Neighborhoods for the rest of us: Bowmanville

Bowmanville, ChicagoAccording to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, the founder of the Bowmanville subdivision in Lincoln Square skipped town after selling customers land he didn’t even own. If they’d caught up with him, they might have offer him a steal on a plot of his own in Rosehill Cemetery, which makes up the neighborhood’s northern border. (The rest of the ‘hood is bounded by Western, Foster, and Ravenswood avenues.)

Not for Tourists describes “blue collar” Bowmanville as “Andersonville’s low-rent sibling,” which basically means…what? That there are fewer Swedish and rainbow-patterned flags, or that Foster Avenue is no Clark Street when it comes to dining and retail? Or maybe that means exactly what it sounds like, and you can find similar styles of homes for lower prices.

The only new homes listed in the Bowmanville area are a couple of 2,300 square-foot, four-bedroom live / work condos at 2309 W Foster Ave, priced in the $590s and $690s, but dozens of condo and single-family resales are available all over the neighborhood.

See a handful of photos of Bowmanville in YoChicago’s Flickr album, or view them as a slideshow through the neighborhood’s NewHomeNotebook page. And, if you have a few hours to while away, you can sample over 10,000 YoChicago images of nearly 100 neighborhoods at Flickr.


  • SheridanB 9 years

    I have relatives who live in Bowmanville who moved there years ago when they were priced out of Lincoln Park. During the boom, the blue collar was rapidly being bleached into white collar, we’ll see if this continues over the next few years or if neighborhoods ‘stagnate’ or ‘retrench’ – or change in altogether unexpected ways.

    I really should say revert than retrench, though there is something in that word too…

  • Here is a series of posts centering on Bowanville from my blog:

    Sheridan B, I don’t there will be much of any “shift”. I think the trend in Bowmanville will continue to be new families that want a relatively affordable single family house, town-home, two-flat or three bedroom condo and stay close to city amenities.

    In fact, the recent market has helped families buy homes in the neighborhood that were certainly more expensive just two and three years ago (re-sale and new construction).

    There are few suburbs that can offer a $500,000 move-in quality single family house nestled in between awesome retail, restaurant and cultural strips such Lincoln Square and Andersonville. Not to mention Winnemac Park, good private (and some public) school options and good universities very close by (Northeastern Illinois and North Park University).
    There are less expensive houses and condos of course… or much more expensive homes as well depending on budgets in a quiet, neighborly atmosphere.

    If you like the lakefront, downtown, the many north side neighborhood parks and fests (and free entertainment for families that come with them), Bowmanville is a good option.

    The commute downtown can be okay as well from the Ravenswood Metra or Damen Brown Line (you may take a very short drive, bus or bike ride to the stations) It’s certainly better than the commute from suburbs with cheaper housing or far-out city locations without losing the “city life” amenity.

    I’d still expect to pay $500K for a pretty decent single family home without large maintenance issues, but there are other options as mentioned above to stay in the “hood” rather than fleeing to the burbs too.

  • SheridanB 9 years

    I have the feeling that there is going to be a change in real estate trends – and I don’t think anybody can really predict where it will head, but I suspect that outlying areas will not be hot any longer and the suburbs may gain residents from the city if crime rises substantially from the economic crises, which is not anywhere near over yet for the average American. Once unemployment starts to abate we might see people spending 500k for a house, but that pool is drying up quite a bit even for the well heeled.

  • I would not consider Bowmanville an outlying neighborhood…unless Andersonville and Lakewood Balmoral are also “outlying” neighborhoods and you really can’t get a decent house for IMO for under $500K in those true neighborhoods boundaries just as far north.

    Move-in quality 3 to 4 bedroom homes priced around $500K sell very well in Bowmanville… even early this year in depths of the bank crash freak-out.

    I guess that’s my point. It”s an alternative that remains affordable for those looking to stay close to a wealth of city amenities. $500K is very affordable for many, many who live and work in the city… look at all those 2/2 condos selling for that in Lakeview. If they were smart, they’d buy a house waaaay out here!