Oak Park, Illinois, is a village that borders Chicago on the west. Many young couples move from the city to Oak Park once they start having children. There is abundance of daycare centers, pre-schools, and public and private elementary schools, and parents tend to be active in their children’s education. Oak Park’s great public schools and park district are big draws. So is the quick and easy accessibility to the city. Three train lines whisk you the nine miles into the city center, allowing you to zip into town for work, a blues festival, a visit to an art gallery, or a top theater production in just 20 minutes.
Oak Park is a model community for diversity. The people who live here represent many cultural backgrounds, ethnicities and races. Everyone is welcome here. In the summer, neighbors block off the streets, wheel out the barbecues, and throw parties. The village boasts a vibrant downtown full of shops and restaurants.
Out-of-towners who appreciate late 19th and early-20th century architecture will love Oak Park. The village began growing after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Most of our housing stock dates from the late 1800s through the 1920s, and features the character and charm of the Victorian era. Original leaded art glass windows, French doors, hardwood floors, built-in bookcases and crown molding are common features. Take a tour of a recently sold Oak Park home here.
Oak Park is famous for the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. There are more Wright homes here than anywhere else in the world. Tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio (below), which served as his private residence and studio from 1889 to 1909—the first 20 years of his career. Wright used his home as an architectural laboratory, trying out design concepts before sharing them with clients. Here he raised six children with his first wife, Catherine Tobin, and designed such famous buildings as the Robie House, Larkin Building and Unity Temple.
Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning author, was born in Oak Park in 1899 and spent his early life here. Hemingway’s joke, “Oak Park is a neighborhood of wide lawns and narrow minds,” is ironic nowadays, seeing how the village has transformed into a community known for its tolerance. There is a small museum devoted to the author of The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms.
Oak Park’s diversity, turn-of-the-century housing stock, tall beautiful trees, and proximity to Chicago have kept our housing market healthier than in most Chicagoland towns. We anticipate a busy home buying and selling season in 2013.