Norwood Park: Chicago

‍Norwood Park, located in the northwest side of Chicago, offers a unique escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its acres of green space, spacious estates, and vintage single-family homes, this neighborhood provides a breath of fresh air in the midst of a concrete jungle. In this article, we will delve into the rich history, diverse neighborhoods, culinary delights, and recreational activities that make Norwood Park a hidden gem within Chicago.

History: From Native American Trails to Suburban Oasis

Norwood Park

This area has a fascinating history that dates back to the time of Native American settlements. Trails used by these indigenous people are still visible today as Milwaukee Avenue and Higgins and Talcott Roads. However, it was not until 1833 that the first non-indigenous settlers, Mark and Margaret Noble, arrived in the area. They were drawn to the fertile prairie on high ground, which later became known as Union Ridge, one of the highest points in Cook County.

The development of Norwood Park gained momentum with the construction of the Chicago and North Western Railway in the 1850s. This railway provided convenient access to downtown Chicago, attracting both farmers and businessmen to the area. In the mid-1860s, the Norwood Land and Building Association was formed, leading to the subdivision and platting of a suburban village. Many investors chose to make Norwood Park their home, enticed by the open spaces, clean air, and good water.

In 1873, residents established the Township of Norwood Park, displeased with the services provided by Jefferson Township. The Village of Norwood Park was incorporated the following year, and after nearly two decades as an independent village, it was annexed to the City of Chicago in 1893. Norwood Park was designed as a park-like residential suburb, characterized by large lots, wide streets, and elegant single-family homes. Its curvilinear street pattern adds to its unique charm.

Diverse Neighborhoods: Where to Live in Norwood Park

The neighborhood is divided into six distinct sections, each offering a unique lifestyle and access to different amenities.

Norwood Park

Norwood Park East: Nature and Recreation

Norwood Park East, located between the Northwest Highway and expansive green spaces, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. This neighborhood is home to nature preserves, parks, and even a golf course. Residents can enjoy the serenity of nature while still having the convenience of the Norwood Park Metra station nearby.

Old Norwood Park: A Step Back in Time

Step into the past in Old Norwood Park, where the streets curve around spacious estates and vintage single-family homes. This pocket of the neighborhood breaks away from Chicago’s typical grid pattern, creating a picturesque and idyllic ambiance. Residents of Old Norwood Park take pride in their homes, which boast spacious lots and an abundance of trees.

Norwood Park West: A Suburban Feel

Norwood Park West centers around the Presence medical campus and offers a suburban feel within the city limits. This neighborhood is also well-connected to transportation, with the Harlem Blue Line station easily accessible. Oriole Park and Union Ridge, located in the southern part of Norwood Park West, feature neat rows of modest bungalows, ranch homes, and larger two-story houses.

Big Oaks: Modest Homes and Polish Heritage

Big Oaks, situated between Foster Avenue, Nagle Avenue, Gunnison Street, and Harlem Avenue, is characterized by rows of modest bungalows, ranch homes, and spacious two-story houses. This neighborhood has a strong Polish heritage and has seen an influx of Polish immigrants in recent years. It is also home to the Daniel Carter Beard Magnet School and St. Monica Catholic School.

Oriole Park: A Family-Friendly Neighborhood

Oriole Park, bordered by the Kennedy Expressway, Foster Avenue, Harlem Avenue, and Cumberland Avenue, offers a family-friendly environment. The neighborhood’s namesake park covers over 18 acres and provides residents with access to swimming pools, sport courts, and dog-friendly areas. The Oriole Park Library, located nearby, is a valuable resource for residents.

Union Ridge: Scenic Beauty and a Historic Cemetery

Union Ridge, known for being one of the highest points in Cook County, is bordered by Bryn Mawr, Foster, Nagle, and Harlem Avenues. This neighborhood features the scenic Union Ridge Cemetery and John W. Garvy School. Its elevated location provides residents with breathtaking views and a sense of tranquility.

Culinary Delights: Where to Eat in Norwood Park

The area offers a diverse range of culinary experiences, with something to satisfy every palate. Milwaukee Avenue is home to several beloved restaurants, including the iconic Superdawg Drive-in, which has been serving Chicago-style hot dogs since 1948. If you’re in the mood for international cuisine, you can indulge in Polish specialties at the Red Apple, savor fine Persian food at NOK, or enjoy refined Italian dishes at Pasta D’Arte. For vegan options, Amitabul offers a healthy and organic menu of Korean food. Other popular areas for dining include Devon and Higgins Avenues, as well as the Northwest Highway.

Recreation and Leisure: Discovering Norwood Park’s Charms

Norwood Park residents have no shortage of recreational activities to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a leisurely Sunday, there’s something for everyone.

Norwood Park: A Neighborhood Park with Something for Everyone

The neighborhood’s namesake park spans an impressive 14 acres. Here, residents can cool off in the pool, engage in friendly competition on various sport courts and fields, and let their furry friends socialize in the dog-friendly area. The park offers a serene escape from the urban landscape, providing a tranquil setting for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Whealan Pool Aquatic Center: Summertime Fun for All Ages

Just northeast of Norwood Park, the Whealan Pool Aquatic Center offers even more summer fun. With its large swimming area, water slides, and water playground, it’s the perfect place to beat the heat. The center is surrounded by forest preserves and the Edgebrook Golf Course, providing residents with a variety of options to enjoy their weekends.

Living in Norwood Park: What Locals Love

Norwood Park has captured the hearts of its residents with its unique blend of convenience, green space, and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Here are a few reasons why locals love calling the neighborhood home:

Convenience to O’Hare International Airport

For those who travel frequently, Norwood Park’s proximity to O’Hare International Airport is a major perk. The airport is easily accessible, making travel a breeze for residents.

Abundance of Green Space

In a city known for its concrete landscape, this neighborhood stands out with its acres of green space. Residents can enjoy nature walks, picnics, and outdoor activities without having to venture far from home.

Friendly Neighborhood Vibe

Norwood Park has maintained a strong sense of community throughout its history. Residents appreciate the friendly atmosphere and the opportunity to build lasting connections with their neighbors.

This neighborhood is a hidden gem within the city of Chicago. Its rich history, diverse neighborhoods, culinary delights, and recreational opportunities make it an ideal place to call home. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or a vibrant community, Norwood Park offers a little something for everyone. Experience the charm and tranquility of this picturesque suburb, and discover why it continues to captivate residents and visitors alike.

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