the first wave of Puerto Rican immigrants who established themselves in Chicago and the Midwest to work for its steel industry in the mid-1940s. The second wave of Puerto Ricans came specifically to work on steel pipelines, the material the flags are made out of. These flags act as the gateway to Paseo Boricua, the portion of Division Street between these flags.

7.) Co-Op Image Graffiti Mural, 2011 Co-Op Image                   2750 West Division St.

This graffiti style mural reflects the vitality of life on Division Street.The mural confirms that graffiti can be an art form and not just vandalism. The graffiti mural was legally sanctioned by an auto-mechanic shop that gave the organization permission to paint. The image in the center is from a photograph taken on April 16, 1936. Albizu Campos is rallying a crowd to become a force for independence.

8.) Born of Fire, 2006 Martin Soto                                                2700 West Division St.

This mural is a complicated narrative about the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. It contains images about education, culture, sports, gang violence, and Puerto Rican historical figures. The mural reflects community, social, and political concerns as well as neighborhood history and achievements with specific reference to the 1996 Division Street Riots and the Three Kings Festival. After the Riots, the community became more politically active and vibrant. Puerto Rico’s national flower, the maga, or hibiscus flower is depicted.

9.) La Casita de Don Pedro, 1998 archi-treasures, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, Puerto Rican Cultural Center of Chicago 2625 West Division St.

This is a park dedicated to Humboldt Park’s Puerto Rican community designed to look like the Puerto Rican flag from above. Three red tiled stripes lead to the base of the statue, which is shaped like a star. “La casita” or “little house,” is a replica of a 1940s typical rural house in Puerto Rico with a zinc roof and a porch. The statue of Don Pedro Albizu Campos located in the center of the park was originally intended to be installed in Humboldt Park but was rejected by the Chicago Park District because Albizu Campos was thought to be too controversial. The park hosts bomba and plena dance and drum classes, political rallies, concerts, art exhibits, and other events. La Casita de Don Pedro was one of archi-treasures’ pilot projects completed in 1998.

10.) Honor Boricua, 1992 Hector Duarte                                        1318 North Rockwell St.

The mural honors the Puerto Rican heritage of many people in Humboldt Park. The flag flying across the sea from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico to Chicago and back represents the ongoing exchange of culture, resources, people, and ideas between the communities. The mural illustrates transnational and multicultural messages. The artist interviewed community members about their stories and used their ideas to develop the theme for the mural. Borinquen is the original Taíno Indian name for the Island of Puerto Rico.

11.) Breaking the Chains, 1971 John Pitman Weber                           1500 North Rockwell St.

The mural is about community struggles. There are hands breaking the chains of poverty, racism, and war and holding up children carrying roses in a bright light that symbolizes a bright future for the next generation. The woman crying from the burning window is a reference to the arsons that plagued the community in the early 1970’s when landlords began burning buildings to collect the insurance on them.

If you want to see more murals, follow the aqua dotted line on the map and see more murals at stops A through F.

A.)  La Crucifixion de Don Pedro Albizu Campos, 1971 Mario Galan, Jose Bermudez, Hector Rosario                                          2425 West North Ave.

Don Pedro Albizu Campos, the leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, is depicted crucified in the center alongside two other Nationalists of the 1950s. Portraits of six independence and abolitionist leaders of the 19th century are lined across the top. The flag in the background is called the La Bandera de Lares. It represents Puerto Rico’s first declaration of independence from Spain on September 23, 1868. This armed uprising is known as El Grito de Lares. It took nine years to save this mural from destruction. A new condominium was planned and if built, would have blocked off the mural. Community members concerned about gentrification of the neighborhood as well as saving the oldest Puerto Rican mural in Chicago went into action and saved it.

B.) I Will… The People United Cannot Be Defeated, 2004 Northeastern Illinois University Students                                     1300 North Western Ave.

The mural is sending a message that encourages people to vote. It depicts the activist figures Mother Jones, Fred Hampton, Eugene Debs, and Lucy Parsons. The mural reflects the mass mobilization of people to exercise their right to vote and to become active leaders toward positive social change. The title of the mural comes from a chant first heard at a Chilean protest.

D.) 79th, 2009 John Vergara                                               2460 West Division St.

This mural depicts the recently designed Paseo Boricua flag that recognizes Humboldt Park as the heart of the City’s Puerto Rican community. The symbolism in the Coat of Arms connects Puerto Rico and its culture to the City of Chicago. Paseo Boricua is the first location outside the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to be granted the right to fly an official Municipal Flag of Puerto Rico. The reason this mural is titled “79th” is that there are 78 municipalities in Puerto Rico and Paseo Boricua has the honor of being named the 79th.

E.) Sea of Flags, 2004 Gamaliel Ramirez with assistance from Star Padilla, Moncho, Luis Ortiz, Melissa Cintron, and community members                                     2500 West Division St.

The mural depicts a cultural/music event called Fiesta Boricua (De Bandera a Bandera). The Festival attracts over 250,000 people every year and is held in September. Visitors can hear salsa, reggaeton, bomba, plena, and merengue music pulsing in the streets. The mural depicts some famous people including National Puerto Rican icon Lolita Lebrón, Pedro Pietri, and Don Pedro Albizu Campos, the leader of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement who is depicted as a bronze statue on the left of the image. The abundance of Puerto Rican flags is an intentional comment by the artists. From 1898 to 1952, when Puerto Rico became annexed by the United States, it was considered a felony to display the Puerto Rican flag in public; the only flag permitted to be flown on the island was the United States flag.

F.)  Escuelita Tropical, 2005 Eren Star Padilla                                               2516 West Division St. This is one of the few murals in the area created by a female artist. Symbols on the mural refer to Taíno petroglyphs and pictographs found in the Caribbean as well as Aztec symbols from Mexico. The symbols are Pre-Columbian and speak to the cultural identity of the Puerto Rican and Mexican children of Viva Child + Family, the child development center that owns the building where the mural is located.

Drive By Add On:

Some may remember the terrible school fire at Our Lady of Angels on December 1, 1958. Those of us alive at the time will never forget the tragic images of the fire that killed 92 children and 3 nuns. The replacement school closed and is now leased to a charter school, but there is a memorial on site at 3808 W. Iowa St., a close drive from this walk.

Resources: Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Chicago, Chicago Park District,


East Albany Park and Ravenswood Manor

Length of Walk: The main walk is 2.4 miles. I’ve listed 3 optional excursions off the main walk. They include an extended walk in Ravenswood Manor, a trip to North Park University and a visit to the Cambodian Association.

Where it is located: This walk will take you to the east side of Albany Park Community Area. It is Walk #11 on the Walks Location Map.

Ronan Park Path along the River

How we got there: We drove and parked on N. Francisco in front of the River Park Fieldhouse. Parking can be tight in this neighborhood. The Brown Line is a great option for getting here. Take it to the Francisco station (which is part of this walk) and start the walk at Stop #5 and make the loop. You can check out other public transportation options with the CTA Trip Planner.

Carpet Mosaic at the Francisco Brown Line Station

Marge’s Comments: After walking this community, I wondered why it had taken me so long to discover it. The nature areas and parks, the charming historic district of Ravenswood Manor and the diversity of nationalities here make this walk a visual and cultural delight. If your exposure to this neighborhood has been using Lawrence Avenue as a thoroughfare to someplace else, stop, park the car and start exploring. You are in for a wonderful surprise.

Ed’s Comments: This is an easy walk and easy to get to but filled with so much local neighborhood interest. Although the bucolic north branch of the river is the spine of this area, the blocks are filled with newly arrived immigrants and stately old homes and bungalows.  Try going and coming on the CTA Brown Line and feel what it is like to travel and live in this peaceful enclave.

Printable PDF of the Walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk Albany Park and Ravenswood Manor

Charming home in Ravenswood Manor

The Walk:


This walk takes you to the very eastern part of Albany Park and even spills slightly over the border into North Park and Ravenswood. The western part of Albany Park is home to North Mayfair, another historic district, and will be the focus of another walk.

East Albany Park and Ravenswood Manor

German and Swedish immigrants initially settled the Albany Park area. After 1912, the area became home to a large number of Russian Jews and remained predominately Jewish through the 1950s. After the Second World War, many Jewish families moved north to Lincolnwood and Skokie. The suburban exodus led Albany Park into economic and social decline. In the 1970s, 70% of the commercial property along Lawrence Avenue stood vacant. Empty buildings attracted illegal drug trade, prostitution and gangs.

Relief came in 1978 when the city government, the North River Commission and the Lawrence Avenue Development Corporation cooperated to improve Albany Park’s appearance and business development.

After the 1970s , Albany Park became a port of entry for immigrants from Asia and Latin America and today it is one of the most ethnically diverse zipcodes in the United States. Over 40 languages are spoken in its public schools.

(from Encyclopedia of Chicago and Wikipedia)

Main Walk (marked in red dots on the map)

1.River Park 5100 N. Francisco Ave.

Chicago architect Clarence Hatzfeld designed the impressive brick fieldhouse with a three-story central section and a long wing on either end. It was constructed in 1929 to replace the original structure.

Special note: There is an interesting Potawatomi Village mural in the fieldhouse.  It was donated to Potawatomi Park on the North side by 10 students who were taking Potawatomi Art Class.  The painting depicts Chief Alexander Robinson, who wears an American style suit, talking with two Native Americans in tribal garb, in the midst of a bustling Potawatomi village. The son of a Scottish fur-trader father and Potawatomi mother, Chief Alexander Robinson (1787–1872) was instrumental in negotiating several early-nineteenth-century treaties between Native Americans and the United States government. In return for persuading tribal members to peacefully abandon the area, the federal government granted Robinson a two-square-mile property west of Chicago. The chief’s family occupied this land for many decades. When the art students decided to paint the village scene, Robinson’s granddaughter granted them permission to use the property to help create the painting. Today, the land is part of the Robinson Reserve, part of the Cook County Forest Preserve.

First displayed at Potawatomi Park, the painting was removed sometime after the demolition of the park’s original field house. In 2008, after the Chicago Park District had it fully conserved, the mural was moved to the auditorium of the River Park field house.

River Park is located at the convergence of the Chicago River and canal and offers a rich wildlife habitat, excellent fishing and a canoe launch. It has a swimming pool and an interactive water playground in the summer months.

The artificial turf soccer field and running track, as well as a soft-surface playground, draw visitors from around the city. The park also features seven tennis courts and two baseball fields.

