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Edgewater

Distance to Downtown Chicago
7 miles

Average Drive Times
18 minutes to Chicago Loop
33 minutes to O’Hare Airport
31 minutes to Midway Airport

Located on Chicago's Far North Side, Edgewater is a sprawling area that attracts city people who nonetheless appreciate wider streets, spacious yards and friendly neighbors. Its neighborhoods are some of the most varied and attractive in the entire city of Chicago. Andersonville is a long-established community of two-flats and single-family homes, and has a lively retail and restaurant district along Clark Street. With its bungalows and frame cottages, historic Bowmanville evokes small town America. Lakewood-Balmoral is a traditional neighborhood of single-family homes and two-flats. On Edgewater's northern border is Edgewater Glen, a diverse neighborhood of brick and frame single-family homes where pride of ownership and community commitment are part of the lifestyle. Lastly, to the east is Edgewater Beach, where high-rise condominium buildings overlook Lincoln Park and the lake.

The Edgewater neighborhood first arose around the 1890s as a summer retreat for members of Chicago's elite society. As development grew, the affluence of the surrounding area was symbolized most by the Edgewater Beach Hotel, first opened in 1916 right on Lake Michigan and  Sheridan Road north of Berwyn. This famously pink hotel was built and owned by John Tobin Connery and James Patrick Connery, and became host to many well known guests, including Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower. Bands such as those of Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Wayne King regularly performed there, and were even broadcast on the hotel’s own radio station. With its private beach and seaplane service to downtown Chicago, the Edgewater Beach Hotel was one of the jewels of Chicago high life, until the extension of Lake Shore Drive over 1951 to 1954 up to Bryn Mawr Avenue cut the hotel off from the beach. Subsequently, the hotel saw a drop in business and ultimately closed in 1967, the central buildings to be demolished shortly thereafter. The only part of the complex to survive to this day, gracing the shoreline with its pink façade, is the Edgewater Beach Co-op or Apartments, which today is just one part of the Art Deco buildings that can be found in the Bryn Mawr Historical District in Edgewater.

Over the years, Edgewater had seen many ups and downs, particularly in the 1950s, when Chicago’s suburban areas began to be developed, driving much of the city’s middle and upper classes outward from the center. By the 1980s, however, the Chicago Board of Aldermen joined forces with local community business owners to revive the Edgewater neighborhood and reenergize much of its historic roots. New businesses arrived and older buildings were refurbished to reflect their golden past. The Chicago Park District too has invested in Edgewater, gracing the neighborhood with five lakefront parks (Osterman Beach, George Lane Park, Berger Park and two others) between Ardmore and Devon.

Sheridan Road itself is a main artery for travel to and from Lake Shore Drive on both the north side of Chicago and continuing up through the lake side suburbs to the north. Following the lake front in Edgewater, Sheridan Road is home to a beautiful collection of high-rise residential buildings including Hollywood Towers, The Malibu, Malibu East, Eastpoint Tower, The Tiara, El Lago, Granville Beach, Granville Tower, Shoreline Towers and Sheridan Point. Almost all of these grand towers were built in the late 1950s to early 1970s. In fact, Bob and Emily of television’s “The Bob Newhart Show” called this street home, living on a high floor in the Thorndale Beach North Condominiums at 5901 N. Sheridan Road. In addition, a few mansions still stand on Sheridan Road, remnants of Chicago’s opulence of the 1880s to 1920s to rival the Gold Coast itself.

Edgewater is one of the best examples of how cultures can blend in a city setting, sometimes seeing wholly different ethnic themes just blocks apart. Edgewater’s Argyle Street is home to a Little Saigon district, a colorful hub of vibrant Vietnamese culture in the city. It is often referred to by Chicagoans as the "New Chinatown.” Just a few blocks away on Clark Street, merchants have successfully revisited the Swedish history in Andersonville, successfully establishing the area as a clean and friendly place to shop for curiosities. Andersonville's Swedish flavor has only since grown to incorporate a strong lesbian and gay influence, making Edgewater one of Illinois’ most positive communities for GLBT living.

Most recently, Edgewater has seen its continued beautification exemplified in the work of the Chicago Public Art Group. Working with community residents over almost two years, this organization assisted in the production of a mosaic mural, composed of a variety of objects including ceramic tile, clay relief, mirrors and painted panels. The mural weaves the history of Edgewater and the Bryn Mawr Historic District together and was constructed by the efforts of almost four hundred designers, planners and workers in the neighborhood. The 185 foot long piece called “Living 2007” can be seen in the Bryn Mawr underpass along Lake Shore Drive and depicts a range of activity from kite flying to bicycling along the beach, peppered with reminders of days long gone as well, with such images as the Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Edgewater is served by the CTA's Howard-Dan Ryan Line with stops at Loyola (Devon), Granville, Thorndale, Bryn Mawr and Berwyn. Several CTA express buses also run along Sheridan and Lake Shore Drive to the Loop. The Metra commuter train stops near the western edge of the neighborhood at Lawrence and Ravenswood. Travel to the Loop on Lake Shore Drive takes about 15 minutes.