Title: Proud founder of Garvey Residential Team and GrtHomes.com, and manager of EXP Realty, located at 1010 Lake St. in downtown Oak Park, IL.
Born and raised in Oak Park and River Forest. Chris Garvey invites you to get to know the people, businesses, the parks and activities of Oak Park, River Forest and the Greater Chicago area with an interactive experience that will reward you in your adventure to find your home.
I created GrtHomes.com so that people can have a fun, interactive experience in getting to know all about our Oak Park and River Forest homes, community, and everything that makes this area such a great place to live. The website is interactive and you can share your home searches and homes you “Like” with your friends and family. You can also make and share comments on homes or ask me questions about homes or neighborhood amenities.
Explore and get a true picture of what these beautiful sister villages are like through the great content pages describing Oak Park and River Forest. My goal is to share with you my lifelong experience with the incredible variety of homes, the nuances of these neighborhoods, walk-ability and the amenities that make up this richly diverse community. When you are ready, I invite you to tour homes for sale with me and my HGTV style of showing homes. Find out everything you need to know about buying these beautiful, but often times 100+ year old homes and condos. Explore the new kitchens and baths or let me share my experience on what it takes and costs to update a home to make it your own!
As a child growing up in Oak Park I remember the first time I jumped off the high dive at Rehm Pool. It’s not there anymore, but it used to be like 20 feet high. I think I was around five years old. We lived in a tiny bungalow just south of the expressway on Gunderson.
There are six children in my family and I went to Whittier grade school in North Oak Park, but my older brothers and sisters went to Irving grade school in South Oak Park. My dad is a Fenwick grad (Oak Park’s now co-ed Catholic High School) and grew up in the Austin neighborhood on Menard, but moved to Oak Park the year I was born. Back then our family did not fit into a nice, but very small three bedroom bungalow. Four boys slept in one bedroom and my two sisters in the other. Lucky for me my dad finally figured out we needed a bigger house and we moved to 618 N. Elmwood in North Oak Park. I was five then.
It was a beautiful American foursquare home with a sleeping porch that kept us cool at night before the days of air-conditioning. It had a beautiful sunroom and I loved sleeping on the cushions above the radiators on cold winter nights as a child. It had a fireplace and I got to share my bedroom with my little brother instead of all four of us. We had a giant Maple tree in the back yard with a sand-box. Friends would come over to build castles and back then “kick-the-can” was the most popular alley sport.
Five years later we moved two houses down the block to 424 Iowa. It is a big corner lot, big enough to play whiffle-ball in with four bases and a pitchers mound. Everyone in the neighborhood would come to play ball, sit on the front porch and enjoy the summer. I remember the day that we moved-in there. The plan was for my mom and dad and the six kids to just carry everything over our neighbors yard, down the ridge to our new home, but we had a big snow that day. Dad was determined to get it done though, and the next thing you know we were pushing things over with sleds. About an hour into the move people from up and down the block started joining in and the next thing you know it was quite a party. People were bringing food and hot chocolate.
We slid the furniture down down hill on sleds with the help of about 10 of our neighbors. Friends, many new, came from up and down the block and a few brought over food, hot chocolate and I believe some wine that one of them made in their cellar. The neighbors stayed late drinking hot chocolate by the fire they made in our family room fireplace. I was 10 years old and it is a great memory that I get to replay again and again as I drive down the streets past my old house.
Oak Park is an amazing village. It was, and is, a great way to grow up!
Watching my youngest son graduate from OPRF high school, (the gift I was given) it truly dawned on me what a beautiful environment I was given to be a family here. When my grandfather brought my father here, it was purposeful and it was to raise him with this idea that people from all over the world would come here and create a place like no other. Now it may have been that he just got lucky, but whatever he did, he found the right answer.
As I get older and I watch my children manage their way through today’s world, I’ve come even more to realize how beautiful it is to see how they grew up with friends, family from all parts of the world.
I have enjoyed a lifetime of experience here and now as a real estate agent I am gaining an even greater perspective, yet only beginning to grasp how the people before us, the village planners before now stepped way ahead of today’s realities and by doing so have had so much effect on how we live, work and even school at home today.
Oak Park’s plan to place the parks where they are, with the thought that the home lots would be just 50 feet wide so that it would not be too far a distant to walk to the train, the permitting of the multiunit buildings with their high density of people from all over, amongst the grand homes with an unending architectural variety that has not only stood the test of time, it set a benchmark.
My three children are the fourth-generation to see this perspective, see the world through this lens of well-planned diversity. Where the fabric of the village was designed to gather together people from rich and poor, from all different countries and of all colors and backgrounds, all within easy walking distance from each other.
I hope you enjoy this GRT Homes.com site. It is more than just a real estate site. It is created in a way that is meant to help you get to know the history of the villages and hopefully, after you have spent some time enjoying the site, you will come to enjoy the villages as much as I have.