2.Dam and Waterfall: Cross the river to the west side of the park and walk north to where the river splits. You will find the only dam and waterfall in the city of the Chicago. You will see what appears to be an abandoned little path in the bushes that line the river where it turns west after the dam. It is short, but interesting.

After you’ve explored the park, meander over to Lawrence and Sacramento to

3.Global Gardens, 2954 W. Lawrence: This empty lot was transformed into a vibrant farm where over 100 refugee families grow vegetables. This provides refugees access to fresh vegetables as well as reconnects displaced farmers with soil and food production. They also sell their vegetables at the Horner Park Farmers Market nearby. Visitors are welcome, so walk right in and look around. In addition to seeing thriving and abundant vegetable plots, you will notice gardeners of every race and nationality. You can enter through the main entrance on Sacramento, walk through and exit at a gate in the middle of the garden on Lawrence.

4.Ravenswood Manor: Ravenswood Manor is on the National Register of Historic Places because 96% of its buildings were constructed between 1909 and 1933 and are intact today. Ravenswood Manor represents architectural trends and urban residential neighborhood development in Chicago in the early 20th century. Chicago Bungalows and American Foursquares sit alongside high end architect designed, historic revival style residences. What also makes it so charming is its location along the river. Early brochures touted it as a “Motor Boat Colony” complete with a club house for the perpetual use of its residents. Resources for a more in depth look at this area are listed in Option 2.

5.Francisco Brown Line Station, 4648 N. Francisco : This station was built in 1907 and became the impetus for the development of Ravenswood Manor. It is all original except for its doors which needed to be widened to comply with ADA requirements. Ellen Harvey’s “Carpet” mosaic of hand cut marble on the ramp in and out of the station looks like an oriental carpet and it is a beautiful and welcoming transition into the community. The tracks are on grade and the station feels like a train stop in a small community. This is further enhanced by all the cute coffee and sandwich shops that sit right next to the station and patronized by commuters, residents and families.

Make your way back to Lawrence just west of the river. Cross Lawrence and enter Ronan Park. Take the wood chip path along the river and head north.

6.Ronan Park Restored in 2002, the Ronan Park includes 3 acres of naturalized river edge habitat along the North Branch of the Chicago River. A wood chip path in the park parallels the river, making Ronan Park a perfect spot for bird watching or a nature walk.

Across the river near Lawrence, you will notice a large, elegant, Art Deco building you might mistake for a fieldhouse. It is actually the North Branch Pumping station, a sewage pumping station built in 1929.

Ronan Park honors Ensign George Ronan, who died in the Fort Dearborn Massacre on August 15, 1812, when Potawatomi warriors routed the Federal forces at Chicago. Ronan was the first West Point graduate to fall in battle.

Optional Excursions:

1.North Park University, 3225 W. Foster: North Park University’s roots reach back to a Minneapolis church basement in 1891, where classes in language, and business gave Swedish immigrants the education and skills they needed to prosper in America. With an offer of land in Chicago, the school moved to the North Park neighborhood just beyond the city limits.

Old Main, the first building on campus, was completed in 1894. The Georgian Revival structure housed all departments of the school, from classrooms, library, and faculty offices to sleeping quarters, gymnasium, and dining room. In the Twenties, pilots used the cupola atop Old Main as a landmark by which to locate Orchard Field (now O’Hare International Airport). The cupola was the tallest point on the city’s north side.

From the beginning, North Park has expanded and adapted its educational mission to the times. At various points in its history, North Park was an academy, junior college, and four-year liberal arts college. They became a university, with a theological seminary, in 1997.

Campus facilities have been extensively renovated, including the LEED-certified Johnson Center for Science and Community Life, opened in 2014; the 2006 addition of the Helwig Recreation Center; the 2004 construction of the Holmgren Athletic Complex for football, softball, and baseball; and the 2001 construction of the Brandel Library.

We enjoyed walking this pretty and well maintained campus.

A Map of the University and more information can be found at their website: https://www.northpark.edu/

2.Ravenswood Manor Historic District: This historic district is shaded in pale green and will be interesting no matter where you roam within it. However, there are several walking tours of the district outlined on the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association website: http://ravenswoodmanor.com/walking-tours/. Also there is a listing of all the homes in the historic district in the National Historic Landmark application: http://ravenswoodmanor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NationalRegisterHistoricDistrictApplication.pdf

3.Cambodian Association 2831 W. Lawrence: A walk through the museum and memorial is very moving as the story of the Civil War in Cambodia, especially the Khmer Rouge Regime of 1975 – 1979, is told through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and artifacts.

Resources: Wikipedia, River Park, Ronan Park, Global Gardens, Cambodian Association of Illinois

East Side and Southeast Chicago

Length of Walk: The walking part takes you through the community area of East Side and totals 3 miles.

We’ve added a 15 mile drive of other highlights in the area with an emphasis on its industrial activity, past and present. This drive takes you through East Side, South Deering and the south end of South Chicago.

Where it is located:  This is walk #9 on the Walks Location Map

St. Simeon Orthodox Church
St. Simeon Orthodox Church

How we got there:  We drove, entered the Powers State Recreation Area, parked and started our walk of East Side. After our walk, we took the #30 bus back to Powers. We got our car, then drove the 15 miles add on route of more East Side, South Deering and South Chicago. You can check other public transportation options with the CTA Trip Planner.

William Powers State Park
William Powers State Park

Marge’s Comments:

This area fascinates me.

As a child, I remember driving through this area on family trips, awestruck at the sight of the gargantuan steel mills and their belching, smelly smokestacks. It was unthinkable they could ever disappear.

To visit this area today is equally awe inspiring in its transformation. Remnants of industry still remain, but green space, parks, family homes, and big aspirations for development are now the focus of the area.

Our walk will focus on life in the East Side community and our drive will highlight the area’s industry, past and present.

Old U.S. Steel South Works site awaiting redevelopment
Old U.S. Steel South Works site awaiting redevelopment

We were lucky to have personal tour guides for this walk!

Bobby Loncar, a lifelong resident and attorney, reached out to me after seeing our blog. He generously offered to give us a tour of East Side and is an energetic promoter of his community and its many attributes. He asked Christopher Rodriguez, a fellow lifelong resident, to join us for his perspective.

Bobby’s father emigrated here as a young boy from Croatia in 1968 and his mother emigrated here from Germany in 1980. He was born and raised in this neighborhood and is married, raising his own three children with his wife, a fellow long time resident of the community. Many of their relatives still live here, often just blocks away from them.

Christopher was raised in a Mexican and Irish household and is also a South sider for life. Even though he commutes 1.5 hours one way to his job up north, he cannot imagine living anywhere else. He has deep roots in the community and nowhere else would seem like home.

Both Bobby and Christopher lament that even though East Side has a lakefront park, forest preserve, state recreation area, abundant retail, affordable housing, reasonable real estate taxes, proximity to downtown (13 miles away) and a small town feel, the area does not get attention from potential residents and is overlooked as a residential choice. They work tirelessly to bring attention to these attributes and hope the day comes when their neighborhood gets “discovered’ by families and others looking for such qualities.

East Side House
East Side House

Ed’s Comments:

What is so unusual about East Side is that it is a small town hidden within Chicago. With a population of 23,000, many people know each other. Kids play safely and the modest homes are well kept. This community borders Indiana and is one minute from the Skyway and the casino.

Real estate taxes are some of the lowest I have seen anywhere in the state, including my depressed hometown of Decatur. There is a window of time when people will realize that this community is affordable, comfortable and easy to drive to with plenty of parks and outdoors. When the window closes, it might very well get gentrified. A very pleasant walk any time of the year.


 Printable PDF of the Walk and Drive: Chicago Neighborhood Walk SE Chicago

The Walk: 

Google map of walk area dotted line_edited-1

East Side

East side is one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago. It is located between the Calumet River and Indiana state line, just south of 95th St.

East Side, until recently, was socially and economically dominated by the Calumet River and the jobs it supported. The community got its name from the river because it was located on its east bank. The river formed the once-thriving industrial Port of Chicago. A cluster of riverside docks and slips allowed materials of all sorts to be loaded and unloaded onto adjacent railroad lines, and the river itself was lined with steel mills. Republic Steel began operations here in 1901. The Republic mill was the site of frequent union unrest, culminating in the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 and the successful drive by the United Steel Workers to organize the Chicago mills.

Many of the neighborhood’s residents during this period were families of Slovenia, Croatian and Serbian heritage, who had emigrated from Europe to work in the steel mills and take related jobs. In the 1950s, the East Side was divided in two by the Chicago Skyway. The riverside steel mills and heavy industries went into serious decline in 1970-2000, and are no longer the mainstay of the neighborhood.

Currently, there are proposed plans to expand East Side’s Calumet Park and Beach, and to extend the existing lakefront bicycle path to the proposed new lakefront parklands in adjacent South Chicago. This proposed future expansion of Chicago’s southern lakefront parklands will result in the connection of Calumet Park to Rainbow Beach, the South Shore Cultural Center, and Jackson Park.

  • From Wikipedia


Today, the area is largely Hispanic and residents work primarily as city workers, white collar or in non-production jobs.

Start your walk of East Side by pulling into William W. Powers State Recreation Area entrance at 126th and Avenue O, turn left once inside, and find a parking space close to access to the Burnham Greenway. Map Points:

  1. William Powers State Recreation Area

This is the only state park within Chicago. This park consists of 580 acres of which 419 are water. It encompasses Wolf Lake which provides outstanding fishing. It straddles the Illinois and Indiana state line. If you fish off the peninsula marked by 1A on the map and plan to fish on both sides of the bridge, you will need an Illinois and Indiana fishing license. Otherwise you can buy one license and fish only on that side of the bridge!

Once you’ve had your fill of the park, head to the westernmost part of the park and pick up the Burnham Greenway. The trailhead is on the left about 0.5 miles ahead along the park road. 

  1. Eggers Grove

The Burnham Greenway cuts through the western side of the forest preserve, but the day we walked was so beastly hot, we cut over into the forest preserve over a little boardwalk about half way into the preserve (at 114th St.). It was shadier and provided needed relief from the sun. We emerged in front of an open area with the Eggers Grove Comfort station, built in the 1930s,  which was locked (and undergoing restoration?), but there is a water fountain and port-a-potty. The preserve is part of the Cook County Forest Preserve System and Eggers Grove touts itself as,  “Right along the Illinois-Indiana border, 241 acre Eggers Grove is a rich, wet woodland, perfect for a picnic and games followed by a spring walk to see wildflowers and birds.”

