Ida B. Wells-Darrow Homes was established between 1939 and 1941, intended to be a public housing project for African-Americans to meet Federal segregation laws. Housing consisted of rowhouses and both mid and high-rise apartment buildings. When completed in 1941, the area was home to approximately 800 row-houses and garden apartments, as well as more than 860 apartments. The last of these buildings were torn down in 2011. Today, the area is home to a mixed-income community known as Oakwood Shores which is intended to completely replace the old housing projects. Like most areas of Chicago, spring, summer, and fall bring warm temperatures that are perfect for long walks along the tree-lined streets. Winters here tend to be bitterly cold with harsh winds, sub-zero temperatures, and plenty of lake effect snow that make going for a walk challenging at best so it is wise to invest in the appropriate gear to keep you and your pup warm.
The terrain here is incredibly flat with plenty of wide open spaces thanks, in part, to the demolition of the housing projects. These have left large, green areas that once housed apartment buildings intended for the low-income families. Although there may not be much in the way of challenging walks, you can make use of the wide-open fields to make sure your pup gets plenty of exercise. The revamped streets with new homes are lined with sidewalks for you and Rover to stroll along. Many of them have shady trees for you to rest under while Rover takes care of business. Most of the sidewalks in the area are safe to walk on, but given the amount of demolition, you do need to pay close attention to where you go and where you put your feet. In the newer areas where single-family and multifamily homes have been refurbished or built new, the sidewalks are clean and very user-friendly.
Thanks in part to the amount of demolition being completed in recent years, there are vast swaths of green where the old project apartment buildings used to stand. There are several small parks in town, most of which are dog-friendly, and of course, Burnham Park on the shores of Lake Michigan is only a few blocks away. No matter where you turn in Oakwood, there is green space for you and your dog to take advantage of during the many long summer days typically seen here. Oakwood may not be the largest community in the Greater Chicago area, but it currently has more open green space than many of the other communities. However, as the area continues to grow and new housing is built, many of these spaces will eventually be filled with new single and multi-family homes as more Chicagoans look for their piece of the American dream.