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A great front porch on a newer Park Ridge home

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Joe Zekas

20 years on the North Shore without going native.

401 S Vine, Park Ridge, Illinois

Park Ridge ranks alongside Evanston and Oak Park as one of the jewels of Chicago's adjacent suburbs. Its Maine South High School, however, far outranks Oak Park River Forest High School and Evanston Township high school on state achievement tests.

Park Ridge is closest to Oak Park in the loyalty it inspires among long-time residents, many of them second and third-generation Park Ridgers. Newcomers, move-ups and returning residents can choose from a wide range of homes, apartments and condos. Single-family home prices start in the mid-$100s for a fixer-upper and peak well over $1 million.

Park Ridge, unlike Oak Park and Evanston, saw a great deal of teardown and new construction activity during the past decade, some of it tasteful, some in the style that can only be called Eastern European Norman Mediterranean McMansion.

I'm a sucker for a great front porch, so I find the newer (built in 2002) home at 401 S. Vine, pictured above, more appealing than most. It features 4 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths and a 3-car garage. It's a few minutes walk from downtown Park Ridge and the Metra station. The home is priced at $1,075,000 and listed with Coldwell Banker.

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