From the Comfort Station, walk across the open field north to 112th St. Cross 112th to Avenue C

  1. Residences along Avenue C

Stroll along the neat and well-kept residences along Avenue C to get a feel of how people live in the neighborhood.

When you get to 106th Street, make a left (west) and walk through some area retail. There are many ice cream shops to enjoy! When you get to Ewing Ave., you can wait for the #30 bus on the northwest corner. There is more retail up and down Ewing Ave if you want to browse before the bus comes. Catch the bus and head back to the Powers Recreation Area to pick up your car.

The Southeast Chicago Drive to other Points of Interest

Walk and Drive 1

Leave the Powers Recreation Area and head to 130th street. Right before Route 94, you will see an exit on your right for S. Doty Ave. Take it and follow it to:

  1. Harborside International Golf Center

11001 South Doty Avenue East

The Port of Chicago consists of three facilities in this area: Iroquois Landing for ship cargo, Dougherty Harbor (terminals and harbor operations on Lake Calumet) and Harborside International Golf Center. There must be a story about how a Golf Center ended up in this industrial area run by the Port Authority, but I don’t know it! You can’t get into the Harbor operations, but as you make your way to the golf center, you will see glimpses through fencing. Once you get to the Golf Center, walk out to the back deck to view the golf courses as well as an expansive view of Lake Calumet and its terminals.

The Port of Chicago is run by the Illinois International Port District and under fire for underperforming in its management of this strategic asset. The City of Chicago has called for privatization and the Civic Federation has called for the dissolution and restructuring of the District, arguing that the District has no strategic vision or accountability.


  1. Trumbull Park Homes and Trumbull Park

106th and S. Bensley Ave.

The last of three Public Works Administration projects commissioned in Chicago as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, Trumbull Park Homes is arguably one of the CHA’s most historically significant buildings in its housing portfolio. Built in 1938, the development features a low-density design of two-story rowhouses and three-story apartment buildings spread out across 21-acres. Turmoil erupted in 1953, when the first Black families moved into Trumbull. Daily outbursts of rioting broke out and continued for more than seven months. From 1953 to 1957, sporadic acts of violence, including aerial bombs, riots and arrests, accompanied the move-in of black families. The subject made a 1954 issue of Time Magazine and spurred a march on city hall by the Chicago Negro Chamber of Commerce. – from the Chicago Housing Authority website


Trumbull Park (2400 E 105th St.) is located next door and features a classically-designed Beaux Arts fieldhouse built in 1914, as well as a magnificent stand of gingko trees in its central plaza. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


      3. Calumet Fisheries, 3259 E 95th St.

This famous fishery is known for smoking their own fish on site.


 3A. Blues Brothers Bridge 95th St. Bridge at Calumet River (US-12), Chicago IL

This is the scene of the famous “jump” over the drawbridge in The Blues Brothers movie.


  1. Skyway Doghouse 9480 S Ewing Ave

Another famous eatery whose specialty is hot dogs.


  1. Iroquois Landing

This is part of the Port of Chicago and one of the largest stevedoring (cargo loading and unloading off ships) sites in North America. You can’t get in here, but if you pull in the driveway on your left (north) off 95th street just after crossing Ewing and drive up to the gate you will get a glimpse through the fence of the massive cargo yard. Who knew this was here??? It has the same impact in its gargantuan presence as the steel mills once did!


  1. Calumet Park 9801 S. Avenue G 

This park is where it is happening in SE Chicago!! We’ve walked this park twice and it has been jam packed with activity both times. On the day we took the walk through East Side, it was so hot and humid that Powers Park and Eggers Grove had almost no visitors. Once we arrived in Calumet Park, we could barely drive. There were people everywhere. And for good reason. This lakeside park of 200 acres offers a beach, boat launch, softball, football, and soccer fields, picnic groves, playgrounds and a fieldhouse with extensive programs. As mentioned earlier, the proposed future expansion of Chicago’s southern lakefront parklands will result in the connection of Calumet Park to Rainbow Beach, the South Shore Cultural Center, and Jackson Park.


  1. Old U.S. Steel Southworks Steel Mill site

430 lakefront acres between 79th street and the Calumet River

Though a few remnants like old stone walls and tunnels remain on this property, the steel mill has been completely dismantled. Steelworkers Park exists on the east side of the southern portion and Park 566 is planned for the east side of the northern portion. A mega development project between U.S. Steel and McCaffery Interests slated for the balance of the 430 acres officially died this year after 12 years of planning.

U.S. Steel is now selling the property outright. DNA Info reports that, “The project is being rebranded as 8080 Lakeshore and Cushman and Wakefield have come in as the brokers. The group is marketing the land as close to Hyde Park and the future Barack Obama presidential library and the historic Pullman neighborhood, and are casting a wide net in search of industrial, research, entertainment, residential and mixed use projects.

The new division of the land creates three properties east of the Lake Shore Drive extension ranging in size from 56 to 135 acres. A fourth parcel west of Lake Shore Drive is 111 acres and is closer to neighboring South Chicago, but has no access to the three miles of lakeshore on the site.”

Additional resources: Steelworkers ParkFramework plan for Park 566Civic Federation Position on the Illinois International Port District, Latest plans for U.S. Steel South Works siteIndustrial History of SE Chicago, East Side 







Beverly and Morgan Park

Length of Walk: The main walk is 2.5 miles. There are 4 “Add Ons” you can add to the main walk which are about one block each. If you string them all together into one route you will walk about 7 miles. Alternately, you could drive to each “Add On” of interest and walk the individual block.

Where it is located: This walk will take you through the community areas of Beverly and Morgan Park. It is Walk #8 on the Walk Locations Map.

The Irish Castle in Beverly
The Irish Castle in Beverly

How we got there: We drove and parked on the street. There is free and plentiful street parking everywhere along this route. Metra has five train stops within a couple of blocks of the walk. You can check your options with the CTA Trip Planner.

Beverly on Pinterest
99th Street Beverly Metra Station

Marge’s Comments: Take this walk on a beautiful summer day when Beverly is at its best. Lush landscaping and beautiful homes on the ridge make you want to pack your bags and move here. The residents take pride in the rich history of the community which you will notice by all the historical plaques displayed prominently in the front yards. This was the hardest walk to edit and I hope you will use the resources below to read up on the area and add even more stops to your excursion. There is a cute little neighborhood cafe in the middle of your walk: Ellie’s Cafe. Stop here and enjoy watching the locals coming, going and socializing.

DNA Info Howard Ludwig
Griffin Prairie Style House DNA Info Howard Ludwig

Ed’s Comments: Many Chicagoans feel that the south side is scary and alien, a foreign place where the higher the street number the more dangerous.  Two steps into this enchanting neighborhood and you will realize how foolish this notion is.  Beverly competes with all the top suburbs for beauty, stateliness, and significance.  The drive out there takes a few minutes but the train ride is a breeze from the loop.  It is well worth the effort.

Printable PDF of the Walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk Beverly and Morgan Park

The Walk:

Beverly Final Map

Beverly and Morgan Park Walk

Like many of the community areas of Chicago, Beverly and Morgan Park developed in the late 1800s when rail service was extended to the area. Prior to European American settlement, the area was home to the Potawatomi Indians.

The natural beauty of its position on the ridge allowed the community to become an exclusive streetcar suburb, and the homes and large lots reflect this historic distinction. Beverly is located on the highest elevation in Chicago and is one of the most racially and diverse neighborhoods in the city. It is home to a large Irish-American/Catholic community and many Irish establishments. Its yearly South Side Irish Parade is the largest neighborhood parade of any type in the country.

The hilly terrain of the area is due to its location in the middle of the geological formation known as the Blue Island Ridge. In its early years, Beverly and Morgan Park were known as North Blue Island.

Beverly is one of the top five largest historic districts in any major city in the U.S.

–from Wikipedia

Because there is so much to see in this area and walking a continuous route among all them would total about 7 miles, I developed a base walk in the heart of the Longwood Historic District of 2.5 miles and itemized other “Add On” walks which you can add to your walk or drive to and walk the block listed.

Main Walk (From Ridge Historic District National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form and Chicago Landmarks )

The Chicago Designated Landmark of the Longwood Drive District: Unique in the city for its hilly topography, this narrow, 12 block long district is dominated by a natural ridgeline. Because it stood 50-80 feet above Lake Michigan and was often covered by a blue mist, the ridge was commonly referred to by early settlers as “blue island.” This community began as several separate suburban developments, which were annexed to Chicago around 1900. A rich mixture of architectural styles characterizes this district, ranging from the Italianate and Carpenter Gothics of the 1870s, to Queen Anne and Shingle (1880s and 90s) to Prairie School and Renaissance Revival (early 20th century)

1.) 9914 S. Longwood

Built in 1909 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright

2.) 10244 S. Longwood                       Irish Castle

Built in 1886 for $ 80,000 by developer Robert C. Givins

The castle of native Joliet limestone is a replica of a castle on the River Dee in Ireland. It has been occupied by the Unitarian Church since the early 1940’s

3.) 10400 S. Longwood                   Anderson House

The house was owned for many years by John S. McKinlay, president of Marshall Field and Co. It is now the official residence of the president of Chicago State University.

4.) 10432 S. Longwood

Home of S.E. Thomason, a noted newspaperman and co-founder in 1928 of the Daily Times, Chicago’s first tabloid newspaper.

 5.) 10224 S. Seeley              Le Bosquet House

One of several architecturally significant homes on Seeley

6.) 10235 S. Seeley

One of several architecturally significant homes on Seeley


Add On #1 (From Ridge Historic District National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form)

What is here: Really old, historic and architecturally interesting homes in a secluded, pleasant neighborhood

A.) 91st at Pleasant                   Vincennes Trail

A boulder and bronze marker were placed in 1928 at the point where the Vincennes Trail descended the ridge approaching Fort Dearborn. The Trail, originally a major Indian trail, was one of the most important roads leading into Chicago and played a substantial role in the city’s early development.

B.) 9167 S. Pleasant                 Henry Belding House                 Built 1893

Henry Belding was a prominent manufacturer connected with the soap company of the same name. This also marks the site of the “Upwood” farm of Thomas Morgan, one of the area’s original settlers. Stones from the farm’s sheepcote were used in constructing the present home.

