HAHAHAHA BITCH IS BACK!! (Actually, I had this written months ago but decided to upload it)
I constantly tell all you lovely people that, but since I’m working from home (as many of you are also, I’m sure), I have nothing else to do but use this site as a creative outlet. So here I am again, with no shame, back to attempt to entertain all you lovely people! Don’t you feel so lucky?! I hope you are all doing well these days, maintaining social distancing and, for the love of Catholic Jesus, wearing a mask(you down with CDC? Yeah, you know me!). I’ve been good; aside from feeling that every day is still March 16 (the day yours truly got sent home), I am doing pretty swell. I have adjusted to the new norm, learned to love working from home, lost some weight (fuck that quarantine 15), learned some new skills, and rediscovered a love of my proverbial backyard.
So I’m taking you on a stroll to a place that is very near and dear to my heart…..MY childhood neighborhood. So buckle up as I take you on a not-so-far journey from my apartment to the neighborhood that I called home for 90% of my life; brace yourself; we are off to West Ridge!
West Ridge, called by many West Rogers Park, is a neighborhood on Chicago’s far north side. One of Chicago’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods is a shining beacon of middle-class Chicago in an ever more expensive north side and a place that I move to at the tender age of 2. If you want to know what year that yeah, well bitch you straight outta luck because a gentleman never tells his age 😉
Settled as a separate village in the 1840s, it was filled with immigrants from Catholic Europe, mainly beer-loving Luxembourgers, Germans, and Irish. It was a small, rural village mostly of farmers who grew flowers in greenhouses and the very practical vegetable, cabbages. It would survive as a separate community until April 4, 1893, when the change occurred in the form of……….Annexation!
Chicago needed people, A LOT of people (one million people) to be exact, to host a World’s Fair. So Chicago did the most logical thing…….like a bitch shopping the clearance rack at Target, she went on a shopping spree to annex its many neighboring villages and townships. In most areas, the annexation went smoothly……not so much in West Ridge. Legend has it that the farmers who West Ridge knew how to save for a rainy day, and what rainier day could there be than losing their independence as a village? So before the City of Chicago taking over their treasure, the leaders of West Ridge threw one Hell of a kegger, spending ALL the treasury of luscious libations…….the city of Chicago did not receive one red cent from the Village of West Ridge, talk about some petty bitches after my own heart!
The very famous Pratt Boulevard
Pure 1910’s quasi-suburban architecture
Grand homes were built as “country homes” for those wishing to escape Chicago’s central neighborhoods’ heat.
Plus, there was a huge country club across the street, offering an upper-crust lifestyle in then-rural West Ridge
Even today, a Pratt Boulevard address is still a very coveted address in the West Ridge area, with homes selling for over one million dollars.
Such grandeur, I do think these homes should be landmarked to protect them so that future Chicago will know the Golden Age of West Ridge
“Build it, and they will come,” and this was very true when it came to the development along Pratt Boulevard. In 1910, the Edgewater Golf Club (named after its original location in the Edgewater neighborhood) moved to West Ridge to create a bigger golf course. With the golf course came many bougie bitches to the former boonies. The opening day of the Edgewater Golf Club was filled with cars laden with golfers and caddies.
Soon the wealthy were building mansions along the boulevard. Not originally homes per se, these fancy mansions were “country” homes for the city’s elite.
The Golden Era
1920’s Spanish Renaissance Revival Wet Dream is known as Casa Bonita. Buil in 1925 along fashionable Ridge Boulevard, this monument to the roaring twenties exemplifies the grand ambitions of 1920’s West Ridge. Long gone were the days of the area being dotted with simple worker’s cottages and cabbage farms. By the 1910s and 1920s, historically rural West Ridge was becoming fashionable for upwardly mobile middle-class people escaping more crowded neighborhoods to the south (I’m talking about YOU; Lincoln Park and Lake View)
Casa Bonita offered a lavish and graceful courtyard for not only its residents but also a rooftop putting green, library, billiard room; basically, it was like living in a game of Clue (or Cluedo for you non-Americans) just sans the murder of Mr. Peabody.
CASTLES CASTLES CASTLES!!
Growing up, one of my FAVORITE places to be during the summer was Indian Boundary Park. The park where I learned how to act, write poetry and admire the many graceful castles that lined this gem of a park.
Why do we have such a fancy park? Well, it all stems from the 1920s and more of those grand ambitions of West Ridge. We had to have a fancy showpiece of a park, we had to have our own zoo, and it had to be separate from Rogers Park.
And boom! Indian Boundary Park was created. A stunning zoo surrounded by some of the most beautiful apartment buildings built in the city. Yes, I will go on the limb and say these beauties rival the apartment complexes lining Lincoln Park, lining the grand boulevards across town, and the ones gracing Hyde Park? Disagree; well, you can suck my fat tits; pics don’t lie!
Quintessentially European, I could spend all day here, and in fact, I did! In summer camp for three years, this slice of European bliss was my stomping grounds from 8 to 3 pm (I know you jelly)
The Field House is a lovely gem, a national landmark that was painstakingly restored at a devastating fire in 2012. Today Indian Boundary Park is the gem of West Ridge, a place you have to visit! Go discover this hidden gem!