The Community of Beverly

The neighborhood of Beverly, less commonly though sometimes known as Beverly Hills, is a quiet bedroom community located approximately 12 miles to the south and west of the Chicago Loop.  Homes are spacious yet quaint and situated on large lots along wide, tree-lined streets.  Compared to the crowded

The Driscoll House, seated on the ridge itself. This house is currently the home of the Ridge Historical Society.

and bustling streets of the city, filled with condo and apartment buildings, it’s easy to forget that this neighborhood is actually still inside the proper city limits. It truly feels like a suburb or small town, far removed from the squeal and shriek of trains and the honking of traffic along Western Avenue.

Chicago is a very flat city, yet Beverly has one whopper of a hill: rising anywhere between fifty and eighty feet above the surrounding terrain, the ridge is a souvenir left by an ice age glacier that went off course.  This ridge actually sat as an island above the glacial lakes that covered the rest of Chicago.  For most of the settled existence of Chicago, the ridge was used as a Native American trail and later a grazing ground for livestock.  Farms in the area were scattered about, and real settlement took a long time to get going, with some of the first houses of the modern era being built after 1890.  In fact, the area south of 99th Street and west of Western Avenue remained prairie land as late as the 1940s and 50s (Ency. Chi. Hist.).

Beverly Hills 91st Street Metra

Beverly was annexed into the City of Chicago in 1890 as part of Washington Heights.  Soon enough, the residents longed to be set apart from their neighbors, and they petitioned the Rock Island Railroad to name all the stations located in Beverly Hills- 6 in total- after the neighborhood.  The railroad agreed.  It is still uncertain what Beverly itself was named after.  Legend holds that it was named after the childhood home of the wife of one of the early residents- Beverly, Massachusetts.  Others say it was named after Beverly Hills, California.

Modern Beverly is beautiful.  There’s an historical architectural masterpiece around every corner, and the Ridge Historic District does a great job of giving them signage to make sure they are noticed.  A quick trip down the Dan Ryan Expressway or a short ride on the Rock Island line from Ogilvie will get you just where you’d want to go.  One can easily spend the entire day here, but be careful.  Time moves slower in Beverly, but the city itself never stops!


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