C.) 9203 S. Pleasant                     M.R. French House

W.M.R. French was prominent in artistic circles in the city and one of the first directors of the Chicago Art Institute. A frieze on the porch is by his brother, David-Chester French, designer of the Washington Monument.

D.) 9319 S. Pleasant

From 1897 until 1910, the home of John H. Vanderpoel (1857-1911), a noted painter and teacher. Vanderpoel was head of the instruction department at the Art Institute of Chicago, author of the standard instructional work The Human Figure, and a member of the British Royal Academy. A street, school, and public art museum in the district are named in his honor.

E.) 9326 S. Pleasant                                      Jessie M. Adams House

Built in 1900 by architect Frank Lloyd Wright


Add on #2: Walter Burley Griffin Place District (from Chicago Landmarks and Ridge Historic District  National Register of Historic Place Inventory Nomination Form)

The largest concentration of small-scale, Prairie-style houses in Chicago. Seven of these residences were designed by Walter Burley Griffin, an architect who began his career with Frank Lloyd Wright. An eighth Prairie-style house was designed by Spencer and Powers. So-called “builders’ houses,” which were constructed by contractors from plans popularized in building magazines of the same period, complete the street.

A.) 1736 W. 104th Place                      Walter D. Salmon House

Built in 1912-13 for Samuel J. Wells by architect Walter Burley Griffin. Wells was R.L. Blount’s (builder of the Griffin Houses in this district) father-in-law. Salmon rented the house until purchasing in 1917.

B.) 1724 W. 104th Place                           Russell L. Blount House I

Built in 1910-11 for R. L. Blount by architect Walter Burley Griffin

Blount worked in real estate for the Continental Bank and also built and sold homes on his own. He was responsible for all but one of the extant Griffin houses in the district.

C.) 1712 W. 104th Place                            Edmund C. Garrity House

Built in 1909-10 for R.L. Blount by architect Walter Burley Grifffin

Blount originally intended the house as his own residence but sold it before completion to Garrity, president of the National Plumbing and Heating Co.

D.) 1666 W. 104th Place                            Harry G. Van Nostrand House

Built in 1911 for R. L. Blount to plans by architect Walter Burley Griffin.

Van Nostrand was a salesman who rented the house before purchasing it in 1916.

E.) 1727 W. 104th Place                            Arthur G. Jenjinson House

Built in 1912 for R. L. Blount to plans by architect Walter Burley Griffin


Add On # 3: (From Ridge Historic District National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form)

What is here: These old historic homes are in Morgan Park and this stop gives you a little feel for Morgan Park and its history.

A.) 10956 S. Prospect                                 Thomas Lackore House

Built in 1870-72; much altered

Thomas Lackore was a relative of the area’s first permanent settler, DeWitt Lane, and scion of the Lackore family prominent in the early settlement of the ridge.

B.) 10934 S. Prospect                           W. Ferguson House

Built ca. 1871

Ferguson was president of the Lancaster Insurance Company. The second owner, Henry Crosman, was a prominent Chicago industrialist and one of the founders of the Chicago Opera Co.

C.) 10924 S. Prospect                          William H. German House

Built in 1884; since extensively remodeled

Dr. German was the first physician in Morgan Park and one of the village’s most prominent citizens.

D.) 10910 S. Prospect                              Ingersoll (I.S. Blackwelder) House

Built in 1866; extensive additions in 1877

Blackwelder was president of the Niagara Insurance Company, which adjusted many losses from the Great Fire of 1871, and president of the village of Morgan Park. His wife was very active in local affairs and was the first woman to vote in an election in Cook County.

E.) 10900 S. Prospect                            S. Dickey House

Built in 1912 by architects Chatten and Hammond

The house is sited on a four acre lot, largest in the historic district and one of the largest residential lots in the city.


Add On # 4: From Chicago Landmarks

American System Built Houses:  Based on his long term interest in affordable housing, influential architect Frank Lloyd Wright developed a series of prefabricated housing designs marketed under the name “American System Built Houses.” The building at A. 10410 S. Hoyne was erected by Burhans-Ellinwood & Co. as the model home for a subdivision to be comprised of these residences (1917). The only other Wright designed house to be built, before the project was abandoned at the outset of WWI, is at B. 10541 S. Hoyne (1917). It was built for H. Howard Hyde, a cashier at International Harvester.

It is believed that about 25 System-Built Homes were constructed, but only 15 survive. New ones are discovered occasionally, not surprising when you consider Wright and his partner had a falling out over fees and commissions and Wright’s plans could have been used and undocumented to avoid paying him his fees. They can be found in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.

Resources: The Ridge Historic District National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form which gives a detailed history of the area and a listing of 62 historic sites, Beverly Area Planning Association Self Guided Tour , More on Walter Burley Griffin, American System Built Homes






Length of Walk: 3.6 miles (about a two hour walk)

Where it is located: This walk is in the Kenwood Community area of Chicago. It is Walk #5 on the Walk Locations Map.

McGill House, Hyde Park Herald
McGill House, Hyde Park Herald

How we got there: We drove and parked near S. Drexel Blvd. and E. 49th Street. Street Parking is available. You can check out your public transportation options at: CTA Trip Planner

Old Postcard of Drexel Blvd. Chuckman's Photos
Old Postcard of Drexel Blvd. Chuckman’s Photo

Marge’s Comments: What I felt was most special about this walk were the stories about all the prominent Chicagoans who once lived here.  It was so interesting to find out why the names Ryerson, Swift, Blackstone and Rosenwald are seen on buildings and plaques around town. As you stand outside their former homes you feel connected to their history of achievement and generosity. Block after block of impressive homes and architecture has earned this part of Kenwood its own designation as a historical district on the National Register of Historic Places.


Old Pic of school children in Drexel Fountain Hyde Park Herald

Ed’s Comments: When you see this paradise nestled in the South Side of Chicago, you won’t believe your eyes. These stately blocks, rich in history, are a delight of pleasant surprises. The walk takes so long because you stop constantly to learn and adore.


Printable PDF of the walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk Kenwood

Kenwood rev 1

The Kenwood Walk 

The first resident of Kenwood was John Kennicott who named his home Kenwood after his ancestral land in Scotland. When the Illinois Central built a small depot in the area, they named the station Kenwood and eventually the area became known as Kenwood. Kenwood developed between 1850 and 1880 as a pleasant respite from the congestion of the city. Kenwood became home to many of Chicago’s most prominent citizens and was referred to as the “Lake Forest of the South Side.” It was annexed to Chicago in 1889.

The Historical Kenwood District is on the National Register of Historic Places as are some of its most notable homes. Architectural styles ranging from Italianate and Colonial Revival to Queen Anne and Prairie School can be found here.

Drive to E. 48th Street and Drexel Boulevard and look for a place to park along Drexel Boulevard or nearby. Walk south down the boulevard on the west side of the boulevard and take in the homes on the way to your first stop.

1.) 4938 S. Drexel Blvd., McGill House

1891   Henry Ives Cobb, Architect

One of the grandest mansions in the Kenwood community, the McGill House is a commanding presence on Drexel Boulevard, one of Chicago’s most impressive South-Side boulevards. The massively-scaled “picturesque” mansion was constructed in 1891 as the residence of physician and entrepreneur Dr. John A. McGill. Drawing inspiration from medieval and French Renaissance building traditions, the McGill House, designed by nationally noted architect Henry Ives Cobb, is an exceptional early example of Châteauesque-style architecture. Following the completion of the McGill House, Cobb was instrumental in the planning of the campus of the University of Chicago and the design of eighteen of the campus’s striking Gothic structures in the nearby Hyde Park neighborhood. Cobb’s skillful execution of traditional designs made him an outstanding architect in Chicago during the late 19th century and earned him a national reputation as one of the premier architects working during this period in historic revivalist styles. Besides the University of Chicago buildings, he also designed the Newberry Library, the (recently restored) Chicago Athletic  Club at 12 S. Michigan and the Harry Caray Restaurant Building on Kinzie.

In 1928 the house became the Carrie McGill Memorial YWCA Building. At that time a three story limestone addition, in a simplified version of the Châteauesque style, was added to the rear of the McGill House, forming a “T” in plan. Respectfully set back from the main residence, the addition was designed by architects Berlin & Swern.  Today the house is home to 34 Condominiums.

(from The Chicago Landmark Designation Report on McGill House)

2.) Drexel Blvd and E. Hyde Park Blvd in Drexel Square: Francis M. Drexel Memorial Fountain

1881  Henry Manger, Sculptor

The oldest public sculpture in Chicago, the figure at the top of this elaborate fountain represents Francis M. Drexel (1792-1863), Austrian-born banker, real estate speculator and founder of brokerage house Drexel and Company, based in Philadelphia. Although Drexel did not live in Chicago, he owned land in the city that he came by through a foreclosure and donated a portion to be used as a boulevard bearing his name. Drexel’s two sons, Francis A. and Anthony J. Drexel, commissioned Henry Manger, a Philadelphia sculptor from Germany, to create this $40,000 bronze and granite monument. The four bronze bas-relief panels feature the god of oceans, Neptune, riding a dolphin, as well as other figures representing lakes, rivers and springs. In 1888, the Drexel brothers funded the addition of jets to allow water to run continuously in the fountain.

Following a series of restorations over the decades, the fountain suffered neglect and was inoperable until the early 2000s, when the Chicago Department of Transportation and Public Building Department performed the repairs necessary to allow the water to flow again.

(from http://chicagopublicart.blogspot.com/)

3.) Hyde Park Blvd at the base of the green median on Drexel Blvd

There is an interesting sign about the Boulevards of Chicago, including Drexel Blvd.

4.) 930 E. 50th, Rainbow Push Coalition

This building was built in the 1920s, but I couldn’t find any history on it, despite its impressive presence on the boulevard.

 5.) 4851 S. Drexel Blvd., Martin Antoine Ryerson House and Coach House

1887; Treat and Foltz, architects

Of those men and women whose contributions to the civic life of Chicago have had a profound and lasting effect, Martin A. Ryerson is rightly placed in the very forefront. Unquestionably among the commercial leaders of the city—the Corn Exchange National Bank, Northern Trust Company, and Elgin National Watch Company were among his directorships—it was in education and art that he was most significant: most probably neither the University of Chicago nor the Art Institute of Chicago would be what they are had it not been for him.

