The village of Oak Park is rich in history and natural beauty, with the bustling Chicago Loop just minutes away. The 52,524 residents take pride in their attractive neighborhoods, thriving businesses and award-winning schools. Many famous residents hail from Oak Park, including authors Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Rice Burroughs, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and McDonald`s founder Ray Kroc. Hemingway’s childhood home was recently opened as a museum, and two national historic districts are located in the town.
Oak Park is also famous for its unique architecture, boasting more than 300 noteworthy buildings. Architectural bicycle tours have become a popular summer activity, and the village brings residents together through dozens of attractions and special events. A farmers market features seasonal fruits and vegetables from a four-state area, and the Day in Our Village festival features food, fellowship, and entertainment. Since 1984, Oak Park has been recognized as a “Tree City, USA,” and the real estate market is as varied as the people who live there.
Oak Park schoolchildren attend District 97 elementary schools and District 200 high schools. The village also has a variety of day-care centers, preschools and private schools to choose from. Besides the public school system, there is an extensive Catholic school system, two Montessori schools, and Christian and Lutheran schools.
Oak Park and River Forest have three outstanding high schools that offer excellent college preparatory programs, as well as a variety of programs to meet the needs of the community. There are two four-year colleges located within a half-mile of the village, and four universities are within eight miles of Oak Park.
Oak Park was originally occupied by the Pottawatomie, Sac and Fox Indians. An English family moved to the area in 1835, and by 1848, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad brought more residents to the area. The village was named Oak Park after the local post office, and the railway station soon shared the name as well. The village of Oak Park was incorporated in 1902.
Prairie School designs are prevalent in Oak Park along with Victorian houses and homes in other classic styles. Condominiums and townhouses start just below $100,000 and reach up to $600,000. Single-family detached homes start around $200,000 and can exceed $1 million for estate properties with panoramic views. Land and lots for custom development are limited.
Oak Park is a friendly community where residents can be found shopping at the farmers market, watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, and swimming at Rehm Park and Ridgeland Commons pools. In the winter, neighbors shovel each other’s driveways, and in the summer, they play games and dine out during the plentiful block parties that take place each weekend.
New residents are welcomed each June during the Day in Our Village festival. The popular event, which is held at Scoville Park, features more than 100 activities and information booths to help “newbies” get acquainted with their neighbors.