Edgewater Apartments

History of Edgewater

Prior to the the late nineteenth century few people lived in the area now known as Edgewater, scattered settlers around the area farmed celery. The residents were mostly German and Irish. Some Swedish people gathered along Clark Street in an area they called Andersonville. John Lewis Cochran was the first person to do more than casually settle in the area and farm, he purchased land near Lake Michigan in the town of Lake View in 1886. He developed a subdivision he advertised as “Edgewater.” Because of the proximity of the neighborhood to Lake Michigan he built large mansions near the water, and later smaller houses west of these. Cochran looked to separate himself from the normal development of neighborhoods by building sewers, sidewalks and streetlights before residents ever moved in. He also founded the Edgewater Light Company to make sure Edgewater residents could use the most modern conveniences. However, his last trick would be his greatest. A neighborhood that is hard to get to isn’t going to be high on the list of places that people want to move to…especially people with money. Cochran knew that his lakefront property was prime real estate, so he found a way to connect it to transportation. He persuaded the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad to open a stop on Bryn Mawr Avenue and was instrumental in the creation of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company, which in 1908 opened up a connection through to Howard Street. The availability of transportation encouraged the erection of apartment buildings, a development Cochran had not intended. This strip of “common corridor” buildings and residential hotels, concentrated between Winthrop and Kenmore, increased Edgewater’s population density.

Between World War I and World War II, Edgewater was synonymous with elegance, and the Edgewater Beach Hotel was the North Shore spot for fine dining and dancing. But as times changed this once-elite community fell into decline. The Edgewater Hotel was torn down in 1969, along with many of the other fine, lake shore mansions that surrounded it. One-survivor is the 19-story flamingo-pink cooperative that houses the Edgewater Beach Apartments.

Edgewater’s more recent history is a wonderful example of community spirit. The are has experienced a remarkable turnaround over the past two decades. At one time, sixteen boarded-up buildings marred the Winthrop-Kenmore corridor, and the commercial strip along the Bryn Mawr contained grimy storefronts, rundown residential hotels, and abandoned buildings. Gang infestation was driving the neighborhood rapid decline. But the community was given a second chance in 1995, when a section of Bryn Mawr Avenue, from Broadway to Lake Michigan, was declared a historic district. This led to tax breaks and a renewed interest in the area by commercial developers. The Edgewater Community Council led the way to get the buildings belonging to absentee landlords transferred to different ownership and another 72-story building to be renovated. The community’s efforts have paid off with the crime rate in Edgewater consistently decreasing over the past several years.

Loyola university lies at Edgewater’s northern edge, attracting many students to live in the area. Also here: home-based business owners, retirees, and a large number of families of Hispanic, Asian and Russian descent. And, according to the 2000 census data, Edgewater has the largest community of gay couples in Chicago, many of whom live in Andersonville. With its convenient location, easy access to Lake Shore Drive, major bus routes run through it, and an active community council, Edgewater has long been posed to become the next great neighborhood in north Chicago. While prices for houses, brick flats, and condos are rising slowly and steadily, one can still get a condo for about $50,000 to $100,000 less than its equivalent in Lakeview.

The vast park and accompanying bike path that follows the beach side of Lake Shore Drive come to an end at Edgewater’s southeast corner. The family friendly beaches here at Hollywood, Ardmore, and Foster avenues are beautiful and offer excellent views of the shoreline to the north. On clear days you can make out the lakeshore campus of Northwestern university in Evanston. Looking eastward, out across the lake, you will spot a squat, cylindrical shape that hover about two miles off the coast. Don’t be misled by locals who may try to convince you that it is 1) a giant floating storage tank for industrial waste, 2) a casino, or 3) the new Bears stadium. It’s actually a water intake crib, one of three (if you looks south you can see the others) that provides the city with its fresh water.

