By Kristin Boza
Anna and Al Mitchell have celebrated a lot over the last two years. The Hinsdale South High School sweethearts got married on their 10-year dating anniversary in December 2020 and, because of the pandemic, held off on celebrating with their friends and family until almost a later. In-between, the couple purchased their first home in Beverly/Morgan Park in June, and they have been busy exploring their new community with their pup Lucy, a poodle/terrier mix, ever since.
Anna and Al grew up in the southwest suburbs and both attended the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bronzeville, where they shared their first apartment.
Al’s degrees are in architectural engineering and architecture, and he’s currently working on a PhD at IIT focused on engineering and retrofitting historic homes for optimal energy efficiency. He currently works for Passive House Institute US, Inc., a non-profit organization seeking to make high-performance passive building the mainstream standard.
Anna’s degrees are in civil engineering and construction engineering management, and she works for Power Construction with its headquarters in the Loop.
“When we chose Beverly/Morgan Park, it was important to prioritize Al’s commute to school and work,” Anna said. “I’m always visiting sites around downtown and the suburbs, so I’m traveling all over anyway and I could live anywhere.”
Al’s career focus is writing computer models of buildings to figure out ways to save energy. He sometimes goes outside at night with his thermal imaging camera, taking pictures of his home to figure out where heat may be leaking from so they can save money on their energy bill.
“Beverly/Morgan Park is the perfect place to be to observe historic homes and determine ways to retrofit them that makes sense to maintain the home’s character,” he said.
The couple was also drawn to Beverly/Morgan Park’s strong Catholic community. They are parishioners at St. Cajetan Church and having a strong faith community is important to them.
Getting out to local restaurants and bringing out-of-neighborhood friends and family to their favorite neighborhood spots is a special time for Anna and Al. They frequent Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry, Nicky’s of Beverly (Al loves their Italian beef), and Franconello. Al also enjoys getting out to Lanigan’s in Mount Greenwood or Clancy’s in Oak Lawn for Sunday Sessions – a time when musicians get together to informally play their instruments. Al plays the uilleann pipe, also known as the Irish bagpipes.
“Our neighbors have been so fantastic and helpful, it feels like a neighborhood you would see on TV,” Al said.
“Many times, we’ve been offered power tools on loan from our neighbors,” Anna said. “It’s just a nice welcoming neighborhood where everyone wants to help you out.”
Do you know a new neighbor? BAPA’s New Neighbor program welcomes people to the community and helps them learn more about events, shopping, schools, amenities and more. If you’re a new neighbor or know someone who is, contact Mary Jo Viero at BAPA, 773-233-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.