A southwest side haven of tranquility, Morgan Park's quiet cul-de-sacs and roundabouts are edged with leafy trees, Prairie-style bungalows and beautiful parks, offering families a suburban-esque quality to their big city lifestyle. The community planning commission has seen to it that Morgan Park maintains its historic homes, which include a mix of architectural styles beside the classic, brick Chicago bungalow. Oversized lots surrounded by green grass and verdant vegetation are prime properties in Morgan Park. They are also among the most expensive real estate in the area. Smaller residences, courtyard condominiums and townhomes supply less pricey housing that still boast larger-than-average yards and nearby community playlots. Morgan Parkers enjoy privacy at home, but like to get together at the 410-seat neighborhood arts center for a local play production, film screening or music concert.
Morgan Park FactsLocation: 13 miles southwest of the Loop
Beverly, West Pullman, Washington Heights, West Morgan Park, Roseland
Boundaries: Western Avenue on the west, 107th Street on the north, Halsted on the east and 119th Street and 115th Street on the south
Then and Now
Like many others Thomas Morgan was an early English settler in the south Chicago area. However, unlike the others, Morgan’s desire to establish a homestead led to much more than the simple deed of planting some roots and building a house to call 'home.' In 1844 he purchased the land that would become the town that assumed his name, and later become one of the many Chicago city neighborhoods.
Mr. Morgan passed the land on to his heirs when he died and it is from them that the Blue Island Land and Building Company acquired it in 1869. This company began developing the area for residential and commercial purposes. To this end the company donated land for the Mount Vernon Military Academy (present day Morgan Park Academy) and even persuaded the Baptist Theological Union to relocate to the area which counted William Rainey Harper among its faculty—Harper would go on to become the first president of the University of Chicago. In 1882 the town was incorporated. Unlike the stringent grid most of Chicago’s city streets adhere to, Morgan Park is an anomaly. The layout was designed in the manner of an English country town. Small parks, roundabouts and curving nonlinear streets give the neighborhood a distinct English feel.
In contrast to many other former suburbs of Chicago, Morgan Park was late in its annexation to the city. It wasn’t until 1914 when this hotly contested union took place after years in the courts and much protest from Morgan Park residents. It was the promise of police and fire stations and better schools that won voters over prompting them to finally approve the annexation.
Morgan Park started out as a Baptist community and was home to many Protestant churches in the late 1880s. Between 1930 and 1960 Morgan Park’s population grew to include Irish Catholics and a large number of African American families. Today, Morgan Park is a stable and diverse community that good old Mr. Morgan would be proud of.
Tucked in amid winding residential streets, Morgan Park has countless green spaces and designated park areas for residents to enjoy the outdoors and have a chance to kick off the shoes and wriggle grass between the toes. Back in 1930, times were different and segregation was widespread, and Morgan Park was no exception. The neighborhood’s east side had a growing population of African Americans and a growing need for recreation space. That’s when Ada Park (11250 S Ada St, 312-747-6002) was established. Much has changed since those days, including the park’s list of amenities and facilities. Now, Morgan Park residents of any background can stroll along the beautiful walking trails, take a swim in the pool, play a game of doubles on the tennis courts, or kick the ball around the soccer field. Ada Park also has an auditorium, a gym, baseball diamonds, and meeting and assembly rooms on hand. And, for those long summer days when the kids are out of school—you can send those little bundles of joy down to the children’s day camps—then maybe you’ll have a chance to enjoy summer vacation, too.
After the post-World War II baby boom, local residents were concerned about children playing in the streets due to limited neighborhood park space. It was a woman named Mary Riggins who wrote a letter to the Park District alerting them to the situation, which subsequently led to the creation of Blackwelder Park (11500 S Homewood Ave, 312-747-6002). Named after early Morgan Park resident Gertrude Blackwelder—said to have been the first woman to cast a vote in the State of Illinois—the park was formerly a rundown baseball field purchased by the Chicago Park District in 1974 and transformed into a viable place to play and commune with nature. Not forgetting the humble ground upon which it was built, the park features a revamped baseball diamond in addition to a soft surface playground. In the summertime, Blackwelder becomes a popular venue for families and residents of all ages who transport blankets, folding chairs and pre-popped popcorn to the premises for a fun-filled night of 'Movies in the Park.'
