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Chicago's Real Haunted Houses and Neighborhoods

From the Fort Dearborn Massacre to the Eastland Disaster and beyond, Chicago has much tragedy in its past.  And from tragedy comes the ghostly tales of those who lost their lives, yet aren't quite ready to move on to whatever comes next.  October seems to be the perfect month to check out some of Chicago's REAL haunted houses and neighborhoods.  Take a look...


Chicago's Haunted Neighborhoods


A Couple of Chicago's Real Haunted Homes  

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Chicago as 8th Most Stressful City? I think not.

No matter where you live, there are things that get on your nerves over time.  Take Chicago for instance:  Traffic?  It's miserable.  Taxes?  Ridiculous.  Winter?  Excrutiating.  But still, when CLTV reported this morning that Chicago has ranked as the 8th most stressful city to live in, I found it difficult to believe.  And apart from the fact that I get to see some of the most affluent areas and comfortable lifestyles every week because of the homes we tour, a quick scroll through the pictures in my phone gives a pretty good idea why I happen to think that Chicago is a great city for RELIEVING stress, despite what says.

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Suburban Tour: Evanston

Why live in Evanston:

The city of Evanston is located along Lake Michigan just north of Chicago (13 miles to downtown Chicago). It has the best of both worlds - city and suburban living. Home to Northwestern University, this charming midwestern city is diverse in so many ways - from historical homes to trendy shopping to cultural and business opportunities. It's home to some 75,000 residents.


Fun Facts about Evanston:

1.  Evanston was first settled back in 1836.

2.  Northwestern University welcomed its first students in 1855.

3.  After the 1871 Chicago Fire, many Chicagoans looked towards the suburbs, and Evanston, for new homes. 


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Mixed-Use Developments: Reshaping Suburbia

Ok, so this isn't a new trend, but mixed-use developments in Chicagoland continue to redefine suburbia.  The Chicago Tribune did a great story recently on mixed-use developments in Chicago's Suburbs.

As a suburbanite myself, I love the mixed-use developments.  Downtown Deerfield was one of the first areas I remember taking on this new concept. It's great because it delivers suburban residents a place to feel and enjoy life like those in the city do every day.

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Best Small Cities in America: Where's Suburban Chicago?

Money Magazine released it's list of the Top 100 small cities to live in America.

The top small city - Eden Prairie, MN.  Some of the other cities in the Top 10: Newton, MA, Bellevue, WA, McKinney, TX, Fort Collins, CO, Overland Park, KS, Fishers, IN.

No Illinois city made the Top 25. If fact, you have to go to #43 to find the first Illionois city with Bolingbrook.


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Chicago Neighborhood Tour: Beverly

Why live in Beverly:

Beverly, located on the southwest side of Chicago, has houses located in all price ranges and in every style. This combined with its good schools, beautiful parks, and historic train stations makes Beverly a bargain compared to Chicago's north side.  The traditional feeling can't be beat.


Fun Facts about Beverly:

1. Larger houses in the town can be found along "the ridge," located on Longwood Drive. It's in this location that wealthy Chicagoans built their post- Great Chicago Fire houses. 

2. The great debate: There are questions as to whether the town's name is "Beverly" or "Beverly Hills." The latter name came about in reference to the hills that make up the town.  

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Best Block in America: West Dundee

The residents of West Dundee, IL have reason to celebrate. "Good Morning America" just named a neighborhood in the village as the best block in America. Community residents from all over submitted to the contest, but this picture-perfect town was a cut above the rest. Here at Homes Plus we couldn't be prouder -- you go, Illinois!

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Finding Home - the hidden neighborhood of Lakeshore East

Why live in Lakeshore East:

Lakeshore East is truly a 21st century neighborhood. This hidden gem is in the heart of it all, nestled between Michigan Avenue, Lakeshore Drive and Millennium Park. It offers a six-acre park, kids' playground and access to virtually all Chicago has to offer. Whether you're looking to rent or buy, searching for a townhouse, penthouse, or condo, Lakeshore East has something for everyone.

