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The 5 Most Overlooked Areas In Cook County

By Elizabeth Elstien

Chicago, one of the most populous cities in the United States, is located in Cook County. Many residents of the county believe that Chicago has left them in the dust. In fact, there have been a few unsuccessful attempts to create new counties from various portions of Cook County to offset the belief of being overshadowed by Chicago. A racially and ethnically diverse county that leans heavily toward democratic politics, republicans seem to be the ones pushing their areas toward county succession. Here we'll give a rundown of five overlooked areas sure to widen your knowledge of this heavily populated county.

1. Markham

Incorporated in 1925, Markham has 12,500 residents. Largely an African American community located southwest of the southern part of Lake Michigan, it was developed as a residential community in the 1950s. In 1860 a German settler planted six seedlings from the Black Forest in his home country. The last one died in the 1980s, but plans are to bring more seedlings over to replant. Known for its prairies, the Gensburg-Markham Prairie has been designated a National Natural Landmark.

2. Niles

Niles has 30,000 people and is located north of Chicago. The city was a pioneer, establishing free ambulance service in 1946, way ahead of elsewhere in Illinois or the Unites States. A branch of the Chicago River runs through the eastern portion of town. Known for a miniature version of Italy's Leaning Tower, Businessweek.com in 2010 named Niles on its list of "America's Best, Affordable Places to Raise Kids." Marvel at the town's vast urban forest of trees.

3. Morton Grove

The village of Morton Grove is a great place to get out in nature. Choose between golfing or horse riding. Hike in the Cook County Forest Preserves that cut through town or bicycle along the North Branch Bike Path. Harms Woods and Linne Woods provide fun cross-country skiing in the colder months. With its second location in Morton Grove, fill your belly at Pequods Pizzeria, said to have some of the best deep-dish pizza in Chicagoland.

4. Wilmette

Located on Chicago's North Shore, Wilmette has the world's oldest-standing Baha'i House of Worship. It is worth a tour to view its architectural grandeur. The town of 27,000 is easy to get to from downtown Chicago via public transportation, interstates or O'Hare Airport.

5. Chicago Heights

First settled in 1833 and now with 30,000 residents of White, African American or Hispanic/Latino origins, Chicago Heights is home to one of the Ford assembly plants. Take a tour and learn about American car manufacturing. Many notable sports and other figures hail from this area.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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