As Chicago expanded in the late 19th century, many surrounding villages and neighborhoods decided to be annexed to the growing city. Not Evergreen Park.
On December 20, 1893, residents here voted 40-11 to incorporate themselves. The new village was named Evergreen Park, after a grove of pine trees at 97th Street and South Homan Avenue. Today, the intersection has been turned into a six-acre space known as Circle Park or Klein Park, and is home to ball fields and a playground.
From an initial population of 500, Evergreen Park has grown to about 20,000. Bordered by the suburb of Oak Lawn on the west, Evergreen Park is otherwise surrounded by the far southwest side of Chicago. The village, which is located in Cook County, abuts the Chicago neighborhoods of Ashburn north of 87th Street, Beverly east of Western Avenue and Mount Greenwood south of 103rd Street.
Evergreen Park has a strong community public school system and a vibrant parks and recreation department, with athletic fields, ice rink, sledding hill, dog park, driving range and more. Opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment abound in the village and the adjacent communities. Chicago Midway International Airport is a short drive, and there are multiple public transportation options to and from sites throughout Chicago.
The village is primarily a residential community. The biggest single employer is OSF HealthCare Little Company of Mary Medical Center.
Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 has four neighborhood elementary schools (K-5) that feed one centrally located middle school (6-8). Evergreen Park Community High School District 231 serves only the residents of the village, but draws students from a number of parochial and private schools in addition to the public middle school. Public and private pre-schools also are available.
Neighborhoods surrounding Evergreen Park are served by public schools in Oak Lawn and by Chicago Public Schools, in addition to a host of parochial and private schools.
There are scores of universities, colleges and community colleges throughout Chicagoland. The closest is Saint Xavier University, whose campus abuts the southwest border of the Village of Evergreen Park. Saint Xavier has been recognized for having one of the 10 most diverse student populations of regional universities in the Midwest. Richard J. Daley College, part of the City Colleges of Chicago system, is a two-year school about a mile north of the village, and Moraine Valley Community College is another two-year school located in the nearby suburb of Palos Hills.
Within the village and throughout the surrounding communities, there is a seemingly endless array of shopping opportunities to fit every lifestyle. Same goes for taste in dining. The area, particularly along Western Avenue, does retain a distinct Irish influence that dates to its early European settlers.
The biggest annual event in the area is the South Side Irish Parade, which marches along Western Avenue every St. Patrick’s Day from 103rd Street to 115th Street. Birthed around a kitchen table by two best friends in 1979, it is considered one of the largest community celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day outside of Dublin, with more than 10,000 marchers and 200,000 spectators. The Village of Evergreen Park stages numerous community activities throughout the year, including concerts in the parks, Fourth of July parade, Halloween parade, sports leagues and summer day camps for kids.
Also close by are the Cal-Sag Trail, a hiking and biking path along the Calumet Sag Channel that links the Calumet River to the Des Plaines River; numerous Forest Preserves of Cook County, and the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge and Bike Path.
Evergreen Park is also flanked by two established country clubs with excellent golf courses. To the east is the Beverly Country Club, where Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus won professional championships and Babe Didrikson once held the women’s course record. To the south is Ridge Country Club, which was founded in 1902.
A few blocks south of Evergreen Park is the Beverly Arts Center, a 40,000-square-foot facility that includes a 400-seat theater. The not-for-profit center has galleries and studios for visual arts, music and dance, and is open year-round to stage exhibitions, festivals and other events.
The Beverly neighborhood also encompasses one of the nation’s largest historic districts and features two homes designed by one of America’s most renowned architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as numerous others inspired by him.
As with dining, entertainment and major sports, residents of the Evergreen Park area are close to a world-class array of cultural opportunities, from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry and beyond. Driving is an option, but commuter rail makes downtown easily accessible via the Metra Rock Island Line or Chicago Transit Authority trains.
Almost 80% of Evergreen Park residents own their homes. Single-family homes on tree-lined streets in established neighborhoods dominate the housing stock.