Kenwood Real Estate
The Kenwood community area is bounded by 43rd Street on the north, Hyde Park Boulevard (5100 south) on the south, Cottage Grove Avenue (800 east) on the west, and Lake Michigan on the east. Kenwood began to be developed over 150 years ago as an outside-the-city area of single-family houses and vacation homes on large lots. It is still almost exclusively residential. Kenwood is now, famously, the home of President Obama and his family.
In the 1850s, 39th Street was the southern boundary of Chicago. At that time a few individuals bought huge parcels south of the city limits and built country estates. One of them, John A Kennicott, named his estate Kenwood. That name was given to the railroad passenger stop of newly-developed line of the Illinois Central Railroad. Through the last half of the 19th century, the huge Kenwood parcels were gradually subdivided into large home sites. The 1889 annexation of Hyde Park Township—of which Kenwood was a part—made Kenwood a part of the city.
The feeling of the area was suburban; people lived here to avoid the congestion of city life. Wealthy residents commissioned major architects to design lavish Kenwood houses. Some multi-unit properties were constructed, mostly between the 1890s and 1920s, but single-family houses have always predominated.
The first half of the 20th century brought population shifts, as the wealthy began to move to other select areas, such as the Gold Coast or the suburbs. Large houses began to be divided into apartments or made into rooming houses. Kenwood south of 47th Street, possibly because of many of those owners’ associations with the University of Chicago, fared better than the area north of 47th Street. South Kenwood, in the 1950s and 1960s, saw major battles to maintain the single-family quality and zoning of the area. Those successful battles led to the city’s designation, in 1979, of a large portion of South Kenwood as the "Kenwood Landmark District." But the battles and deterioration continued north of 47th Street.
In the 1980s, more attention was focused on the preservation and redevelopment of North Kenwood. In 1993, the city designated the "North Kenwood District" centered on the 4500 block of Berkeley Avenue plus 100 surrounding structures of architectural significance. And that preservation and redevelopment has been phenomenally successful. Today, North Kenwood rivals many areas of the city as a residential destination.
Housing in Kenwood
The list of prominent architects represented in Kenwood is astounding, as is the variety of styles in which they designed. From every sort of imposing revival style through Prairie School to contemporary, they’re all to be seen. Single-family homes (both freestanding and attached) predominate, but some apartment buildings are here, too. West of the Illinois Central (now Metra line) in Kenwood, the multi-unit buildings are almost all low-rise or walk-up. East of the Metra is an assortment of vintage elevator buildings, both condominium and cooperative, along with some rental buildings.
Some notable sights are in Kenwood: the Blackstone Public Library at 4904 S. Lake Park, K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Temple at 1100 E. Hyde Park (a designated Chicago Landmark), and Madison Park (one of only three remaining private parks in the city). But most awesome is to walk or drive up and down Kenwood’s streets and marvel at the unmatched and astounding array of architectural styles that are still here.
Kenwood Single Family Homes
Kenwood Condos / Townhomes
Kenwood Multi-Family Homes
Other Neighborhood Information
Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Loop, South Shore and Woodlawn