Fun fun facts about Lakeshore East:

  1. Aqua, one of the high rises in the neighborhood, was designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects to look like water is running down the sides. The whole neighborhood has a nautical theme, largely due to its close proximity to Lake Michigan.
  2. This neighborhood's history isn't as glamorous as the buildings and park it now houses. The area was once occupied by abandoned railroad land. What a change!
  3. Former United States Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, recently purchased a condo in the neighborhood at 340 on the Park.

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Chicago Neighborhood Tour: Wrigleyville

Why live in Wrigleyville:

Wrigleyville isn't just for Cubs fans (although they love it too).  This neighborhood has a lot to offer from dining, to nightlife, to shopping, and of course, baseball. Centered around Wrigley Field, it's easily accesible by the red line. Though the neighborhood is a hot spot for young professionals, many families call it home as well. In this baseball-crazed town, game days are a festival for visitors and residents alike!

Fun Facts about Wrigleyville:

  1. Wrigley Field, lovingly refered to by many Cubbies as "The Friendly Confines," is one of the oldest major league baseball parks still in use, second only to Boston's Fenway Park.
  2. If you find yourself hungry for a "cheezebuga" head on over to Wrigleyville and pay your dues. The Billy Goat Tavern was originally located here. Its owner, Billy Sianis, is believed to be the man who placed a curse on the cubs. It also gained fame due to the Saturday Night Live skit.
  3. Didn't get tickets to the game? No problem! Rooftop bleachers are a unique and popular way to watch the cubs in action. There are sixteen buildings in Wrigleyville that offer rooftop seating.

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Chicago Neighborhood Tour: Pilsen

Why live in Pilsen:

Pilsen is southwest of Chicago's loop, an up-and-coming neighborhood known for restaurants such as Nightwood and drink destinations like Simone's on 18th. Colorful murals cover the walls of Pilsen, evidence of both the art and hispanic community. Its great location and affordable homes make Pilsen an ideal spot for anyone wanting to be close to it all!


Fun Facts about Pilsen:

1. It has the largest Hispanic population in Chicago.

2. Pilsen gets its name from its Czechoslovakian roots.

3. A growing term for some living in Pilsen is "Muppies," or "Mexican urban professionals."   

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Chicago Suburban Tour: Oak Park

Why live in Oak Park:

Oak Park has everything ranging from Victorian style houses to more contemporary condos. A sort of "urban suburb," Oak Park's movie theaters, churches, libraries, and school are all easily accesible. Retail, dining and recreation contribute to the town's charm, making Oak Park an ideal spot for your next home!


Fun Facts about Oak Park:

1. Frank Lloyd Wright designed several buidlings and homes in the area, including the Mrs. Gale house, which recently sold for $965,000

2. Oak Park has a history of alcohol prohibition. It wasn't until 1973 that alcohol was allowed to be sold within the city's limits! 

3.  Oak Park is home to the birthplace of popular American writer, Ernest Hemingway.  

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Biking and Buying: Searching for your new home on 2 wheels

I've always been a big believer that the best way to check out a new city is to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement as soon as you get there.  Running through any area is bound to give you a better view of it than you could possibly get flying by it at 30 or more miles per hour in your car.  You may get a friendly hello from locals walking their dogs, peek inside neighborhood businesses as you pass and you'll get a much better view of the hard-to-reach-by-car areas like parks.  I take this approoach when I'm traveling to a new place, but now Chicagoland's Active Transportation Alliance is taking to the streets for a new form of home hunting - they're encouraging house-hunting by bike with two upcoming self-guided bike tour events that will take bikers on a route that includes open houses in different price ranges.

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HomesPlus Behind the Scenes: Lakeshore East

This morning we spent some time in a neighborhood that I didn't even know existed - Lakeshore East.  It came on my radar a couple months ago when Dennis Rodkin named it as one of the great neighborhoods in Chicago in the April and I sat there scratching my head, thinking "where the heck is Lakeshore East??"  So, today I found out.  Long story short, it's a very small urban development smack dab in the middle of the city.  Good views, super cute park space and lots of different types of housing options.  See the tour in two weeks on HomesPlus, but here are some behind the scenes pics of our shoot.

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