He was one of the University’s most important early benefactors. His efforts on behalf of the Art Institute were, if possible, even more significant. He gave his entire collection, one of the most wide ranging in the nation, to the museum. Despite innumerable subsequent gifts and purchases, the Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection retains the core of the Art Institute’s holdings.

The French Impressionist Paintings seen today at the Art Institute once hung on the walls of this house.

(from: National Register of Historic Places)

6.) 4801 S. Drexel Blvd., Moses Born Residence

1901; Frost and Granger, architects

Moses Born, a native of Germany, came to Chicago in 1876 and engaged in the retail clothing business. In 1877, he began the firm of M. Born and Co., wholesale tailors “to the trade.” The house is covered in smooth-faced limestone.

(from: National Register of Historic Places)

7.) 4848 S. Ellis Ave., Gustavus Franklin Swift House

1898; Flanders and Zimmerman, architects

This meatpacker’s palazzo features sweeping verandas, Palladian windows, and at each corner of the third floor, a terra cotta lion bearing a shield emblazoned with a huge S. (from AIA Guide to Chicago)

Gustavus F. Swift, one of the great figures in the business world, not only of Chicago, but of the nation, came to the city in 1875 as the cattle buyer for the Boston firm of Hathaway and Swift. Two years later, he entered the packing business on his own, and, by 1880, had opened eastern markets to western dressed beef through his pioneering use of refrigerator cars. The result was a revolution, not only at Chicago’s Union Stock Yards, but in the nation’s whole business of supplying perishable food products. By 1918 Swift and Co. was second in volume among the nation’s businesses, exceeded only by U.S. Steel.

Aside from his importance in the development of American industry, Gustavus Swift was also a philanthropist of at least local significance. Among the recipients of his generosity were Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the Hyde Park Y.M.C.A.

(from National Register of Historic Places)

Another notable home is on the NE Corner of 49th and Ellis (4849 S. Ellis Ave.), just across from the Swift and Rosenwald homes. The interior was filmed as Kelsey Grammar’s house in “Boss”, a TV show about a Chicago mayor that aired from 2011-2012 and only ran two seasons.


8.) 4901 S. Ellis Ave., Julius Rosenwald House and Coach House

1903; Nimmons and Fellows, architects

The outlines of the career of Julius Rosenwald can only begin to indicate the enormous influence he had on Chicago and the nation. He came to Chicago in 1885 and joined Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1895, acquiring a half interest in the company. Closely identified with the rise of the mail order firm and personally responsible for much of its rapid growth, he was its president from 1910 until 1925, when he became chairman of the board.

Important as Julius Rosenwald was in the development of American merchandising techniques, his significance as a philanthropist cannot be termed secondary. He gave the University of Chicago $5 million in his lifetime, and many, many millions to housing and education in the disadvantaged rural south. One of his last gifts also produced one of the most visible monuments to his charity: an initial $3 million to restore the World’s Columbian Exposition Palace of Fine Arts and establish it as an industrial museum. Those millions finally swelled to $7.5 million and gave Chicago the Museum of Science and Industry.

(from National Register of Historic Places)

Regarding the house: “Apart from such Prairie School elements as the hipped roof and Roman brick, it’s otherwise a grand, styleless galoot.”  (from AIA Guide to Chicago)

9.) 1030 E. 50th Street, Ezra S. Brainerd House

1867, Architect Unknown

Built by a Civil War soldier with his mustering-out money, this back lot frame house with an extensive veranda evokes Kenwood’s era as a community of lakefront cottages.

(from AIA guide to Chicago)

10.)   4944 S. Woodlawn Ave., Muhammad Ali House

Muhammad Ali, the famous heavy weight boxer, once lived here to be closer to his spiritual mentor, Elijah Muhammad.

11.)   4855 S. Woodlawn Ave.,  Former home of Elijah Muhammad, Current home of Louis Farrakhan

12.)   4858 S. Kenwood Ave., George Blossom House

1892, Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

To supplement his salary, Wright began taking on independent commissions in violation of his five-year contract with Louis Sullivan. Known as the “bootleg houses,” these early designs typically reflect historical architectural styles, yet exhibit elements that would manifest themselves fully in Wright’s mature Prairie style. Reflecting the nineteenth-century taste for academic Colonial Revival design, the George Blossom house is nearly symmetrical in plan. A library, reception room, and living room radiate from a hall, and Palladian windows are distributed evenly across the first floor of the western elevation. A semi-circular conservatory at the rear of the building echoes the covered, columned porch at its front. Despite the Colonial design of the exterior, interior elements, such as the centrally located fireplace framed by an inglenook, also appear in Wright’s more progressive designs. (From Frank Lloyd Wright Trust)

13.)   4852 Kenwood Ave., Warren McArthur House

1892 Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

The McArthur house was designed as a “bootleg” project for Wright’s friend, Warren McArthur, and his family. Wright built the house at age 24, moonlighting for some extra cash to support his new family. Its dormered gambrel roof and octagonal bays are reminiscent of the Queen Anne style, as well as the architecture of Joseph Lyman Silsbee, Wright’s former employer. Wright had a longstanding relationship with the McArthur family. Warren McArthur’s eldest son, Albert, eventually became an architect. He apprenticed under Wright at the Oak Park Studio from 1907 to 1909 and is well known for his design of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. (from Frank Lloyd Wright Trust)

In 2013, Col. Jennifer Pritzker wanted to buy this house and the Blossom House next door, restore them and turn them into bed and breakfast houses. There was some vocal opposition in the community and the deal never happened.

14.)    4904 S. Lake Park Avenue, Blackstone Library

1904 Solon S. Beman, Architect

The Blackstone Library is a stately Classical Revival-style building designed by Chicago architect Solon S. Beman, the noted designer of the industrial town of Pullman. It was presented as a gift to the city by Isabel Norton Blackstone in honor of her late husband, Timothy Beach Blackstone, a Chicago railroad executive and philanthropist. It was the first Chicago Public Library branch. Timothy Blackstone died of pneumonia in 1900 at the age of 71 at his home on S. Michigan Avenue. The home was at the present-day location of the Blackstone Hotel, and the hotel’s name memorializes Blackstone. In addition to his executive position with the railroad, Blackstone was one of the incorporators and first president of the Chicago Union Stockyards.

Architect Solon S. Beman’s design for the Blackstone Library draws from Classical and Italian Renaissance precedents. The domed rotunda at the Blackstone Library provides a formal and grand entrance to the interior; the space retains its Classical-style floor mosaics, marble-clad walls and columns, and domed ceiling with murals. (From Chicago Landmark Designation Report)

15.) East Madison Park Avenue

This street along the official Kenwood/Hyde Park border is one of just a few private residential parkways in Chicago. All buildings overlook the green parkway and the neighborhood feels very “tucked away” from the city.

16.)  5132  S. Woodlawn Ave., Isidore Heller House

1896   Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect

As the 1890s came to a close Wright experimented with several elongated building plans that connected a series of distinct spaces along a continuous axis. The designs were markedly different from the square plans that characterized Wright’s earlier houses, and helped shape the plans of Wright’s mature Prairie buildings.

The Isidore Heller house occupies a long, narrow lot in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Conforming to the irregular shape of the lot, the plan is arranged along a horizontal axis that extends back from the building’s street façade. The horizontal emphasis of the design is countered by the vertical form of the building which incorporates a substantial third floor playroom and servants’ rooms. The arcaded exterior of the third floor displays a frieze of classically-garbed maidens adapted from Wright’s cover design for the Eve of St. Agnes, published by his friend and client William Winslow in 1896. The sculpture was executed by Wright’s frequent collaborator, Richard Bock, who designed integral sculptural elements for several of Wright’s most important Prairie buildings, including the Dana and Martin houses, and the Larkin Administration building. (From Frank Lloyd Wright Trust)

Follow the red line on the map back to your car and enjoy viewing more of the stately and architecturally significant homes of Kenwood.

If you are a member of Map My Walk, here is the link to send map to your phone: Kenwood Route

Additional Resources: McGill House, Blackstone Library, Hyde Park Kenwood National Historic District Listing (NOTE: the Historic District Listing has many, many more area listings than I cover in this small tour.)



West Ridge

Length of Walk: 3.46 miles (about a two hour walk)

Where it is located: West Ridge is one of the 77 Community Areas of Chicago. It is directly west of Rogers Park and is often referred to as West Rogers Park. It is marked by number 4 on the Walks Location Map.

Indian Boundary Park
Indian Boundary Park Fieldhouse

How we got there: We drove and parked on Lunt Avenue across from the first stop on the walk, Indian Boundary Park at 2500 W. Lunt. You can also check for public transportation options at CTA Trip Planner.

BungalowsMarge’s Comments: I was lucky enough to come upon an architectural walking tour of the Rogers Park Manor Historic Bungalow District that I used in this walk. Bungalows are ubiquitous in Chicago, yet I never knew much about their evolution or role in the history of Chicago. There are still 80,000 bungalows in Chicago or 1/3 of its existing single family housing stock! The walk through the bungalows is fascinating and informative. You will be in for a bit of culture shock when you emerge from the quiet residential bungalow neighborhoods and onto the corridor of Devon Avenue known as Little India. Make sure to browse in the grocery store or grab a bite to eat to soak up the full experience. This walk has you going from the most quintessential Chicago neighborhood to its most foreign in under 5 minutes. Where else can you change countries that quickly?


Devon Ave 1Ed’s Comments: 

I call this the Indian cookie walk.   It starts  with the Indian Boundary Park and ends with the Indian restaurants on Devon.  In between is a rich filling of some of the best beautiful bungalows Chicago has to offer. Safe, clean, interesting, and pleasant; it has it all.


Printable PDF of the Walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk West Ridge

The Walk:

West Ridge Map

West Ridge Walk

West Ridge was inhabited by Pottawatomie Indians in the 17th century. German and Scandinavian farmers settled and farmed here during the 1830s and 1840s. Chicago annexed the area in 1893. Development took off in the 1920s following the establishment of a street car line to this part of the city and in response to the unprecedented demand for housing at the end of WWI.

This walk takes you through two National Register Historic Districts: Rogers Park Manor and Talman West Ridge. The districts were so designated because of their collection of bungalows built between 1919 and 1930.

The bungalow was designed as a practical, efficient and affordable form of housing that allowed many to participate in the American Dream of home ownership. The bungalow is part of Chicago’s history and its legacy is the more than 80,000 bungalows or 1/3 of the city’s single family housing stock that still stands today.

