October 8th 1871. #NeverForget
Lets take a look at some pre-fire homes starting with the Martin Stevens House, a rare vernacular example of Second Empire architecture built in the 1860s, in Chicago's Norwood Park. My mom grew up nearby & heard stories of people watching the fire burn from the home's tower.
Also in Norwood Park is the Noble-Seymour-Crippen House. Its small south wing is believed to be the city's oldest surviving building, originally built in 1833. In 1987 the Norwood Park Historical Society bought the home for $285,000 in order to save it from possible demolition.
The 1860s Bellinger Cottage, designed by W.W. Boyington (architect of the water tower) was located in the burned district. The home was wetted down with water & cider. All the dry leaves were cleared & the wooden sidewalk was torn up so the fire wouldn't spread. It worked.
We can't forget Hull House! This Italianate mansion, now a museum, was built in 1856 by Charles J. Hull, making it one of the city's oldest surviving homes. It is also one of only two surviving buildings from the settlement founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr in 1889.
Also on the West Side is the Abraham Groesbeck House, an Italianate designed by architect Otis L. Wheelock in 1869. The home is located on Washington Blvd, which was once an exclusive residential street. Groesbeck's neighbors included Mayor Harrison and Mary Todd Lincoln.
Old Irving's Metra station is called Grayland after John Gray, who built this Italianate home in 1856 on what was his farm from Kostner to Cicero Avenue, between Irving Park & Addison. Gray was an abolitionist, so it's believed his home was used in the Underground Railroad.
Another pre-fire house in Chicago's Old Irving neighborhood is this Gothic Revival design that supposedly was built in 1866.
The Wheeler Mansion, built by architect Otis L. Wheelock in 1870, is the last survivor on Calumet Ave when the area was full of mansions. When the Murphy Butter & Egg Company moved out, it was threatened with demolition, but a couple saved the home & it became a Bed & Breakfast.
Sometimes it's hard to find what I'm looking for in my endless photo archive, so if anyone wants to add their own photos of pre-fire homes I forgot to include, please do!
The Elbridge Keith House designed by architect John R. Roberts in 1870, is one of only five remaining mansions in the Prairie Avenue historic district.
And how could I forget Clarke House (1836), the oldest "surviving" pre-fire home located within the city's limits. The Greek Revival house, similar to Mount Vernon, was originally on a 20-acre tract of farmland running east from State to Lake Michigan between 16th & 17th sts.
Remembering this raised worker's cottage w/elaborate Italianate ornament & intricate Stick Style porch. It was a pre-fire structure and had a plaque that proudly stated "circa 1864." But it had no protection and was torn down in 2017 for one of those awful Orchard St McMansions.
The thread ends with a pre-fire structure we lost over 15 yrs ago. Built in 1858, the Huntley House stood at Paulina & Pearson until it was torn down in 2002 for a seven-unit condo building. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks said it didn't meet the requirements for protection.
Here's the seven-unit condo building btw and an old Chicago Reader about it: m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/down-w…