Chicago has great food, it’s known for having extravagant steakhouses and seafood restaurants, but also awesome spots that are a little easier on the wallet, although they are a little harder to find. A century ago Andersonville, which is a part of Edgewater, had a thriving Swedish population and the restaurants to match. These days there aren’t quite as many Swedish people or restaurants, and the food selection has expanded as well. Now we can find great Swedish places like Svea, we can also get some southern American comfort food at Nookie’s. A locally-owned placed serving breakfast all day…you don’t want to pass it up. You also have the option of expanding your tastes a little and indulging at a place like Masa Alla Del Sol. A hacienda-style dinner-only venue serving modern Mexican cuisine, margaritas & other cocktails.

At the end of the day, what you find is that in a neighborhood as diverse as Edgewater you can’t go wrong! Every block you turn down has new and exciting options when it comes to food and drinks. The biggest problem you’re going to have is deciding where to go. You could spend multiple days in the area and still leave without having been able to try everything you want. So relax, enjoy what the neighborhood has to offer and loosen your belt!

Historic District Architecture

Restaurants  In Edgwater

Stax Cafe Logo

Pearl’s Southern Comfort

Busy Burger Logo

La Fonda Latino Grill

Al's Italian Beef Logo


De Pasada Logo

Jin Thai

Davanti Enoteca Logo

Tedino’s Pizzeria

Forever Yogurt Logo


Sweet Maple Cafe Logo

Wing Hoe

Taylor Made Pizza Logo

Pizzeria Aroma

Chez Joel Logo

Little Saigon Baguette

Thai Bowl Logo

Mei Shung

Ferrara Logo

Edgewater Beach Cafe

Couscous Logo

Ben’s Noodles & Rice

Rosebud Restaurant


La Taberna Tapas Logo

La Taberna Tapas

Volcano Sushi Logo

Volcano Sushi

Joy Yee Noodle Logo

Joy Yee Noodle

Francesca's on Taylor


Hashbrown's Logo

Grill & Garden

Lotus Cafe Logo


Mario's Italian Ice and Lemonade Logo

Little Vietnam

RoSal's Logo

Edgewater Tacos

Golden Thai Logo

Little India

Rosati's Pizza

Blowfish Sushi & Ramen

Moxee BBQ & Cajun Logo

Pita O Grill

Tuscany Logo

Alice & Friends Vegan Kitchen

Yummy Thai On Taylor Logo

Mas Alla del Sol

Big G's Pizza

Mango Pickle

Bacci Pizza Logo

Dynamic African Cuisine

Pompei Logo

The Growling Rabbit

Chilango Logo

Little Corner Restaurant

Lalo's Logo

Rice Thai Asian Kitchen

Galata Turkish Cuisine Logo

Veranda Pizza & Coffee

Cold Stone Creamery Logo

Income Tax

Fontano Subs

Lake Breeze

Jimmy John's Logo

En Lai Asian Chinese Grill

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Ethiopian Diamond

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Andy’s Thai Kitchen

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Flaco’s Tacos

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Gino’s North

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Summer Noodles & Rice

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Ann Sather

Potbelly Sandwich Shop


Bars and Nightlife

Ph. D Pub

Norse Bar

Hawkeye's Bar and Grill Logo

Fritzy’s Tavern

Bar 10 Doors Logo

Bar 63

The Drum and Monkey

Granville Anvil

Cetta's Lounge and Wine Bar

Burke’s Public House

Bar Louie

Moody’s Pub

Vintage Lounge

Double Bubble

Lalo's Restaurant and Bar Logo

Barrelman Tavern

Mad Mouse Brewery Logo


Little Joe's


Three Aces Bar and Lounge

Pressure Billiards & Cafe

Bracket Room Sports Lounge and Eatery

The Waterfront Cafe

More Great Places in the Neighborhood


Edgewater Historical Society

7-Eleven In Little Italy

Edgewater Beach Apartments

Ralph's Cigars

Colvin House

Smokeshop by Pipes and Stuff Logo

Raven Theatre

First Aid Comics Logo

Firehouse Chicago

Sight N Sound

Mary’s Attic

Coffee Alley Logo

City Lit Theater Company

Market Fresh Books

The Edge Theater

Taylor S. Tattoo Parlor

The Lytle House

Michael's Wine and Spirits

Senn Playlot Park

Demitasse Cafe Logo

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Gentile's Bottle Shop

Peterson Garden Project