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Chicago Patterns: Neighborhood storytelling through photography

Trianon, “World’s Most Beautiful Ballroom”

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This week for Flashback Friday we step back to the era of dancing and luxurious ballrooms with a look at Trianon, hailed as the most beautiful in the world. This phrase was more than just a slogan on a postcard, it was audible on many recordings and broadcasts here.

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Under Demolition: 2821 North Avers Avenue

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Viewing east towards front facade of 2821 North Avers Avenue house, circa 1880s, under demolition

Viewing east towards front facade of 2821 North Avers Avenue house under demolition. Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

After some time on the city’s Demolition Delay Hold List, the review period has ended and demolition will be proceeding for the “orange-rated” house at 2821 North Avers Avenue. I recently visited one late afternoon to check on the site, and photograph the current state of the structure.

Looking into available public records, conflicting information exists regarding the actual age of this building: by all real estate-related and Cook County Assessor’s Office information that can be obtained, this house was built in 1908. However, the City of Chicago’s Historic Resources Survey–a ground-level, detailed effort completed nearly 20 years ago–also indicates this as a significant, “orange-rated” structure, circa 1880s.

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Lost On Franklin Boulevard: Sacramento Square and Garfield Square

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View of original northwest corner of Sacramento Square, now part of the West Town Academy, from the Sacramento Boulevard east service drive.

Sacramento Square

This square is situated at an important transition point in the Chicago boulevard system, where Humboldt Park’s Sacramento Boulevard to the north connects into Garfield Park to the west via Franklin Boulevard. There is little green space at this turning point for the boulevard system, historically overrun by intersecting roadways and industrial traffic. It only retains one of its original corners, the southwest at Whipple Street and the Franklin Boulevard south service drive, and has some nondescript, while pleasantly shady, clusters of trees and shrubs.

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500 North: A Look at Franklin Boulevard

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Viewing east on Franklin Boulevard from Kedzie Avenue, with Sacramento Square in the background. Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

Chicago’s “Emerald Necklace,” our citywide boulevard system, was established in 1869 when the state legislature created governmental organizations to manage the development and maintenance of Chicago’s desperately needed new parks. One of these, the West Side Park System, was organized to create parks on Chicago’s farmland borders (presently west of Western Avenue) to spur middle- to upper-class residential development migrating out from the city center, and serve its growing inner-city population with recreational “pleasure grounds.”

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