Casually referred to as “the Manor” by residents, Ravenswood Manor is a pocketsize neighborhood in the far north Albany Park community area of Chicago. Located on the western bank of the Chicago River, the small community offers a picturesque landscape and a tranquil lifestyle that caters to families who like a bit of space and a home to call their own. Extra-wide lots and beautiful houses, some with riverside property bumps Ravenswood Manor up in value, compared to the surrounding real estate.
Ravenswood Manor Facts
Location: about 8 miles northwest of the Loop
Boundaries: Lawrence Avenue to the north, the North Branch of the Chicago River to the east, Montrose Avenue to the south and Sacramento Avenue to the west
Bordering Neighborhoods: Ravenswood, Albany Park, Irving Park, Ravenswood Gardens, North Center
Then and Now
Between the 1870s and the turn of the century, Ravenswood Manor and the surrounding area was little more than farmland, inhabited by probably only a few hundred families. In the course of a generation change came at a snail’s pace, as the neighborhood transitioned from an agrarian community into a sparsely populated suburb with little in the way of infrastructure. In 1889, when the city of Chicago annexed Ravenswood Manor along with the rest of the Jefferson Township, changes were slowly starting to take place.
Until the 1890s, there were scarcely even roads connecting the area to central Chicago, which kept Ravenswood Manor fairly isolated. Then, an electric streetcar started operating along Lawrence Avenue starting in 1896, connecting Ravenswood Manor with the rest of the north side. The next big break for the neighborhood came about a decade later, when the Ravenswood 'El' (now known as the Brown Line) was unveiled. The public transit train received its nickname from the portions of elevated track that ran high above the streets. It took nearly five years to build and cost developers far more than anticipated, but it created an easy passage between Ravenswood Manor and the rest of the city. Posters in the train cars advertised residential properties in the area, and within a few years the area experienced a serious housing boom and blossomed into a flourishing residential neighborhood.
Today, Ravenswood Manor maintains a 'small town' atmosphere, as much as any neighborhood in Chicago can. Comprised of merely five square blocks, the community consists mostly of tree-lined streets chock-full of brick bungalows and medium-sized homes. And probably Ravenswood Manor’s most notable resident, the sitting governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich lives in a bungalow on Sunnyside Avenue, who can sometimes be spotted jogging through the neighborhood with his security detail.
The only park within the boundaries of Ravenswood Manor is the Ravenswood Manor Playlot Park (4626 N Manor Ave). The tiny park has gone through many different incarnations over the years, starting as a garden, which was later replaced with replaced with a soft-surface playground.
While many Ravenswood Manor residents with young children visit the small community playlot, other folks benefit from the neighborhood’s proximity to the northern edge of a large multi-use park called Horner Park (2741 W Montrose Ave, 773-478-3499). Horner Park is actually located in the Irving Park neighborhood, right along the North Branch of the Chicago River on the western bank. The setting offers a popular scenic bicycle path that follows the river. One of the largest parks on the Chicago north side at 55 acres, Horner houses five baseball fields, five tennis courts, four soccer fields and four basketball courts.
Ravenswood Manor Real Estate
Ravenswood Manor features plenty of the classic Chicago bungalows characterized by low rooflines, second-story dormers and stone stoops leading up to the front door. Most of these have small side yards with a detached garage accessible by a back alley. In addition to subtle limestone accents and elegantly carved wood front doors, these quaint houses provide a comfortable charm that—although similar from one home to the next—is distinctly unique and desirable. While bungalows are widely common throughout Ravenswood Manor, there is also a wide variety of other architectural styles in the neighborhood, including examples of the Prairie School and Victorian styles, and even a few condo buildings. Green leafy trees edge the properties and well-maintained sidewalks line the grid of residential avenues.
In general, real estate values are higher in Ravenswood Manor than in the surrounding Albany Park, partly because of the extra-wide lots and uncommon riverfront property that’s available there. Most dwellings in the neighborhood are single-family detached homes that range in price from the low $400,000s to over a million dollars, but the average sales price for a three-bedroom house in Ravenswood Manor is $612,000. As for multi-unit housing options, there are both older vintage courtyard condos and contemporary townhomes and half-duplexes to suit your needs. The new constructions tend to cost more with listing prices between $300,000 and $550,000 for a three-bedroom place. You can expect to find other condos starting in the low to mid $200,000s.
What’s on the Menu?
Ravenswood Manor is one of those neighborhoods that’s invested in its residential real estate, and not so much in commercial development. Guess that’s obvious when you see that there is only one real restaurant in the entire neighborhood, but hey, as long as it’s a good one, who’s to mind?
Connected to the spa next door that goes by the same name, the Paradise Restaurant (2910 W Montrose Ave, 773-588-1989) is the only Japanese restaurant in the area, not to mention the only place where Ravenswood Manor residents can go for a sit-down meal. But that’s not the only reason to go there. The sushi is fresh and artistically fashioned, especially the maki, and the portions are generous. The place is pretty quiet and the decor is pretty basic, but the service is prompt and a complimentary plate of cucumber salad and marinated seaweed arrives at your table before you order. The place isn’t usually too busy, but midday is Paradise’s most popular time to come because the lunch specials are a steal—you can walk away with almost as much sushi as the dinner portion for just half the price.
Mark Your Calendar
Every summer, Ravenswood Manor hosts the Chicago Park District’s Summer Concert Series at the Ravenswood Manor Playlot Park, located at Manor and Eastwood avenues. Many of the musicians play folk music, but some jazz, blues, and rock performances make the stage throughout the course of the summer. Local residents and Chicagoans from surrounding neighborhoods all head down to the playlot for a little evening entertainment that the whole family can enjoy. Show times are always on Sunday nights, running from 7 pm to 9 pm, so as not to impede on the kids’ bedtimes. Also, towards the end of the summer there’s usually a talent show at the park, a perfect opportunity to make a fool of yourself in front of your neighbors. Join the folks you run into everyday doing regular things like taking out the garbageor talking the dog for a walk, and see what their wild side is all about. Maybe that couple next door are expert Hula Hooping tricksters who can balance chairs on their heads while juggling bowling pins … well, you never know!
Aside from the quiet neighborhood feel, one of the best features of Ravenswood Manor is the relative ease with which residents are able to travel downtown on the Chicago’s public transportation system. The CTA Brown Line 'El' (called the El for the trains sections of elevated tracks) runs right through the neighborhood and makes a stop at Francisco and Manor avenues. This is only two stops from the end of the line in Albany Park, but in the other direction the train will take you right—about a 30 minute ride into the Loop. One unusual feature of the Brown Line is that once it reaches Ravenswood Manor it’s no longer elevated; instead, the train runs at street level.
Driving is also a perfectly viable option in the neighborhood, as street parking can be found fairly easily and highway access is not too far away—about one mile to the west. It’s also possible to get around by bus in Ravenswood Manor, as the CTA operates busses on along Montrose and Lawrence avenues heading east and west, with stops in the neighborhood at California Avenue.
Ravenswood Manor is pretty small and predominantly residential, so believe it or not, it doesn’t have the most extensive list of neighborhood amenities. Still residents can get some specialty items at the few local establishments.
Gamestop 2754 W Montrose Ave – (773) 539-3625
Victory Furniture 2952 W Montrose Ave – (773) 539-8676
3R Oriental Food Grocery 2714 W Montrose Ave – (773) 478-2599
Paradise Restaurant 2916 W Montrose Ave – (773) 588-1989
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 Ravenswood Manor 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 Ravenswood Manor, 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 Ravenswood Manor, all without ever having to go anywhere.