Between 1920 and 1929 over 22 nationalities (predominately European) were represented in West Ridge. Today, Jewish, Indian, South Asian, Hispanic and Black comprise a little over half of the ethnic makeup of West Ridge. The corridor of Devon Avenue known as “Little India” is one of the largest and most well-known Indian communities in the United States, with many Indian restaurants, shops and markets.

There is street parking on Lunt Ave., right in front of Indian Boundary Park.

1.) 2500 W. Lunt Ave., Indian Boundary Park

Indian Boundary is named after a territorial boundary established by the Treaty of 1816 between the Pottawatomie Indians and U.S. Government. The 1929 Tudor Revival fieldhouse features Native American themed ornament inspired by the park’s name. After a devastating fire in 2012, the building was restored and continues to exhibit Indian motifs throughout. In 2005, Indian Boundary Fieldhouse was designated a Historical Landmark by the City of Chicago and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Items 2 – 15 on this walk were taken from the Walking Tour, Rogers Park Manor, by the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association.

 2.) 2501 W. Lunt Ave., Jumbo Bungalow

This 1926 bungalow mansion, or “Jumbo Bungalow,” by the architectural firm Dewey & Pavlovich is an example of the transition from the economically designed bungalows of the early 1920s to the more extravagant bungalows of the late 1920s. As more white-collar families took interest in Rogers Park Manor, housing prices rose, and the form of the Chicago bungalow transformed. Bungalows built in the neighborhood after 1925 often featured rounded or polygonal front bays, inconspicuous corner or side entrances, and more costly details like art glass windows, carved limestone, and ceramic tile roofs. The metal and stained glass marquee above the entrance is an unusual detail that can only be found on a few bungalows in Rogers Park Manor. In the 1930s and 1940s, Harry Spanjer, who won gold and silver medals in boxing at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, lived in this house with his three sons and housekeeper.

3.) 2553 W. Lunt Ave., Home of Joe Aiello

Known gangster Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Aiello, lived with his extended family in this two-story home until his murder in 1930. The Aiello clan was the principal rival of Al Capone for alcohol bootlegging in the north side of Chicago in 1927. Joe Aiello’s son, Tony, was among those sought in the murder of rival gangster ‘Big Tim’ Murphy, who also lived in the district at 2525 West Morse Avenue.

4.) 2620 W. Coyle, Last Bungalow Built in the District

The Stock Market Crash of 1929 brought an end to the 1920s building boom that had fostered the evolution of the Chicago bungalow. Just weeks before the crash, the last Chicago bungalow to be built in Rogers Park Manor was completed on September 24, 1929. Edward Reynolds’ bungalow, which he resided in, represents the climax of bungalow building in the district. The only true rounded bay in the district, uninterrupted by corners or piers, completed the trend from rectangular and one-dimensional to rounded and multi-dimensional.

5.) And 6.) 2450 and 2453 W. Coyle Ave., Experiments in Bungalow Design

John J. Gubbins and Allan McDonald of the development firm Gubbins & McDonald lived across from each other in these two Mediterranean inspired bungalows they built in 1925. Gubbins, the business owner, lived at 2450 W. Coyle with his wife and young daughter, and McDonald, the builder, lived at 2453 W. Coyle also with his wife and young daughter. The duo, whose office was near the northeast corner of the district at Lunt and Western Avenues, contributed some of the first innovative bungalow designs to Rogers Park Manor. Gubbins’ home, with its second floor sleeping porch and hidden side entryway, shows architect Lyman Allison’s willingness to experiment with the standard form of the Chicago bungalow. On the other hand, McDonald’s home, which was built together with its nearly identical neighbor at 2449 W. Coyle, was a radical departure from the accepted form of the Chicago bungalow.

7.)  2416, 2418, 2422 W. Morse Ave.,  Late Bruns Bungalows 

Benedict Bruns was the most prolific bungalow architect in the Rogers Park Manor district, contributing a total of 47 homes. His earlier square-front bungalows were practical with modest ornamentation. In 1925, Bruns designed 16 bungalows, 13 of which were some of the earliest in the district to feature polygonal front bays. Bruns’ bungalows were also among the first in the district with more developed ornamentation, featuring various brick patterns, limestone detailing, and leaded art glass windows. In 1928, Bruns designed these three elaborate bungalows, which represent the completion of not only Bruns’ progression in the district, but also the progression of the bungalow building trend in Rogers Park Manor: breaking the mold of the early practical bungalows, but quickly fashioning another more elaborate mold to replace it.

8.)  2441, 2443 and 2447 W. Morse Ave., Early Bruns Bungalows

These three bungalows designed by Benedict Bruns are typical examples of the early form of the Chicago bungalow in the Rogers Park Manor district. Chicago bungalows built in the district before 1925 exhibit the same features with few exceptions: flat or slightly projecting front bays, groups of standard double hung windows, recessed corner or side entrances, and minimal geometric limestone detailing. These early bungalows in the district followed a simple, economical formula. Like most Chicago bungalow architects, Bruns relied on horizontal emphasis to connect his bungalows to the surrounding landscape through the use of low-lying rooflines, expansive eaves, grouped windows, and brick and limestone detailing. These three bungalows, which cost $7,000 and $8,000, were pricier than the average cost for simple formulaic bungalows—between $5,000 and $6,500.

9.)  2501 W. Morse Ave., First Chicago Bungalow in the District

In the fall of 1922, Swedish-immigrant contractor Arvid Nelson built for his family the first Chicago bungalow in the district. Features such as the arched entryway, broad overhanging eaves, painted red cement tile roof, and complementary mottled green and red face brick give character to the simply shaped bungalow. But it was the simple form that set the standards for the first wave of bungalow building in Rogers Park Manor.

 10.)  2525 W. Morse Ave., Home of Big Tim Murphy

The first owner of this late Bruns bungalow was known gangster Timothy ‘Big Tim’ Murphy. On June 26, 1928, he was shot and killed in front of his bungalow by four gunmen. The funeral was a large-scale affair, with attendees filling the street in front of his house to watch as Big Tim’s casket was carried out.

11.) 2524 , 2530, 2534, 2538, 2540 & 2544 W. Morse Ave., Mediterranean and Spanish Revival Bungalows

The six bungalows in this row by Gubbins & McDonald and W. C. Wright were some of the first innovative bungalow designs to be built in the district. Even a couple years earlier, the form of the bungalow at 2534 W. Morse can be seen elsewhere in the district—at the northeast corners of Farwell and Washtenaw, and Coyle and Rockwell—with double gables and a side porch and entryway. The six bungalows are modest examples of the Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Revival styles that were mostly popular among builders of much larger homes in the district.

12.) 2557 W. Farwell, Home of Edward Zeches, Mediterranean Revival

Edward Zeches significantly contributed to the architectural landscape of Rogers Park Manor, and even chose to settle in the neighborhood. Instead of upscale bungalow living, however, he chose an even more extravagant Mediterranean Revival home (the most expensive home built in the district). During the bungalow boom of the 1920s, the secondary building trend of Romantic Revival styles guided the construction of larger single family homes in Rogers Park Manor. The primarily Tudor Revival and Mediterranean Revival homes were often built on more spacious corner lots, accenting but not interrupting the smaller scale bungalow housing on interior lots. Many of these larger homes were built by the same architects and developers who were building Chicago bungalows; and the case is true here with bungalow architects Dewey & Pavlovich. Zeches’ home is not only a notable example of terra cotta tile roofs, but the house is entirely clad in terra cotta.

13.) 2539 W. Farwell Ave., Square Front Bungalow

This 1925 bungalow is an example of early enlarged front rooms in the district’s bungalows. Early projecting bays like this one were contained under the main roofline of the house and projected only slightly from the bungalow’s primary rectangular massing. The shape of these early projecting bays was square as opposed to the polygonal and rounded front bays that later grew in popularity. Also typical of this bungalow subtype, the deeply recessed side entrance accommodates the enlarged bay which takes over the entire front of the house.

14.) 2434 and 2436 W. Farwell Ave., Arts and Crafts in Chicago Bungalows

The influence of the Arts & Crafts on the form of the Chicago bungalow can really be seen at these two early homes by Lyman Allison, who was responsible for 26 bungalows in the district. The covered corner porches are a more direct approach to the Arts & Crafts ideal of bringing the outdoors in. Allison’s corner porches would later be appropriated by other prolific architects in Rogers Park Manor, particularly Benedict Bruns. More common methods of connecting bungalows to the surrounding landscape can also be seen in this pair: low-lying rooflines, broad overhanging eaves, generous grouped windows, built-in planter brackets below the windows, and an overall horizontal emphasis. 2434 W. Farwell’s battered stone post is an Arts & Crafts influenced feature unique among Chicago bungalows.

15.) 2432 W. Farwell Ave., Early Chicago Bungalow

Arvid Nelson, the first Chicago bungalow developer in the district, built this quintessential square-front Chicago bungalow with a recessed corner entrance. It stands in marked contrast to its neighbors at 2434 and 2436 W. Farwell even though the three bungalows went up at the same time. Bungalows in Rogers Park Manor were built one at a time or in small groups of no more than five by dozens of architects and builders, as opposed to more rigidly planned bungalow neighborhoods in which homes were built in large groups. Therefore, the great diversity among the district’s bungalow stock is not only due to the late-1920s transformation the form of the Chicago bungalow underwent, but also to this building pattern. Despite the variety, the district maintains a sense of uniformity due to the prominence of 1 ½ story brick bungalows with common features such as low-pitched roofs, broad overhanging eaves, offset entrances, grouped windows, and limestone detailing.

Cross Pratt and walk down Talman Ave. to Devon Ave. This is the heart of the Talman West Ridge Bungalow Historic District.

16.)  Devon Avenue     Walk around and take in the sights in “Little India”. Here are some good places to check out:

      A.) 2616 W. Devon, Regal Trader: Indo-Pakistani fabrics, clothing and bedding

      B.) 2610 W. Devon, Patel Bros Grocery: Are we still in Chicago?

      C.) 2536 W. Devon, Tiffin: Popular restaurant

      D.) 2439 W. Devon, Hema’s Kitchen: Popular restaurant


17.) 6601 N Western Ave., Warren Park

This park was once a private country club and was saved as open space from developers by a vocal group of residents and the help of then governor, Richard Ogilvie in 1969. With almost 90 acres of land, this Chicago Park is the largest in the North Region.  Some of the stately old homes along Pratt Blvd. across from the Park were built by members when the property was still a private club so they could be close to the club and the golf course.