The parks in Morgan Park neighborhood all have their history, and Cooper Park (11712 S Ada Street, 312-747-6096) isn’t one to go against the grain. Named for Jack Cooper, one of the nation’s first African American radio personalities, this 4.3-acre park got its start in 1975 when it was officially opened on land the Chicago Park District had acquired from neighboring West Pullman in 1966. By the time Cooper made his Chicago debut in 1929 with his radio show The All-Negro Hour, he had already enjoyed a career as a boxer and semi-pro baseball player in addition to having broken the color barrier at a Washington D.C. radio station. Keeping with Jack Cooper’s sporting legacy, the park features baseball diamonds (of course), and tennis and basketball courts. Youngsters can attend the park’s day camps, which keep kids in motion and active with a variety of options.
Morgan Park Real Estate
The Beverly Area Planning Association has worked hard to promote Beverly and neighboring Morgan Park to potential homebuyers. The group was successful in getting the city to grant landmark status to a section of the neighborhood’s many Prairie-style bungalows. And the association’s home tours have encouraged people to make Morgan Park their home. Detached single-family dwellings in Morgan Park include large houses set on sprawling, gated lots. Some homes were designed in the French chalet-style construction with peaked rooflines, brick exterior and tall chimneys. Other homes include nicely-kept brick bungalows surrounded by leafy trees and green yards. There are some new construction houses as well, but more common are older ranches and a variety of other housing designs in both one- and two-stories. In addition to handsome, well-kept residences Morgan Park does have some less attractive, rundown properties that would require some a bit of TLC. Attached multi-unit housing in this south side Chicago neighborhood is comprised mainly of vintage courtyard condos, new-construction townhomes with attached garages, and older brick low-rise condos. The average sales price for a two- or three-bedroom condo or attached housing unit in Morgan Park is $148,000. You can find a place for as low as $60,000, but the high end reaches into the mid $200,000s. For a three-bedroom single-family detached home, the average sales price is around $155,000. If you are looking for something bigger with more bedrooms, the average price goes up to around $365,000 with the high point in the mid $800,000s.
What’s on the Menu?
Morgan Park has a variety of culinary choices for residents. Because we are nice, and because we really like food, we are inclined to tell you about a few of the neighborhood’s bests.
Beverly Woods Restaurant (11532 S Western Ave, 773- 233-7700) has been a staple of the Morgan Park dining scene for over 50 years, and judging from the antiquated sign out front, the place looks like a relic from a bygone era. Much of this south side neighborhood has maintained a 1950s suburban feel—well, this classic eatery is no different. More of a full-service dining complex than just a simple restaurant, Beverly Woods has four banquet rooms for private gatherings in addition to housing McGann’s Pub which features a very reasonably priced daily lunch buffet. The menu has a wide variety of American banquet fair—roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and what the restaurant modestly calls their 'world famous' dinner rolls. We’ll let you decide that one for yourself. Local residents know the service at Beverly Woods to be friendly and accommodating—perhaps just the thing that keeps’em coming back after all these years.
As the name would suggest, Lume’s Pancake House (11611 S Western Ave, 773-233-2323) does pancakes best, but it also does waffles, desserts and other high-calorie breakfast options just as well! Also open for lunch—but not dinner (they close as 4pm)—this bustling, family-owned Morgan Park restaurant really packs them in during peak breakfast hours. You may have to wait a few minutes for a table during the rush periods but we think it’s worth it, so stick around.
If you’re like us, you love cruising through a drive-thru and loading up the car window with a tray of crispy french fries, a juicy hamburger and a heavenly milkshake once in a while. But let’s face it, aside from fast food chains, drive-thrus are a pretty scarce commodity. That’s why were glad there’s Nicky’s Drive-Thru (11500 S Western Ave, 773-238-2855). Sticking with that ‘50s theme the neighborhood has magnificently preserved, it only seems natural that Morgan Park would have its own drive-thru restaurant. Nicky’s menu runs the gamut for less-than-healthy, but darn tasty, food choices like hot dogs, gyros, burgers and lots of fried goodness that is sure to give you your fast food fix.
