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West Elsdon
Real Estate and Neighborhood Information

West Elsdon Overview

From its beginnings as low-lying wetlands, the first half of the 20th century saw slow development for the neighborhood now known as West Elsdon. But with the arrival of nearby industrial areas and Midway Airport, the neighborhood took off after the 1950s, and this sleepy outlying settlement transformed into a comfortable and popular Chicago community. Today the area is known for its well-maintained bungalows, spruce lawns, and growing diversity. A number of schools and public parks add to West Elsdon's cultural aspects, and a sizeable commercial corridor along Pulaski Road presents inhabitants with ample shopping and dining selections that include the Chicago favorite, Giordano's Pizza. The nightlife in West Elsdon is on the quiet side, sticking to just a few neighborhood watering holes.

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West Elsdon is a stable, family-oriented neighborhood of redbrick bungalows, two-story homes and raised ranches. Many of the single-family dwellings provide residents with detached back garages, freshly-mowed front lawns and modest backyards—just enough space for a barbeque and to send the kids or dog out to play. While not typically large in size, most lots boast green grass, manicured hedges and leafy trees scattered here and there. The architectural characteristics found along the streets of West Elsdon are quite diverse, which gives the community a delightfully intriguing atmosphere that permeates from home to home. Never sure what you'll come across on the next block, a stroll though this southwest side Chicago neighborhood can easily turn into a lengthy tour of quaint housing designs.

While many homeowners have lived in the neighborhood for a generation, there are a lot of new families beginning to move into West Elsdon as well, attracted by the proximity to good transportation and schools, and the reasonable price of property. In addition to the renovation of older houses, the recent completion of Park Place Homes, a master-planned residential development of over 200 residences, is one of the factors that have sparked widespread growth in the area.

Generally speaking, the average sales price for a three-bedroom single-family detached home in West Elsdon is around $250,000. There are a handful of houses this size for under $200,000, but at the same time the neighborhood boasts several properties that sell for $300,000 or more. If you need more living space and want a home with four to six bedrooms, you are looking at an average price of about $267,000. On the other hand, the average sales price for a one- or two-bedroom condo or multi-unit dwelling in the neighborhood is around $138,000, although there are several options in the $150,000 to $175,000 price range, if want the most bang for you buck.

West Elsdon History

Back in the day, we're talking hundreds of years ago, much of the terrain south of Chicago was marshy swampland that was difficult to harvest or develop. But people are innovative and with the help of technological advances, the sections of the soggy earth were eventually transformed into useful soil—for laying railroad tracks that is.

West Elsdon was originally populated by European immigrants (mostly Irish and Germans) who moved to the area to work on the railroads that were being constructed in the region. As a result of population growth and a mounting need for increased infrastructure, the community was annexed into Chicago along with much of the rest of the southwest side in 1889. The main employer in the area at the time was the Grand Trunk Railroad, which connected Chicago to the northeastern United States and Canada. But even with the neighborhood's recent incorporation into the larger city of Chicago and a thriving rail transportation industry, much of the region still remained submerged in swampy water.

With significant breakthroughs in drainage technology (hey, if the Dutch could do it, why couldn't we, right?) West Elsdon and the surrounding vicinity were effectively drained in the 1920s. Still, the neighborhood didn't really take-off (so to speak) until the Chicago Municipal Airport (present-day Midway Airport) was opened in 1927 directly to the west of West Elsdon.

In many ways, the strength and prosperity of the neighborhood has always been largely contingent on its position along major trade and travel routes. In the 1960s, to accommodate the increasing domestic air travel at Midway Airport, construction began on the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). When completed in the late 1960s, the Stevenson provided area residents with a convenient and speedy means of traveling to downtown Chicago for work or leisure. Then, in the early 1990s, the neighborhood received another boost with the opening of the elevated CTA Orange Line train, which has a stop in the neighborhood. The Orange Line is still the most recent expansion to the CTA rapid transit network, and as a result it's one of the fastest and smoothest rides in the city.

Over the years, the demographic makeup of West Elsdon has changed considerably from the time when it attracted a cultural mix of immigrant railroad workers. Many of the aging European populations have since moved on to the suburbs or to Chicago's north side and have been replaced by incoming Mexican immigrants and Mexican-American families. Today the West Elsdon neighborhood remains solidly working class, and is one of the most comfortable and family-friendly neighborhoods in the southwest side. [Back To Top]

The Sights of West Elsdon

West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo
West Elsdon Neighborhood Photo

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