If you are a member of Map My Walk, here is the link to send map to your phone: West Ridge Walk 

Additional Resources: What is a Chicago Bungalow?  Current National Register Chicago Bungalow Historic Districts





Little Village

Length of Walk: 3.73 miles (about a two hour walk)

Where it is located: Little Village is a neighborhood in the South Lawndale Community Area. It is marked by number 3 on the Walk Location Map.

Little Village Arch

How we got there:   We drove and parked on Marshall Blvd. (see map below) or you can plan your trip on public transportation here: CTA Trip Planner


Murals and shrines Little Village
Murals and shrines in Little Village

Comments from Marge: This is one of the most unique walks you will take in Chicago. When most hear of the location “26th and California” thoughts instantly go to the large Cook County Criminal Courthouse and crime. South Lawndale’s violent and property crime is lower than where I live, in the Near North community area. In addition, Little Village is a featured neighborhood on the Chicago Tourism website “Choose Chicago” , the official destination marketing organization for Chicago. With that out of the way (and you can always check the latest crime stats at the Chicago Trib),  I hope you will make it a point to visit here.

Cermak house
Anton Cermak’s House

Little Village is truly authentic in its Mexican ethnicity. Hipsters, art galleries and trendy restaurants have not yet invaded the neighborhood. Storefronts display pinatas and quinceanera dresses, homes have shrines in their front yards and murals adorn many building facades. Remnants of the area’s history before Mexican immigrants started arriving in the 80’s can be seen in a Prairie style field house or the homes of former famous residents, Anton Cermak (former mayor of Chicago) and John Shedd (for whom Shedd Aquarium is named). One of the most interesting aspects of this neighborhood is the imposing Cook County Criminal Courthouse and Jail. On one visit, we took a wrong turn and ended up walking around the entire complex. It left an impression! That is another very unique opportunity this walk can provide if you want to take the time.


Little Village dressesComments from Ed: I call this walk one of our Deep Tracks.   Like an overlooked song on a hit record album, this area is misleading.  Only by walking these streets can you connect with the vitality of Chicago life today. When you walk 26th street you are more in Mexico than America.  It is a safe and stimulating area for the curious and open minded.  The justice complex at 26th and California is the scene of millions of criminal justice dramas.   Due its function, it, too, is very safe.   Stand across the street and see humanity struggle with crime, poverty, and disadvantage.  It is hard to remain unchanged.  There is also rich Chicago history on this walk.   For a Chicago native or die-hard urban explorer, this may be your favorite walk.   It’s one of ours.



Printable PDF of this walk: Chicago Neighborhood Walk Little Village

The Walk: 

Map 2 041816


Little Village Walk

Little Village is a neighborhood centered on 26th St. in the South Lawndale Community Area.  It is predominantly populated by Mexican Americans and new Mexican immigrants to Chicago. It was originally settled by Irish and Eastern European immigrants in the late 19th century, after the Great Chicago Fire sent the population of Chicago rippling out from the city’s center to the outlying countryside. Jobs created by industrial development in the early 20th century also attracted residents to the Little Village area, adding to the community’s strength and viability as its own independent borough. By the mid-20th century, Little Village saw a marked increase in Polish immigrants escaping the ravages of war-torn Europe, and in the ’80s a large influx of Mexicans moved to the neighborhood. Many of these new residents were transplants from neighboring Pilsen. They were displaced during the construction of the University of Illinois Chicago campus, which chewed up a large section of residential land, pushing inhabitants further west from downtown. But it is the injection of Latino culture that gives the Little Village neighborhood its vibrant and distinct character today. In fact, the neighborhood is called “Mexico of the Midwest” by many of its residents.

 1.) Drive by 2875 W. Cermak, Apollo’s 2000 on the way to park on Marshall Blvd.

This art deco building was originally the Marshall Square Theater, opened in 1917 as a vaudeville venue, later a silent movie theater, and currently a venue of banquets, weddings, and Latin music under the name Apollo’s 2000. Note the tragic placement of the strut for the Apollo’s sign right through the face of the beautiful terra cotta goddess above the main entrance.

Park your car on Marshall Blvd. near 23rd street or Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy. Walk south on the sidewalk and you will see #2, Maria Saucedo on the East side of Marshall and #3, the Marquette & Joliet statue in the grassy area at the curve on the west side of Marshall Blvd.

2.) 2850 W. 24th Blvd, Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy

Formerly the Carter Harrison High School, this massive school is now an elementary school, named for Maria Saucedo, an area teacher who died in a fire in 1981. Carter was the alma mater of clarinet player Benny Goodman and newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet.

3.) Grassy area between Marshall and 24th Boulevards

Herman Atkins MacNeil completed this sculpture of Marquette and Joliet in 1926 under a commission from the Benjamin Franklin Ferguson Monument Fund. Benjamin, a Chicago lumber baron, left a million dollars in his will of 1905 for the purpose of erecting and maintaining enduring statuary and monuments along the boulevards or in other public places. Between 1905 and 1931 the Fund placed 10 sculptures throughout various parks and beltways of Chicago.

Round the bend on the sidewalk, and the first street you come to after the bend in Marshall, is S. Francisco Ave. It may not be marked with a street sign. Go south on the sidewalk along S. Francisco Ave to get to 26th Street.

4.) 2600 and 2700 S. California Ave. , Cook County Criminal Court House and Department of Corrections (Jail)

The Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC) is one of the largest (96 acres) single site county pre-detention facilities in the United States. Primarily holding pre-trial detainees, the Department admits approximately roughly 100,000 detainees annually and averages a daily population of 9,000. It was located here due to the clout of the neighborhood’s famous citizen, Anton Cermak: businessman, political boss and mayor of Chicago. A suggested addition to this tour would be to walk completely around this complex. The enormity of the place, the barbed wire, the guard towers and the tiny windows are foreboding and chilling. It will leave an impression.

5.) 3101 W. 26th, Little Village Discount Mall

This place is a real experience, with what seems to be hundreds of vendors crammed into nooks and crannies and aisles throughout the vast warehouse. Lucia Ahrensdorf of The South Side Weekly put it best: “Need to replace the rusty carburetor in your car and pick out a wedding dress at the same time? Look no further. Want to give yourself a tattoo? Tattoo kits are available for only $250. There is no better place to pick out an intense Halloween costume, or else browse for formal attire. Little Village Discount Mall showcases all the options for elegant toddlers, including tiny tails, tiny mariachi suits, and fluffy, white, First Communion dresses. So when you’re looking for an industrial-sized mixing bowl for the next time you want to make soup for a thousand people, BMW-brand cleats to kill it at your next fútbol match, or a tiny green parakeet to sing you to sleep, you know where to go.”

6.)  26th and Albany, Terracotta Arch over 26th St.

This arch welcomes you to Little Village. The clock in the arch was given by the Mexican government in a visit by Mexico’s president in 1991, but has only worked intermittently in the years since then. It has been repaired, only to break again. Whether to repair it or get rid of it is a subject of controversy.

7.) 26th Street

You might be surprised to know that this 2 mile stretch of 26th street is second only to Michigan Avenue as the highest grossing shopping district in the city. Family owned bakeries, restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and barbershops give the Mexican American residents the food, clothing and household goods of a country they left behind.  On the weekends there is an influx of Hispanics from suburbia and the entire Midwest shopping for goods that remind them of home. Take a leisurely stroll and take in sights that you will see in few places outside of Mexico.

8.) 2500 S. Christiana Ave., La Catedral Café and Restaurant

The décor is religious artifacts and worth a look see. The restaurant is very popular. We were there on a Sunday around lunch and it was interesting to see all the young couples waiting for a table for brunch. It could have been Wicker Park or Logan Square!

9.) 2500 S. Christiana Ave., Las Quecas Quesadillas

This restaurant is connected to La Catedral, but its entrance is on 25th Street. The chef is the same for both restaurants. If La Catedral is packed, you can find a table here and enjoy a wide range of quesadillas.

10.) 2348 S. Millard Ave., home of Anton Cermak, Mayor of Chicago 1931 – 1933

Anton Cermak, businessman, party boss and mayor of Chicago from 1931 – 1933, lived here from 1923 until his death in 1933. The home was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. He was Chicago’s only foreign born mayor, born in Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic) in 1873. On February 15, 1933, Cermak was in Miami with FDR on a presidential campaign trip and was shot by a bullet intended for FDR. The mayor lingered for 20 days before dying. The story goes that Cermak told FDR in the hospital, “I’m glad it was me instead of you”. 22nd Street was named Cermak Road after his death.

Cermak lived in this neighborhood from the time he was 19 and had strong ties to the then largely Bohemian neighborhood. When his body was returned to Chicago, it stayed in this home for visitation the day before his funeral. On a freezing winter night, hundreds of neighborhood people lined up in the cold to see him one last time. Cermak is buried in the Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.

One last interesting fact is that his son in law was Otto Kerner, Jr., the governor of Illinois from 1960 – 1968, who was subsequently jailed for a couple of years after a bribery scandal.

 11.) 2316 S. Millard, home of John Shedd

This Queen Anne home that John Shedd built and lived in from 1888-1906 is remarkably intact, retaining its original porch with simple turned columns. Shedd moved to a 22 room Gothic mansion in Kenwood after living here. Shedd (1850 – 1926) was the second president and chairman of the board of Marshall Field & Company. Under Shedd’s presidency, Marshall Field’s became the largest store in Chicago and the largest wholesale and dry goods company in the world. Although he donated $3 million to start the Shedd Aquarium in the early 1920s, he never saw it built, as it opened in 1930, 4 years after he died.

 12.) 3660 W. 23rd St., Shedd Park

Fieldhouses like the Shedd Park Fieldhouse were built to serve as the centers of recreational activities in the City’s smaller parks in working-class neighborhoods. The original 1917 portion of the fieldhouse was designed in the Prairie style by William Eugene Drummond, a protégée of Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the City’s most skilled designers in the Prairie tradition. The building’s rear gymnasium addition, also designed in the Prairie style in 1928, was the work of the architectural firm of Michaelsen and Rognstad who produced a variety of excellent historically inspired designs in Chicago, including large fieldhouses for Humboldt, Garfield and Douglas Parks. The fieldhouse was named for Chicago entrepreneur and philanthropist John G. Shedd, who donated the land for the surrounding park which also bears his name. This fieldhouse is a Chicago Historical Landmark.