Let’s not forget we are in Chicago, and around here, locals are fanatics about their pizza. While many like to get the full experience of sitting down in a pizzeria and waiting at the table for their pie to be ready, not everyone is in that frame of mind. If pick-up or delivery are your preferred ways to get your eat on, Milano’s (10943 S Western Ave, 773-445-4010) is your ticket. Dining in isn’t an option but Milano’s customers aren’t complaining. These guys load on the cheese and let you have it both ways: thin crust or deep dish. For Chinese takeout in Morgan Park, we like Canton Inn (11824 S Western Ave, 773-233-5259). This carryout spot offers all the time-honored Chinese, Cantonese and Szechuan favorites.
Night on the Town
The south side is known for its neighborhood bars and, like many Morgan Park residents, they’re often of the Irish persuasion. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow may have started the Great Chicago Fire, but Mrs. O’Leary’s Dubliner (10910 S Western Ave, 773-238-0784) is the ultimate place to douse the flames with a few finely-brewed ales. It may not be much to look at on the outside, but step inside Dubliner and you are instantly transported to a pub as authentic as the ones in Dublin itself. Wood booths and dark green walls, Irish music on the jukebox and dartboards dimpled from years of use, will all make you feel like you’ve crossed the pond. Shamrock Express (10934 S Western Ave, 773-239-3423) is an unassuming neighborhood Irish bar in Morgan Park that caters to regulars interested in watching sports, talking about sports, and engaging in the sport of drinking.
While the south side Irish bars are abundant, the 1460 Club (1460 W 115th St, 773-233-4604) exudes a different sort of vibe. The club hosts card tournaments and has a jukebox that plays the Blues. Chandler’s Lounge (11848 S Western Ave, 773-445-3262) has been in the neighborhood for over 30 years, although the bar has changed hands in recent times. While the name remained the same, a new paint job spiffed up the place a bit. Chandler’s has the distinction of being the last bar in the city when you’re heading south on Western Avenue. Cullinan’s Stadium Club (11610 S Western Ave, 773-445-5620) is a jock hangout where local softball teams gather after the game to celebrate or console one another with the bar’s good hamburgers and cheap domestic beer ($10 buckets of Bud on Thursdays!). Cullinan’s also has darts and a wide variety of sporting events on the TV for other diversions to take your mind of the daily routine. And like most south side watering holes, this is White Sox country, so here’s a tip: Don’t cheer for the Cubs.
Morgan Park has no shortage of cultural events—both on the stage and in the classroom—inviting residents to enjoy live performances while encouraging them to explore and express their own talents.
Beverly Arts Center (2407 W 111th St 773-445-3838) has been a staple in the Beverly/Morgan Park area for over 30 years and in 2002 the Center moved into their new 40,000-square-foot home. This not-for-profit arts facility features a 410-seat auditorium, an art gallery, music studios and classrooms for use in their non-accredited curriculum of more than 100 classes. Here Chicagoans can learn about art, music, dance and theater as classes are offered for people of all ages—kids, teenagers and adults—and there is even oil painting and tai chi for seniors. The BAC hosts of the Irish Film Festival and the Beverly Theatre Guild, which has been producing plays in the Beverly neighborhood since 1963.
Mark Your Calendar
Speaking of culture, Morgan Park is the place to celebrate your Irish Heritage—everyone’s Irish at least one day of the year.
A south side annual tradition held the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, the South Side Irish Parade (773-393-8687) has its origin in the nearby Gresham neighborhood where the parade first appeared in the early 1950s. The St. Patrick’s Day parade was moved downtown by the first Mayor Daley in 1955 where it gained a higher profile and more viewers. Although that parade continues to this day, a smaller version of the original was started up again in 1979. They may dye the Chicago River green for St. Paddy’s day but just come down to Morgan Park if you want to see a real river of green as the audience along this southern parade route is head-to-toe in Irish spirit. Known to south siders as the real (and a wee bit rowdier) St. Patrick’s Day parade, Western Avenue succumbs to pedestrian gridlock—engulfed in a sea of emerald-clad spectators sporting their shamrocks with pride and chugging their Guinness with glee.
Getting in and out and around Morgan Park is a cinch. We’ll give you the rundown of our preferred routes. Starting with the Chicago Transit Authority’s bus system, Morgan Park residents can take the #8A Halsted Street bus north to catch the Metra train (Chicago’s commuter line) at Rock Island Gresham station, or south to the West Pullman station. For destinations east, use the #119 Michigan Avenue bus to get to the 95th Street/Dan Ryan Red Line station which will take you over to the Loop and Navy Pier. Although driving and parking are generally not a problem in this Chicago neighborhood, walking or bike riding is a really relaxing way to get around Morgan Park’s curvy cul-de-sacs and roundabouts.
