Situated on the northwest side of Chicago, Forest Glen was originally inhabited by Potawatomie Indians in the 1700s. The tribe set up wigwams not far from the North Branch of the Chicago River where the surrounding forests provided everything they needed to live off the land. Over the years, urban developers built up the area encompassed by Foster and Laramie avenues on the south and west and the Forest Glen and LaBagh wood preserves to the north and east. So today, Forest Glen is a tiny pocket of residential development, carved out of a sprawling forested area that extends north for miles. As one of the city's more suburban communities, Forest Glen has a tranquil appeal that has attracted many Chicagoans to its beautiful tree-lined blocks.
Comprised mostly of single-family homes, Forest Glen's architectural housing characteristics are as pleasing to the eye as the fresh air is to the nose. Street after street offers home buyers a lovely combination of mid-century ranches, brick bungalows, English Tudors and petite cottages that look like they came right out of a fairy tale. Some might question whether Forest Glen is truly part of Chicago, and not a neighboring suburb.
A bit of history: The land where Forest Glen stands now was given to Billy Caldwell by in the United States government in 1828 for his role as mediator between the States and Native American groups. Later, the territory changed hands again when Captain William Hazelton was given the tracts as a Civil War settlement. The second owner ruled with an iron fist, banning drinking, smoking, and other "evil deeds" and personally screened each family before allowing them to move in (practices no longer enforced in Forest Glen, thankfully!).
The 550 or so families who currently live in the vicinity enjoy some of the largest wilderness areas in the city. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County's Forest Glen Woods does an outstanding job of offering nature lovers an ideal place to hang out. Whether you have some time to yourself to go biking, walking or bird watching, or are dishing out coleslaw and tuna salad at a family reunion, you'll find convenient parking, restrooms, and picnic tables under roofed shelters at your service.
The Forest Glen Community Club welcomes residents to join the festivities at its annual events, which include a Halloween in the Glen party, Young at Heart social clubs and summer garage sales. Much smaller in size than the Community Club grounds, but still a favorite among local families, is the Forest Glen Playlot. This little patch of grass and playground has been keeping children busy since 1933 and for kids fascinated by trains, the Forest Glen Metra passes right by the park so your aspiring conductor can watch the choo-choos come and go with weekday commuters. If you're a grown up kid and appreciate beautiful architecture, a tour of Forest Glen's incredible variety of houses can provide a lovely afternoon that boasts properties similar to those in Better Homes & Gardens. Enjoy the details of the cottages, brick bungalows, Georgian-style residences and old-fashioned row houses, each with manicured green landscapes and lawns.
Once you've found a home in Forest Glen, chances are you wouldn't trade it for a downtown high-rise - not even for the view!