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Bronzeville

Located near the Illinois Institute of Technology, known for its architecture and engineering programs, Bronzeville is situated in the Douglas and Grand Boulevard community areas of the South Side.

The site of Chicago's version of the Harlem Renaissance, the many prominent African Americans who were linked to the expansion of the area include Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebrated author and the first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Sunset Cafe, a legendary jazz club, has long since closed; the hardware store in its place is friendly to jazz history buffs who happen in.  If live music is what you're after, Blu 47, an upscale but welcoming neighborhood Cajun/Creole restaurant offers live jazz on Thursday nights.

In addition to IIT, the family-oriented neighborhood houses a number of public schools (Beethoven School, Phillips Academy High School, Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, Chicago Military Academy, Walter H. Dyett High School), as well as the VanderCook College of Music, the Illinois College of Optometry and Shimer College, the liberal arts school.

Much of neighboring Douglas was initially urbanized by Stephen A. Douglas; only Groveland Park remains. Innovatively designed, all the homes were built around an oval-shaped park, which is still positioned between Cottage Grove Avenue, 33rd Street, 35th Street and the Metra Electric railroad tracks. 47th Street remains the focal point of Bronzeville, and recently has benefited from a surge in growth. Despite this expansion, the neighborhood is still reasonably low density, making free street parking abundantly available, a rarity in many Chicago neighborhoods.

Some Bronzeville homes will still benefit from renovation, and those looking for hidden gems will have a field day with the large lots, grand three-story brownstones, brick buildings, and marble mosaics. Many homes date to the 1890s, retaining many original architectural attributes such as fireplace mantels, pocket doors, wood trims, coffered ceilings, and hardwood floors. A fair number of older homes have already been updated, and vintage lovers can find properties with new copper plumbing, but classic character.