School’s in Session
More information on Chicago Public Schools is available at our Chicago Guide Schools page, but here is a list of schools in the Morgan Park neighborhood.
Clissold Elementary 2350 W 110th Pl – (773) 535-2560
Esmond Elementary 1865 W Montvale Ave – (773) 535-2650
Higgins 11710 S Morgan St – (773) 535-5625
Shoop Academy of Math & Science 1460 W 112th St – (773) 535-2715
Whistler Elementary 11533 S Ada St – (773) 535-5560
Morgan Park High School 1744 W Pryor Ave – (773) 535-2550
Morgan Park Academy 2153 W 111th St – (773) 881-6700
Below is a short list of some places in Morgan Park that will help you cover those basic needs without having to go to far from home
Walker Branch 11071 S Hoyne Ave – (312) 747-1920
Police Station 22nd District 1900 W Monterey Ave – (312) 745-0710
Ada Park 11250 S Ada St – (312) 747-6002
Almond Park 2234 W 115th St – (312) 747-6136
Blackwelder Park 11500 S.Homewood Ave – (312) 747-6002
Bohn Park 1966 W 111th St – (312) 747-6136
Cooper Park 11712 S Ada Street – (312) 747-6096
Crescent Park 2230 W 108th Pl – (312) 747-6163
Gano Park 1033 W. 117th St – (312) 742-PLAY
Lamb Playlot Park 1400 W 109th St – (312) 747-6002
Morgan Field Park 11710 S Morgan St – (312) 742-PLAY
Prospect Gardens Park 10940 S Prospect Ave – (312) 747-6163
Morgan Park 1805 W Monterey Ave (800) ASK-USPS
Walgreen’s 11833 S Western Ave – (773) 233-2245
CVS 11055 S Western Ave – (773) 445-1798
Jewel-Osco 11414 S Halsted St – (773) 928-4600
Judaugwe Incorporated 10928 S Western Ave – (773) 233-4500
Curves 11128 S Halsted St – (773) 264-2686
Looking for something to do in Morgan Park? Check out the list below for just a sampling of your dining and entertainment options.
Beverly Arts Center 2407 W 111th St – (773) 445-3838
1460 Club 1460 W 115th St – (773) 233-4604
Chandler’s Lounge 11848 S Western Ave – (773) 445-3262
Cullinan’s Stadium Club 11610 S Western Ave – (773) 445-5620
Mrs. O’Leary’s Dubliner 10910 S Western Ave – (773) 238-0784
Shamrock Express 10934 S Western Ave – (773) 239-3423
Best Bar-B-Q 1648 W 115th St – (773) 239-1522
Beverly Woods Restaurant 11532 S Western Ave – (773) 233-7700
Home of the Hoagy #1 1312 W 111th St – (773) 238-7171
Lume’s Pancake House 11611 S Western Ave – (773) 233-2323
Nicky’s Drive-Thru 11500 S Western Ave – (773) 238-2855
Milano’s 10943 S Western Ave – (773) 445-4010
Canton Inn 11824 S Western Ave – (773) 233-5259
Beverly Bean Company 2734 W 111th St – (773) 239-6688
Let’s Get Poppin’ 11758 S Western Ave – (773) 779-6132
Our neighborhoods guide is meant to give potential homebuyers a general overview of what every Chicago neighborhood has to offer and what makes it unique from the rest-and believe us, no two neighborhoods are the same! Searching for a new home isn’t just about finding that prefect condo or house, making sure the setting fits your style and needs is just as important. And whether Morgan Park neighborhood is your ideal locale to settle down, or you’ve found the scene here just isn’t your cup of tea, we’re here to help you find the right place to make sure your home purchase a is total success. From the type of restaurants to the outdoor venues to the local schools, every detail is an essential factor in what makes a property of dream home. By utilizing our comprehensive accounts of each community, such as this one for Morgan Park, we hope to provide a detailed picture of not only the residential real estate available in the area, but also the additional features of the neighborhood. A quick glance and you’ll know exactly what shopping, dining, entertainment and resources are in Morgan Park, all without ever having to go anywhere.