Peterson Woods

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Peterson Woods Soundex Code P362

Introduction, page 4 of the 28th Annual House Tour Booklet, Peterson Woods, Sunday, September 15, 2014

Peterson Woods is a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood, one of several residential districts in the far southwest corner of West Ridge. This tiny wedge of a Chicago neighborhood has been called "one of Chicago's best kept secrets" and is home to many City of Chicago employees.

Peterson Woods is bounded by Bryn Mawr Avenue on the south and Lincoln Avenue on the northeast. It's western boundary is the long and lovely Legion Park, which borders the North Shore Channel between Bryn Mawr Avenue and Peterson Avenue and provides a recreational green space that shelters the neighborhood from the traffic on Kedzie Avenue.

The neighborhood was named after Pehr Samuel Peterson and most of its homes were custom-built between 1925 and 1935. The original owners belonged to Chicago's middle and upper classes and many were of German or Scandinavian origin. Houses lining Thorndale Avenue, Hollywood Avenue, and Sacramento Avenue have deep lots, while those along Virginia Avenue back up to Legion Park itself, which was once heavily forested. Many houses are accented with such architectural details as turrets, Tudor-style wood beams, trile roofs, leaded windows, or wrought iron fencing.


Manty of the houses have been handed down through families over the years or have had only two or three owners. Some residents, like Maria Wehling, have lived here more than 70 years.

Homeowners who are second and third generation residents of Peterson Woods stay here to raise their families in a suburban-like environment. Young people are moving into the neighborhood and updating some of the houses, but the character of the neighborhood has been preserved: there are no "teardowns" or "McMansions."

Famous Residents

Notable residents of Peterson Woods include:

Dr. Leo J. Latz, a pioneer in natural family planning who introduced the rhythm method of contraception to Americans.

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Jordan and Marian Jordan, aka: Fibber McGee and Molly, legendary radio stars of the 1940s.

Arch Ward, Chicago Tribune sports columnist who created the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Jerry Vainisi, General Manager of the Chicago Bears.