Six months ago, I moved into a new apartment in Chicago. I loved my previous apartment in Lakeview with its exposed brick walls and spaciousness, but I did not love (read: hated) living on the first floor of a building just on the edges of Wrigleyville — listening to millennials stomp around above me, blast their music, or yell at each other. Nor did I like living alongside an alley being woken up everyday by noisy, idling garbage trucks, recycling trucks and random late night drunken bros shouting to each other as they walked by. After five years, it was time for a change.
I wanted to live in or around Lincoln Square, one of my favorite ‘hoods in the city. What I found was a little farther west across the river in Albany Park. I’m just west of the little enclave known as Ravenswood Manor, known locally as “the Manor.” Some of my friends say I live in “the Minor” since I’m two blocks away from the official boundary. 🙂
I love it here. Not only is my top floor apartment super sunny and cozy, it’s wonderfully quiet. There’s no one above me and I don’t share any walls. It’s heaven for me. Ahhhh, silence.
But that’s not all. This neighborhood is historic, quaint, and feels like a slice of charming Americana right here in the city.
Walking over the north branch of the Chicago River (the eastern border of the area), you feel like you are practically in the country with docks on the water and ducks swimming by. Lest you forget you are still in a metropolis, the Brown Line trundles by as a reminder. But, what’s also nice, is that the train line isn’t elevated here, it’s at ground level, so it’s quieter and more countrified if you will.
In this small area, there are more than 500 buildings (mostly residential) listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many homes and architectural styles here are from the early 1900s, most notably the Chicago bungalow which is typically brick (often including decorative arts and crafts-style accents), with a low pitched roof and overhang. With more than 80,000 bungalows, this style represents nearly one-third of Chicago’s single-family homes.
Right now the one-time home of Sid Luckmam, a former Bear’s quarterback Hall-of-Famer, is for sale and of course former Governor, Rod Blagojevich has a house here, but as many of you know he’s living at another big house currently serving time in federal prison for soliciting bribes for political offices.
A great community feel permeates the ‘hood – neighbors know each other and folks passing by say ‘hello.’ During the warmer months, there are concerts in the small park, a gorgeous garden walk, and a huge neighborhood-wide garage sale. It’s like our own “Mayberry,” but better because it’s still in Chicago and you can be downtown by train in 30 minutes.
It turns out, that about 10 years before I lived here, I produced a story on it for ABC7 as I thought this would be a unique area of the city to showcase. We covered Ravenswood Manor and Ravenswood Gardens/Rockwell Crossing on the east side of the river. It aired back in April 2006.
…And one of my neighbors shot this cool drone footage of our area along the Chicago River. Beautiful!
video courtesy: Matt VanderZee