November 15, 2010

Early Description of Ravenswood, Chicago, 1893.

From John J. Flinn's book Chicago, the marvelous city of the West: a history, an enyclopedia, and a guide, originally published in 1893.

Ravenswood. Situated on the Milwaukee division of the Chicago & North Western railway, 5 miles from the City Hall. Its contiguity to the city makes it a very desirable residence suburb for Chicago people whose business demands their close attention. The town had its origin in the formation of a
syndicate organized in 1868; L. A. Willard. Martin Van Ajlen, Judge G. M. Wilson, D. A. Jones, S. Hodges, C. P. Leland, C. T. Brown, A. F. Seerberger and M. Ladel being its principal promoters. The town was named after a village in New Jersey. Ravenswood has nothing in its history to particularly distinguish it from other suburban towns. Until 1886 it gave no promise of becoming so populous and popular a suburb. But few houses were built by the syndicate. Mr. Leland was at that time auditor of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana roads, and through him scores of lots were sold to the employes of the road. Many of them had hardly settled there when they were compelled to move. The road consolidated with the Lake Shore and the general offices were moved to Cleveland, Ohio. This
depopulated the town and it became a veritable "deserted village." Following closely came the panic of 1873, leaving it deader than ever. It remained so until the country intervening filled up and the city expanded. Annexation did wonders for Ravenswood. Since that eventful time the town has been given most all the modern improvements. Every street has been macadamized and presents a broad, pleasant and shady thoroughfare. The town has been connected with the Lake View gas system. The Lake View High School is located at the southeast corner of the town. It is one of the completest schools in outfit and thoroughness of training in the country. Besides this there are two excellent graded schools. Four denominations have found homes in Ravenswood and have built fine houses of worship. In 1882 the
citizens formed a public library association and built a two-story, plain stone, library building. It now contains a well-selected library, which is open to the public every evening. There is a hall in the building that is used for public entertainments.

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