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A walk to church in Oak Park, IL

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Please follow me on my walk to church in Oak Park, IL:

Let's start at my apartment building:


I live in a prototypical 1920's courtyard apartment building. This form/style of building is very common in Oak Park, throughout most of Chicago, and the other 1st ring suburbs.

My building is on a corner, so let's look at the other three corners of the intersection:


Depression era courtyard apartment building goodness


Want to spend a truckload for a private high school education, then send your kids here - Fenwick Catholic high school


This is a 1960's style cash-box condo development

Now we need to walk north.

When you go past my building and the alley:


Back of my building

you immediately step into blocks full (mostly) of large single-family detached homes:


Here's a large brick bunaglow. I love this house.

It even has a matching garage:


Alley behind the large bungalow. You can see Fenwick's tower at the end of the alley.

We now have to go west past the bungalow, down Randolph Street:


A nice group of condo converted two flats rows

Then across the street is a small neighborhood Lutheran church:


Walkable location, no on-site parking needed because this is a human scaled building and there is sufficient on street parking for congregants who are not walking. No mega-churches - Praise the Lord!

moving on we see this bit of infill:


Not the most attractive, but certainly nice in its own way and it meets the street nicely and at least this isn't replicated on every other lot on the block.

Then across the street from here, we have these two:


These houses are representative of the predominent style in central Oak Park.


People are actively rehabing these nice old houses, but beware, in order to have the chance to rehab a house like this in Oak Park you need at least $500,000, but in the end your house might be worth $800,000.

on the next block toward church, we run into these guys:



More postwar infill goodness, but once again they're not that bad.

Then we have a nice carriage house to an equally nice house:


Accessory unit? Extra income? I'd rent it.

Another alley:


From the alley we see another large bungalow:



And a beautiful two-story Arts & Crafts house.

Now we see the church - St. Edmund's - the oldest catholic parish in Oak Park. Note: when St. Edmund's was established, the existing WASPy neighbors were appalled and tried everything to get rid of it. This was 1909. Thankfully, Oak Park is much more inclusive and tolerant now.


The design of the orginial sanctuary, rectory, and school building are all in the French Neo-Gothic style, and very well executed for a relatively small complex:




After church, we exit through the front onto Oak Park Avenue:


You can see (I hope) the CTA Green line EL tracks in the distance. There is a stop at Oak Park Ave.


Here is a street level shot of some nice three-story mixed use commercial building across the Oak Park Ave. from St. Edmund's. Talk about meeting the pedestrian. By the way, the storefronts have a diversity of active and engaging service businesses for the passing pedestrian. No dentist offices or storefront apartments here.

Lastly, let me leave you with an aerial of the blocks around my apartment building:


This aerial fairly depicts the basic form of Oak Park in general. My building is inside the crude red square. A block to the south (in the aerial, north is to the top) is Madison Street and all the services I need (grocery store, gas stations, 7-11, drug store, etc.), and the Green Line El is four block north.

I don't need to live in Seaside, Celebration, I'On, or Cherry Hill, I live in Oak Park, IL - The New Urbanist's Wet Dream .

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I love your urban tours mendelman! Keep em coming.

I would imagine that the clay tile on that bungalow is not original?

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Great tour, I love Oak Park! My wife has a baby shower their last summer, so I decided to go and do a little walking around the south end of town. I parked a little south of your Church, but I ended up walking north toward Lake Street. I ate at Erik's Delicatessen just north of the Green line. Not bad. We also did the River Forest Bungalow tour last fall. Now that is also a town full of great Architecture.

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Nice looking town. Reminds me of some of the old suburbs near me (outside NYC). I have never been to Chicago, drove through it on my way to a music fest, but from everything posted on this site, I really want to pay Chicago a visit.

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Oak Park is truly one of my favourite neighborhoods I've ever had a chance to see. If I ever live in Chicagoland, Oak Park's at the top of my list...thank you for the photos, I always love seeing it...

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That was a great tour. We moved to the way-out-sub of Lombard in 1954, even south of Roosevelt Road. While waiting for our house to be completed in probably one of the first cookie cutter subdivisions, we stayed in Oak Park. It was either short-term rental or long-term hotel with kitchenette. Across the street was what I recall as being a large beautiful park; however, I was quite small then so it may have just seemed big. I can still remember thinking Oak Park was beautiful and our little s/d in Lombard stunk! It was called "Sunny Acres"! Anyway, I did enjoy your pics.

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