Nowadays Union Ridge is a pleasant residential neighborhood, but it wasn’t always so densely populated. Back in 1835, there was just one man in the area—a guy named Israel Smith. He constructed a cabin on a ridge and was later joined by his father and brothers. As neighbors began settling the area, they rather sensibly referred to the ridge as 'Smith’s Ridge,' an informal name would ultimately lose out to the title 'Union Ridge' after the Smith clan left the area. But the land the Smiths left behind would eventually make up the neighborhoods of Union Ridge and Big Oaks, nearby Ridgemoor Country Club, and parts of the Harwood Heights suburbs.
Today, the farms, cabins, and even the ridge are gone, and Union Ridge has become a quiet, mostly residential neighborhood. Most businesses, restaurants and stores operate off Higgins Road, the area’s busiest street, which bisects the Chicago neighborhood, leaving ample room for housing.