A charming mix of homes along tree-lined streets, nationally acclaimed schools and a walk-to-town location attract buyers to the Silk Stocking subdivision in Des Plaines.
"I think the character of the homes and the uniqueness of the architecture draws people to this area," said Bill Farrell, broker associate with RE/MAX Suburban. "With some homes built as early as 1918, many residences have been renovated and updated, and some have large additions. Homes and yards are well maintained, and some homes feature professional landscaping."
Listing sheetPrice range: $250,000 to $500,000
Age of homes: 40 to 95 years old
Schools: Central Elementary and Chippewa Middle schools in Des Plaines Elementary District 62 and Maine West High School in Maine Township High School District 207
Parks: Des Plaines Park District
People also like being so close to downtown with its Metra station and a state-of-the-art public library right there, Farrell said.
Situated south of Northwest Highway and west of Graceland Avenue, Silk Stocking was so named, some say, because it was built during the time when women wore silk stockings. Others believe it was because the local elite lived here in the city's most elaborate homes.
Many people who live in the subdivision are long-term residents who have no intention of moving, such as Barb and Bob McCullough, who have lived in the neighborhood since 1976.
"In 1970, when we lived near Oakton (Avenue) and River Road, we put our daughter in nursery school at the Methodist church, and I would drive down Laurel Avenue," Barb McCullough said. "That's when I fell in love with the street.
"It was really, really pretty with a small neighborhood feeling because it was a short street. The houses were really interesting; it wasn't a cookie-cutter area.
"We were looking for a larger house, and it was kind of preordained that we bought a house on Laurel. We really didn't know anything about the neighborhood. It was a big house and we had five kids, so each had their own room, which they didn't have before."
It turns out the McCulloughs had been going to church in Park Ridge, but with their move, the church they attend now is practically across the street from them. They also liked being close to downtown, which back then had more of a bustling, small town feel, she said.
McCullough said her family has enjoyed wonderful, friendly neighbors who have gotten together for cookouts and other social events. "It's the kind of neighborhood where if you run out of something -- an egg or a power tool -- you can ask a neighbor," she said.
There are plenty of opportunities for recreation at park district facilities, which include everything from miniature golf to state-of-the-art fitness center.
The Friendship Park Conservatory is a beautiful spot with a three-story atrium and 30 acres of lush landscaping. And the 40-acre Lake Opeka offers fun for the whole family with all kinds of water activities, picnic areas, playground and band shell.
Residents can head to the new outlet mall in Rosemont or to Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Some people say Des Plaines has the best transportation in all of the Northwest suburbs. Silk Stocking sits just 15 minutes from O'Hare International Airport, which is a big plus for those who fly for business.
Metra is close, and the PACE bus downtown will take people to the River Road Blue Line el train stop and to O'Hare. Several major roads and highways go through the city -- 294, 90, Mannheim Road, Northwest Highway, Golf Road and Rand Road.