On the way back to your car, meander up and down the residential streets off 23rd to get a feel for the way people live in the neighborhood. You will see some interesting landscaping as well as some religious shrines in their yards. There are murals sprinkled on buildings around the neighborhood.

13.) Drive to Manuel Perez Memorial Plaza at 26th and Kolin before leaving

If you’d like to see one last sight before leaving, drive west down 26th Street to The Manuel Perez Memorial Plaza, a small park featuring murals and mosaics honoring Manuel Perez Jr., who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Luzo, Phillipine Islands in February, 1945, a month before he was killed in action.

If you are a member of Map My Walk, here is the link to send map to your phone: Little Village Walk

Additional Resources: About the New Paseo walking and biking path, South Lawndale, Crain’s piece on 26th Ave Shopping District, Wikipedia



Irving Park

Length of Walk: 3.48 miles (about a two hour walk)

Where it is located: Irving Park is one of the 77 community areas of Chicago. This walk will take you through 4 (Old Irving Park, West Walker, Independence Park and The Villa) of the 8 neighborhoods that make up the Irving Park Community Area. It is marked by #2 on this map: Location of Walks

How we got there:  We drove and found street parking right by the start of the walk. There is a Starbucks at the corner of Irving Park and Kostner if you want to grab a cup or use the facilities before starting out. The Blue Line stops in Irving Park and you can plan your trip on public transportation here: CTA Trip Planner

The villa

Comments from Marge: This walk has it all! Homes dating back to the 1800s, diverse architecture, murals, National and Chicago Historical Landmarks, the best barbecue in Chicago, and a sense of place carefully preserved by the community and its many neighborhood associations. My favorite stop on the walk is the Villa District, the absolute cutest and smallest neighborhood in Chicago. Tucked away in the most unlikely location, you will find craftsman and bungalow style homes from the early 1900s, boulevard streets with landscaped medians and distinctive stone planters marking the place.

Villa planter



Comments from Ed: Marge has said it all; almost.   With this walk you can observe, more than anywhere else in the City, the gash that the expressway made when it was built. Walk the underpasses and then hear the traffic as you walk these idyllic streets and you can feel the anguish that the residents felt, when they dealt with this assault.  The neighborhood gives new meaning to the term Not In My Backyard.



Printable PDF of the Walk: Irving Park Walk and Map

The Walk: 

Irving Park Map Screen Shot dotted lines_edited2

Irving Park Walk

Irving Park’s development began in 1869 when 4 New Yorkers purchased farmland in what is now the Old Irving Park neighborhood. They originally intended to farm, but after seeing the success of the suburban communities sprouting around them, decided to subdivide the land and create an exclusive settlement 7 miles from the city.

The original name chosen for the new community was “Irvington” after the author Washington Irving.  As the name was already taken by another town in Illinois, the name of Irving Park was adopted.

Mansions and grand homes built in a variety of architectural styles gave way to less pretentious homes after the influx of residents after the Chicago Fire. This walk will take you through neighborhoods with homes built in the Victorian, Foursquare, Revival, Craftsman and Bungalow style. It will take you by the oldest home left in Irving Park, built in 1856 as well as the beautifully restored Carl Schurz high school, known for its prairie architecture.

Irving Park suffered during the Depression and its post WWII prosperity was diminished by the announcement that the Northwest Expressway (now the Kennedy) would cut right through the heart of the community. Today, many young families and professionals call Irving Park home as they discover its rich architectural history and heritage. Preservation efforts are ongoing through home restorations and the efforts of the Irving Park Historical Society.

The Irving Park Community Area consists of 8 neighborhoods. You will walk through 4 of them on this tour: Old Irving Park (the historical core), West Walker, Independence Park and the Villa.

Map numbers correspond to:

1.) 3854 N. Kostner Ave.

Home of John and Clara Merchant.  It was approved as a Chicago Landmark in 2008 and much of the content below is from the Landmark Designation Report.

The John and Clara Merchant House, built ca. 1872 from a pattern in Woodward’s National Architect (1869), is a handsome Second Empire-style building near the corner of Kostner and Byron avenues. Its large mansard roof and carved flat-lintel window hoods exemplifies the style and visual character of the large single-family homes that dotted the Grayland settlement in the 1860s and 70s.

Clara was the daughter of John Gray, one of the original owners of the farms that were the basis for the Irving Park Neighborhood.

John and Clara Merchant and their seven children lived in the house until about 1879 before moving to Russell, Kansas. They put the house in a trust, but returned in 1886, presumably because Clara’s mother (Phoebe Gray) had died. Upon their return, the Merchants began holding religious services in the house, and in 1886 formed the First Baptist Church (later called Irving Park Baptist Church). John Merchant died in the house in 1913 and Clara Merchant, who had later moved from the house, died in 1927.

The Merchant House is an exceptional example of the Second Empire style. It is named after the reign of French emperor Napoleon III (1852-1870), commonly called the “Second Empire,” and is based on a nineteenth-century reinterpretation of seventeenth-century French Baroque architecture. In America, the Second Empire style was seen as a prestigious and stylish European architectural style, worthy of emulation by wealthy American clients with a hunger for European chic. Introduced in the U.S. in the 1850s, the style was especially popular for stylish single-family houses in the 1860s and 70s.

2.) 3945 North Tripp Avenue

House of Stephen A. Race, designated a Chicago Landmark in 1988

This home is significant in the history of Chicago and the neighborhood of Irving Park. It is the only remaining home of the original founders of Irving Park – the Race family. The Stephen A. Race house is a rare Chicago example of a red brick Italianate structure with its architectural integrity for the most part still intact. Originally sited on Irving Park Boulevard, a road that was once an Indian trail in early Illinois, the home’s style is especially representative of the type of grand residential dwellings that once lined Irving Park Boulevard in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, when Irving Park was a suburban/country retreat.

When originally built, the home cost $12,000 – a significant amount of money in 1873. The Charles T. Race House, which no longer exists, was slightly grander in scale and cost $15,000. Both homes were of the Italianate style, one of the most popular architectural styles between 1850 and 1880. While the architect’s name is unknown to us today, the similarities of the Race homes indicate the brothers used the same architect.

Four stories high, the Stephen A. Race House is composed of red brick contrasted with white limestone and painted wood trim; its style is derived from the villas of Tuscany in Northern Italy, which are characterized by a symmetrical box shape capped by a flat roof. Large eave brackets dominate the cornice line of Italianate houses. On the Race House, these are over-scaled, elaborately scrolled and arranged in pairs – typical of this era and style.

Particularly arresting is the treatment of the windows on the second level. Tall and thin, with two-over-two lights, they are emphatically framed with semi-circular arches stamped by a prominent limestone keystone.

3.) Positive Babel Mural at Metra Station Underpass by Tony Passero

At Irving Park Road at the Metra underpass bounded by the Kennedy Expressway exit and Keeler on the north wall and the Kennedy Expressway entrance  and Avondale on the south wall. Created for the Old Irving Park Association, the base concept of the Positive Babel mural is the world lives, works and plays in Old Irving Park. There are 70 landmarks and iconic structures from various nations throughout the world represented in the mural. The blue in the sky of the mural was selected to represent the color of the Chicago flag.

4.) 4053 N. Keeler Ave.

On the SE corner of N. Keeler Ave. and W. Belle Plaine now stands the Fullness Presbyterian Church.  Originally the Dutch Reformed Church, it was constructed in 1872 and was the only house of worship for 13 years. The building was completely remodeled in 1908 in a combination of Gothic Revival and Arts and Crafts design by noted architect Elmer C. Jensen. Elmer C. Jensen worked as an architect in Chicago for 70 years, earning him the title of “The Dean of Chicago Architects.” Jensen designed his own residence at 4041 N. Lowell in the Colonial Revival style, the most notable feature being the massive portico featuring four 18 foot high concrete over brick columns.  (The home is noted on the map but not a numbered stop on this tour.)

5.) West Walker Neighborhood

You will pass through the corner of this neighborhood, characterized by large single family homes in late Victorian, Foursquare and Revival styles.

6.) The Independence Park Neighborhood and Park

The Independence Park Neighborhood was established in the 1800s, and it retains the vintage character of oversize lots, mature trees and generously sized homes in a variety of period styles. Independence Park itself was established in 1914. The attractive brick fieldhouse was designed by Hatzfeld and Knox. Independence Park was once considered the best landscaped park in the city, but it is now mostly a bland assortment of ball fields and playgrounds. The park was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

7.) Gross Boulevard addition

The area south of Irving Park Road was developed by Samuel Gross and was known as “Gross Boulevard addition to Irving Park”. The housing stock is similar to that of West Walker.

8.) Mural under the RR overpass at Pulaski

This mural depicts the advertising that the original Irving Park Developers used to entice people to move there.

9.) The Villa

This is the highlight of the tour for me! This cute little neighborhood was dubbed the “Polish Kenilworth” by Mike Royko, a famous Chicago newspaper columnist. It is a Chicago Historical Landmark District. Developed in the early 1900s, its hallmark characteristics are the craftsman and bungalow style houses on boulevard style streets with landscaped medians. Stone planters mark the area.

Read more about this district in the resource links.  Or click here : “Getting to know Chicago’s Smallest Neighborhood: The Villa”

10.) Smoque Barbecue     3800 N. Pulaski

Smoque is at the corner of Grace and Pulaski. It is a very famous barbecue place with many awards and write ups. If you are really determined to eat here, you will have to be very patient. The line sometimes wraps around the building.

11.) Schurz High School 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The school is named after German–American Carl Schurz, a statesman, soldier, and advocate of democracy in Germany. The school building, which represents a combination of the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture, was designed in 1910 by Dwight H. Perkins and designated a Chicago Landmark on December 7, 1979. It is considered one of “150 great places in Illinois” by the American Institute of Architects. The AIA has described the school as Perkins’s masterpiece, “an important example of early-twentieth century architecture, utilizing elements of both the Chicago and Prairie schools.

12.) 4362 W. Grace John Gray’s First House

Gray’s first home built in 1856 at 4362 W. Grace survives today in a remarkable state of preservation and is the oldest house in Irving Park. John Gray was the owner of the farm which was bought by the 4 New York men to develop what is now known as Irving Park.

If you are a Map My Walk member here is a link to the route: Irving Park Route

More Resources to learn more about Irving Park: WikipediaThe Villa DistrictThe Villa Community AssociationPositive Babel MuralMerchant House Landmark Designation ReportSmoque Barbecue