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Garfield Ridge consists of: Vittum Park and Leclaire Courts.
The southwest Chicago neighborhood of Garfield Ridge manages to retain its original rural charm while seamlessly melding urban culture and suburban design. This odd hodgepodge results in an idyllic spot for families, people transitioning to the Chicago area, and anyone who enjoys having a house and yard, but likes to jet into the city at the drop of a hat. With Midway Airport next door, you could jet to any city at the drop of a hat really – but most Garfield Ridge residents prefer to stick to their own neighborhood, which is big on traditional comfort food and friendly pubs. Mom-and-pop bakeries and family-run diners are all the rage in Garfield Ridge, but it's still easy to get a good slice of pizza or slab of ribs whenever the mood strikes.
Quite young when compared to other Chicago neighborhoods, Garfield Ridge is a charming residential area built right around the compact airfields of Midway Airport. We know what you’re thinking—airport?—who wants planes flying overhead at all hours of the day and night. But compared to the honking horns, blaring sirens and other noise pollution that afflicts the city’s downtown neighborhood, Garfield Ridge residents have got it made!
Historically, inhabitants of this southwest Chicago community have been middle-class families with some employment connection to the aviation industry thriving at Chicago’s Midway Airport. Attractive rows of single-family brick bungalows with well-manicured lawns, wide streets, and a decidedly suburban vibe are the trademark of today’s Garfield Ridge. Most homes were built during the area’s housing boom in the 1940s and ‘50s, many passed down through generations and owned by the same families for most of their existence. The houses in Garfield Ridge have been lovingly maintained, as residents of this Chicago neighborhood are traditionally hardworking folks who value homeownership.
Dwellings in Garfield Ridge tend to include beautifully landscaped grounds, with modest front and back yards, adding to the suburban charm that underscores the neighborhood. The tightly-packed blocks are separated by wide, tree-lined avenues with pedestrian friendly sidewalks set back from the street edges and garages are typically located in the back, accessed through an alley, so you don’t even have to cross driveways when walking about.
The average sales price for a two-bedroom single-family detached home in Garfield Ridge is around $240,000. For a three-bedroom, the average price goes up to $275,000, although there are several places this size in the neighborhood that sell for between $150,000 and $250,000. And if you don’t mind spending a little more, you can get quite a nice property with three bedrooms for about $500,000. There aren’t that many multi-unit residences in Garfield Ridge, but the average price for a two-bedroom condo or attached townhome is around $170,000.
This southwest Chicago neighborhood may be right next door to Midway Airport, one of America’s busiest transportation hubs, but that hasn’t stopped it from maintaining its quaint country charm.
When speculators reached Garfield Ridge during the 1800s, they didn’t anticipate that the soggy marshland would foil their plans to cultivate the area. As quickly as they arrived, these early settlers quit the hard-to-farm terrain and only one man was left holding most of the land: William Archer, who was the commissioner of the Illinois & Michigan Canal purchased over 240 acres stretching from present-day Archer Avenue to Harlem Avenue. Archer held on as the largest landholder in the area until 1853, when former Chicago mayor John Wentworth bought up the territory just east of Archer’s. It became clear that the nearby city of Chicago intended to expand their southern border, and by 1921 the entire region (including both Archer’s and Wentworth’s property) had been annexed to the city.
With Garfield Ridge’s new civic status came new settlers. The 1920s brought legions of Poles seeking an alternative to the political unrest of their European homeland. As the population grew, the opening of Chicago Municipal Airport (now named Midway) provided more than enough jobs to go around. The land that previously failed at agriculture had become a central hub of aviation, and Garfield Ridge’s economy flourished until the Great Depression in 1929, when the thriving community screeched to a standstill. This plateau lasted until the post-war years, when people could afford to travel by air again and the city’s airfield became a bustling center for transit once more. Subsequently, Garfield Ridge neighborhood became popular with airport employees who could make their homes close to work. The population skyrocketed and single-family homes popped up all around Midway Airport and the southwest Chicago neighborhood began to thrive again.
While Garfield Ridge residents happily maintained the ever-growing Midway Airport, Chicago city officials were focused on a seldom-used airfield further north. Orchard Field had served for decades in the manufacturing of military planes, but civic leaders saw commercial potential in the site. First introducing passenger flights in 1955, the new airport added an international terminal just three years later. Within the very first year of operation, the airport that would come to be known as O’Hare hosted more travelers than Ellis Island did in its entire lifespan as an immigrant port. Still, it wasn’t until an ambitious expansion in 1962 that Midway employees began to feel like second sons. O’Hare became the busiest airport in the country, Midway became a lot less relevant, and Garfield Ridge residents found themselves at yet another lull.
This stagnant air didn’t begin to stir until the 1990s, when budget airlines prompted passengers to once again consider Midway for journeying to domestic destinations. The city laid rail to form the CTA Orange Line system, which extended from the Loop out to the south side airport. In addition to making Midway an even more attractive alternative for air travel (due to its accessibility via public transportation), the train connected the nearby neighborhood with downtown, making the little community even more desirable to homebuyers.
Today, the aviation business still dominates Garfield Ridge. Many residents work for Midway in some capacity, resulting in a sturdy middle-class neighborhood. The early Polish population is still well-represented, and a wave of new residents from Mexico and other Latin American nations have filtered in to further diversify the area. The tiny commercial district along Archer Avenue is comprised mostly of mid-century modern designs, fulfilling the rudimentary needs of the community with very little fluff. Built around the necessity of travel and a growing industry, this south side Chicago neighborhood is deep-rooted in fundamental duty, with the added bonus of being a lovely place to settle down and raise a family—especially if your little ones have aspirations of becoming pilots upon growing up.
As Chicago neighborhood experts, Dream Town has successfully sold properties in Garfield Ridge. Dream Town holds a well-earned reputation for its impressive sales volume and dedication to personal, attentive service. Benefit from the Dream Town advantage when selling your Garfield Ridge home. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, Dream Town drives more sales than any other Chicago brokerage.
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