Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Where in Chicago is: Ravenswood?

This is the first post in what we hope to be a regular feature describing those popular neighborhoods that everyone seems to have heard of, but no one can accurately locate.

Today's feaure: Ravenswood

There actually is a street named Ravenswood that runs north-south at approximately 1800 West. It runs alongside the Metra train tracks in West Lakeview and pretty close to the Brown Line tracks from Roscoe up to around Wilson. Hence the old "Ravenswood Line" name as it used to be known.

The neighborhood really is only a few blocks wide - from Ashland on the east to Damen on the West. Just a couple blocks on either side of the train lines.

The most popularly identified part of Ravenswood is the south end, from Irving Park Road up to Montrose. Ravenswood really does reach all the way up to Foster, however.

Right along the Metra tracks there is a busy little commercial district featuring art studios, architecture salvage stores, loading docks and renovated loft condos.

Along Paulina and Hermitage, lots are oversized and streets are wide. Old vintage homes are being renovated or torn down to make way for new mini-mansions.

A cute business district features locally owned shops and restaurants.

On the north end of Ravenswood, along Lawrence, you'll find our in-city Sears store. This relic is a must-see and is right out of a time-warp. Original steel and glass display cases are set among chaotic aisles of merchandise under the buzz of ancient UV shop-lights. Ride the single-file escalators up and wander around the tools and appliances nestled cleverly next to the jewelry, children's clothes and shoes.

Two more neighborhoods directly west share the name Ravenswood. These include Ravenswood Gardens and Ravenswood Manor. They stretch westward from Ravenswood from Western Avenue to the River, and West of the River farther out to Kedzie. Since the (formerly known as) Ravenswood Line runs directly west through these neighborhoods, they're aptly named.

Ravenswood Manor and Gardens both enjoy a tranquil location along the north branch of the Chicago River, adorable parks and cute streets running on odd angles following the river.