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A LITTLE ABOUT KENWOOD

Once considered to be a getaway for Chicago’s exclusive, Kenwood is located in Chicago’s south side. Previously home to the likes of, White Sox owner Bill Veeck and even Muhammad Ali, Chicago’s elite tried to escape the buzz and ruckus of inner city living, by migrating to Kenwood, and building luscious homes along the Lake Michigan Shoreline. A booming commercial district, and its historic streets and landmarks, give this neighborhood plenty of character. Boasting an impressive assortment of high rise buildings, even dating back to the early twentieth century, Kenwood’s architecture really captures the opulent roots and rich history. Take a trip to one of Kenwood’s famous houses, and tour some of the former residences of  celebrities. If art is more your cup of tea, a trip to the Hyde Park Art Center will be sure to impress even the average visitor. Look no further than Kenwood for your fix of lavish history and experience your own, getaway, from the high energy city living.

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NORTH KENWOOD / KENWOOD HISTORY

The community of Kenwood, located about six miles south of downtown Chicago, ranks as one the city’s best examples of premier architecture from the earlier part of the 20th century. The old school ‘McMansions’ of Kenwood give us a glimpse of the neighborhood’s former elite status that flourished in the early 1900s.The area’s earliest European settler, Dr. John A. Kennicott, constructed a sprawling weekend getaway in 1856 and called it Kenwood—named after his mother’s hometown in Scotland. In 1871, the Chicago Fire further ignited the residential development of the small community as folks moved to the outer reaches of the city for real estate undamaged by the fire’s wrath. Within a few years, super-sized homes were a common fixture in the south side neighborhood. An interesting—and creepy—tidbit of history: infamous murderers Leopold and Loeb, both from affluent families and students of the prestigious University of Chicago, lived in Kenwood, as did their victim Bobby Franks who was killed 1924.By 1919 Kenwood’s glory days had reached their peak, and the period following saw the area quickly falling into decline as many of the vacated single-family homes were converted to multi-family apartments. Three decades later, Kenwood had evolved from a white-collar neighborhood to a working-class one as it embraced newly arrived immigrants (during the post World War II population surge) and low-income, mainly African American families. It wasn’t until the 1960s, a decade after the birth of the Hyde Park–Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC), an organization made up of local residents, that action to save the decaying community took place.It would take Kenwood another 30 years before the neighborhood witnessed a noticeable shift from the disheartening scene of numerous vacant lots and neglected buildings. Today, Kenwood’s ambitious urban renewal plan is rapidly restoring itself to meet the needs of a new generation of residents made up of working professionals.

ORTH KENWOOD / KENWOOD FACTS

Location: about 6 miles south of the Loop
Boundaries: 47th Street to the north, Lake Shore Drive to the east, 51st Street to the south and South Drexel Boulevard to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Hyde ParkBronzevilleWashington ParkOakland
Crime Statistics: Go to CLEARMap to search specific streets and areas for crime incidents

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North Kenwood / Kenwood Real Estate

Nestled among tree-lined streets, the time-honored mansions of yore retain their elegant presence in this historic south side Chicago neighborhood. While many of the older Kenwood homes that have been restored have been designated historical landmark buildings, a number have also been converted into condominium units with all the modern amenities including granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and heated marble bathroom floors. And, new residential developments are tastefully integrating with the early 20th century architectural styles of their long-established neighbors.Kenwood neighborhood has one of the best collections of residential architecture in the city. Designs range from classic asymmetrical rooflines of the Queen Anne style, to Frank Lloyd Wright’s modern edifices from the Prairie School. You’ll even catch a glimpse of stately Georgian hybrids, known as Colonial Revival. And we’ve always been big fans of the ornate archways characterized by the school of Italianate and reminiscent of Italian villas—not surprisingly, Kenwood has got that, too.While you’re in the neighborhood take a walking tour down to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Headquarters (930 E 50th St, 773-373-3366) that’s housed in a landmark building constructed in 1924. Or get a glimpse of Malcolm X’s buddy, Louis Farrakhan’s home (4855 S Woodlawn Ave), massive in size for a city pad, and ornate in architectural design. Drexel Square Park (between 51st Street and 39th Street) is a pedestrian-friendly walkway in the middle of the unusually quiet Drexel Boulevard. You’ll be awestruck by the structures before you, especially when you lay your eyes on the oldest surviving fountain in the city that dates back to the Victorian era—a time that gave rise to many artistic styles due to economic prosperity brought on by the industrial revolution.The many South Kenwood Mansions, between Dorchester and Ellis avenues (as far south as Hyde Park Boulevard and as far north as 47th Street) will take your breath away. Their monsterous size and sprawling grounds edged by flawless landscaping reminds us of the wealth and ingenuity that prospered in Kenwood at the beginning of America’s modern times.Today, the average sales price for a three-bedroom single-family detached home in Kenwood is about $500,000. For four to five bedrooms, you’ll be looking to pay in the neighborhood of $638,000 on average, with the low end around $285,000 and the high end at $1.4 million. For the mansions with six or more bedrooms, the average sales price is $1,460,000, with many of them valued at 2.5 to 3 million dollars.

But let’s face it—most of us don’t need that much space. In that case, a condominium might be more our style. The average sales price for one-bedroom attached housing, or condo, around here is $132,000 (the low end is under $100,000 and the high end is $340,000). A two-bedroom costs around $209,000 on average, reaching close to $400,000 for rehabbed units and upgraded amenities.

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