The Historic North Side in Elgin, IL

I measured the borders for the Historic North Side in this evaluation to include everything north of Park St to Trout Park and between the Fox River and a couple blocks east of Liberty Ave where a straight line is formed by the census tracts. This includes the DC Cook/Lovell Area Historic District and Spring-Douglas Historic District where most of my photos are concentrated. This large district was developed between the late 19th century to WW II. Thanks to its era of development the Historic North Side has gridded streets, good sidewalks on its residential streets, and several walkable schools. The Historic North Side also excels with quality park and recreational amenities, a high level of safety, solid tree canopy, good diversity of attractive for sale homes, and solid diversity indicators.

But I would not consider the Historic North Side a walkable neighborhood as its commercial corridors (Summit, Liberty, and Dundee) are auto centric and host limited retail amenities. Residents along the southern edges of the neighborhood do at least have good walkable access to the retail and cultural amenities of Dwtn. Along with densifying/urbanizing its commercial corridors, the Historic North Side also needs better public transit access, more apartment options, and better ADA and sidewalk infrastructure along its arterials.

Click here to view my Historic North Side Album on Flickr


* Excellent bike path along the Fox River that connects easily to Dwtn but no dedicated bike stations here.
* Attractive historic homes from all decades of the first half of the 20th century. Some older stock closer to Dwtn.
* Overall a very safe neighborhood.
* Solid diversity across all indicators but especially economic.
* Racially the make up is pretty split btwn White and Hispanic households. Lots of family households here as well.
* Decent walkable schools including 4 public grade schools mostly rated well.
* Great tree canopy especially on the northern and western edges along the Fox River.
* Solid park amenities with the Fox River recreational trail, the pretty large and multi-faceted Lord’s park, the Forest Fen Nature Preserve, and a couple other small and medium sized parks.
* For sale options are generally moderately price but some diversity. 1-bed homes selling btwn 75K-150K, 2-beds btwn 125K-250K, 3 & 4 beds btwn 150K-430K


* Density is so so for an urban area.
* Public transit access is so so. And due to this its access to Dwtn Chicago is pretty challenging. Access to Dwtn Elgin is pretty good but not a ton of jobs and opportunities here.
* Pedestrian traffic is rather limited.
* Cultural and retail amenities within the Historic North Side District are very limited although the southern half of the neighborhood is within a 15-20 walk to Dwtn.
* Cultural amenities are limited to a couple restaurants, the Elgin Public Museum, and Lord’s Park Zoo.
* Retail amenities are limited to a supermarket, drug store, a couple banks, the main public library, a family dollar, a couple salons.
* Rentals are limited. Generally moderately priced. Limited dedicated affordable housing.
* In-fill buildings are limited to auto centric crap.
* Good ADA infrastructure with solid sidewalk coverage in the residential areas. Hit or miss on the largely autocentric arterial roads.
* Urban massing along the arterial/biz districts streets of Summit, Liberty, and Dundee are generally pretty auto centric.

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