Average house price: $109,398
Transportation * * * (out of 4) Metra stops at 87th Street; expressways are nearby.
Schools * * * Test scores at several local public grade schools surpass the city average.
Shopping * * Calumet Heights residents patronize the restaurants and shops along 87th Street and Stony Island Avenue, as well as the Chatham Ridge Shopping Center, which is about two and a half miles away.
Plus: Last summer, the local Jesse Owens Park got a new $9.7-million field house and Olympics-themed park.
Handsome two-story homes built in the 1940s and 1950s line several of the blocks in Calumet Heights, a pleasant working-class neighborhood tucked into the Southeast Side. Manicured shrubs and some tall trees add to the impression of suburban stillness. “It’s a neighborly place, always has been,” says Eli Bonner, a retired mailman who has lived there for more than 25 years. In that time, as residents have aged, they have gone from “looking after each other’s kids [to] looking in on somebody whose husband has died”—though Bonner says the younger generation that has been moving in “has helped keep it quiet here.” That and the fact that numerous police officers, both active and retired, live in the neighborhood.
In addition to the well-performing Earhart and Black grade schools (the latter is a magnet school), Calumet Heights is also home to St. Ailbe’s, a private Catholic grade school that recently became one of 15 archdiocesan elementary schools to implement a new reading and language-arts program called Superkids. And Olive-Harvey College and Chicago State University, two popular South Side institutions, are nearby. Shopping and dining are concentrated along Stony Island and 87th and 95th streets, with the tantalizing soul food at BJ’s Market & Bakery a standout.