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Offering residents a variety of excellent schools, local shops and boutiques, breweries, sneaky-good restaurants and spacious yet affordable housing options to choose from, Ravenwood provides great value within a big city.
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The neighborhood commonly referred to as Ravenswood, is a part of the larger community area of Lincoln Square, while Lincoln Square is more commonly referred to as the smaller neighborhood located in greater Ravenswood. That might not be completely logical, but no matter what you call this north side enclave, if you are in Ravenswood, you’re in a good spot.
The boundaries of the Ravenswood neighborhood extend north to Foster Avenue, east to Clark Street, south to Montrose Avenue and west to the north branch of the Chicago River. The area was originally conceived as a commuter community for affluent Chicagoans to live while they travelled for work downtown. In the late 1800s, Ravenswood was still a suburb located about eight miles from downtown Chicago. Wealthy Chicagoans were enticed to relocate with a proposed stop in the area on an early train line. In 1907, the extension of the Brown Line (until recently, known as the Ravenswood Line), prompted even more people to migrate to the area. Over time, as the town and city grew larger and closer to one another, the two merged into one seamless urban community.
Although the Ravenswood area is mostly zoned residential, there are business corridors along Lawrence and Montrose Avenues, as well as along the avenues of Ashland, Damen, Western and Clark Street. Adding character to the neighborhood’s business community is Ravenswood Avenue itself. This north/south running street is divided in half by the Metra railroad tracks. On either side are many old warehouses and small factory buildings that have been converted to house a diverse number of small, independently owned businesses. Artists and craftspeople create in these spaces alongside furniture makers and antique dealers. What was an industrial strip dominated by larger manufacturing concerns, has become a more community-oriented and certainly more environmentally friendly commercial center.
Ravenswood has a variety of housing options for both renters and would-be homeowners. The area is known for its courtyard apartment buildings, but there are also a mix of two and three flats, many of which have become condos in recent years. Single family homes can also be found along Ravenswood’s many one-way, side streets.