Douglas holds a unique position amongst Chicago neighborhoods. As one of the city'searliest settlements, it has a richly patriotic past, and because it sits right upon the lakeshore, between the downtown Loop and Bronzeville, it offers much-desired accessibility and convenience. A simple testament to this are the neighborhood's bordering streets: Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to the west, the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to the north, Lake Michigan to the east and 35th Street to the south.
The neighborhood is named for Stephen A. Douglas, a Civil War-era lawyer and politician who lost his race for the presidency against Abraham Lincoln. Outside of politics, however, Douglas was a successful land speculator who purchased 70 acres in what is now the Douglas neighborhood. After building a home along 35th Street, Douglas donated much of his remaining land to others and, in 1861, the neighborhood became home to Camp Douglas, a Civil War POW camp. But when the war ended and the camp was vacated, Douglas' land was purchased by several wealthy Chicagoans who brought in streetcars, a commuter station and other modernities.
From the Civil War era onward, Douglas attracted individuals from all walks of life, including several European immigrants and many business-minded African Americans (Douglas was home to the city's first African American-owned bank), who built up much of the neighborhood's residential areas. Today, Douglas remains a neighborhood driven by strong work ethic, community pride and business savvy.
Though Douglas is only about two square miles in size, it boasts three public parks, a beautiful Lake Michigan beach and all the eateries and amenities you could hope for in the city. Curious visitors and residents of Douglas should visit Woodland Park, which is a pleasantly wooded commons that secretly houses the tomb of Stephen A. Douglas. Sprinkled throughout the neighborhood are basic necessities like Jewel Osco, Walgreens, post offices and libraries.
Real estate in Douglas is beautiful and varied, with vintage brick buildings, traditional graystones, new-construction townhomes and even a few high-rise condominiums. One-bedroom condos in the area generally start around $100,000, with multi-room townhomes running the gamut from $400,000 to $600,000. Those interested in vintage properties can often find a worthy deal for themselves—some of the older, single-family detached homes are less expensive than basic condos. You'll also find several larger, grander homes along the historic streets of King Drive, but won't likely find them listed for sale.
As for transportation and schooling, you're pretty well set in Douglas. A 10-minutes drive up Lake Shore puts you in the Loop, while express busses running continuously toward downtown make several stops along King Drive. Plus, the #35 bus provides transportation to the CTA green line, which directs to the city center. Several schools in the area accommodate children from elementary up through high school, and a vocational school is nearby for those who wish to follow a more focused path.