A few years ago on our sister publication Goodnight Raleigh, I started a weekly column (that continues today) featuring vintage postcards, history, and transcribed conversations written in decades past.
I’m excited to announce the addition of this column to Chicago Patterns, which will follow in the footsteps of our sister publication. Most Fridays we’ll feature a postcard with a handwritten letter and history related to the message or subject of the card. Our introductory article in this new column features the Humboldt Park Receptory.
The building featured here was once the office of the superintendent, a post held by landscape architect Jens Jensen at the time of its construction. It was designed by Frommann & Jebsen, who also designed the Schlitz Tied House in Lake View where Schubas is today.
The Golden Age of Postcards
Postcards gained popularity in 1907 when the law was changed to allow handwritten messages on the back of a mailed card, which allowed the photo to take up the entire front portion of the card. With postage being less expensive than a mailed envelope, they rapidly overtook sealed envelopes as primary long distance communication.
Related trivia: the maximum length of a text message (160 characters) was in large part a result of analysis of postcard correspondence length.
I have forgotten who’s turn it is to write but I will send you this card any how to let you know we are still alive we are just getting over bad colds now I have a ear on the bum. hope this will find you folks all well.
When are you coming up?
240 W. Park Ave.
The Receptory Building has a unique design, featuring a Queen Anne-styled turret but with styles of a German county house. The result is a blend of prevailing architectural trends of the late 19th century and a nod to the ethnicity of the local immigrant population. Humboldt Park itself was named after the renowned German naturalist Baron Alexander von Humboldt.
It is now home to the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.
Tune in next Friday for a glimpse into Chicago’s past with a short letter from a previous generation.
- Columbus Park: Jens Jensen’s Crown Jewel in the Prairie Style
- Schubas, Schlitz Brewery-Tied House at 3159 N. Southport
- Humboldt Park Receptory Building and Stable (Landmark Designation Report [PDF])
- Humboldt Park Receptory & Stables (designslinger)
- Flashback Friday at Goodnight Raleigh