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Beverly

Beverly is a southwest side Chicago neighborhood that has long been a bastion for middle class families. With more of a suburban than urban feel to it (especially because of its subdivision-like residential streets with wide lots and circular drives), Beverly is an oasis of quiet comfort in the midst of city life. Large mansions mixed in with two-story single-family dwellings and split-level cottages have made Beverly a very attractive option for families of all sizes and budgets.

Beverly has a couple of distinctive characteristics and attractions that make it a unique community. For one, the neighborhood lays claim to the highest elevated point in Chicago. The ridge that runs through Beverly once formed a part of an ancient lake and is now the loftiest land crest in the city. Of course, you can get much higher up by taking an elevator ride in a skyscraper, but despite its lack of high-rises, the neighborhood has the uppermost summit in town! If that doesn't fascinate, perhaps Beverly Unitarian Church (a.k.a. Givens Castle) will. It is an exact replica of an Irish castle built in 1886 by Robert Givens. and it's right here, in the heart of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. Givens erected the castle for his Irish bride, who tragically died before ever being carried over the threshold. Local legend has it that Givens' bride still haunts the place.

As if castles and prehistoric lakes weren't enough, Beverly has several great parks where residents can enjoy Chicago's warmer months. Graver Park and Jackie Robinson Park have plenty of activities to offer the locals, from softball and baseball to the Chicago Park District's "Movies in the Park" program. Ridge Park runs along the "shoreline" of the aforementioned, long-gone glacial Lake Chicago and provides locals access to a gymnasium and swimming pool.

We're going to take a quick intermission for a little history lesson here ... Unpopulated for much of the nineteenth century, the Beverly area was annexed to the Washington Heights community in 1874. The arrival of the Rock Island Railroad and the subsequent Beverly Hills station at 91st Street gave the neighborhood its name as well as its identity as a distinct neighborhood. Originally settled by white European Protestants, Irish immigrants soon became the prominent cultural influence in Beverly, which is why the neighborhood is now home to the annual South Side Irish Parade, held the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. The parade runs down Western Avenue from 103rd Street in Beverly to 115th Street in Morgan Park and attracts thousands of revelers every year, regardless of their ethnic heritage. Speaking of partying, alcohol is not sold in Beverly, due to the neighborhood's designation as a dry precinct. Not a problem, though. That just means you'll have to cross Western Avenue to get a drink at any of the fine taverns and bars on the other side of the street, like Cork & Kerry, one of the many Irish pubs in the area. Cork & Kerry is a fave among locals and features one of the best beer gardens on Chicago's south side. End Zone is always filled with fans rooting for the hometown heroes, which, because you're on the south side, always means the White Sox (and not the Cubs). And because you're in a strong community of Emerald Isle ancestors, this place tends to attract a lot of Notre Dame fans and alumni who like to cheer for the Fighting Irish as well.

There are many great restaurants and bar/grills in Beverly (minus the alcoholic beverages). For 50+ years, Fox's Beverly Pub has called this neighborhood home and is one of the few Irish-Italian restaurants in Chicago. At Fox's, the Italian side is the great pizza and pasta and the Irish side is the famous corned beef. Franconello's Italian Restaurant is another Beverly favorite. Large portions are prepared in the traditional Italian style. There is even a table available in the kitchen so guests can be seated closer to the action and witness the chef preparing their meals. Spacious and comfortable, with great food and service, the family-owned Ken's Restaurant is a hit with older Beverly residents who are nostalgic for the supper club days. For fast food options there are several choices on hand whose very names sum up their menus. Orbit Grill & Subs, Top-Notch Beefburgers, and Dan's Hot Dogs provide hungry locals with tasty hot grub, cooked quick and usually on a bun.

The CTA has several bus lines serving Beverly. The South Halsted Street bus route and the Western and Ashland buses run north/south through the neighborhood, while the West 103rd operates east/west. The Metra Rock Island District Line has seven stops in Beverly at 107th, 103rd, 99th, 95th and 91st streets as well as stops at Washington Heights and Longwood.