The Emergence, Demolition, and Preservation of Italianate Cottages and Flats

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2429 W Augusta (center) facing demolition [John Morris/Chicago Patterns]


As Northwest Side neighborhoods along the Blue Line experience glowing hot growth in real estate values, original homes and flats are getting erased in favor of expensive new construction. While this trend has long been an issue in older neighborhoods near the lake or the Loop, this rapid expansion of teardown construction in these neighborhoods is a more recent phenomenon.

In years past, as successive waves of people moved into these neighborhoods, existing housing stock was a source of pride and buildings were rehabbed and improved. The change in neighborhood demographics this time is different as wealthy newcomers often opt for large single-family homes often built after tearing down an existing home.

The loss of housing stock in these areas is particularly painful as the homes getting destroyed are well over a hundred years old, many of which were erected in the aftermath of the Great Fire.

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A Brief History of Milwaukee Avenue: the Chicago School and Sullivanesque Style

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The first part of this series looked at the early history of Milwaukee Avenue, and now we’re going to look at two related styles prevalent along the diagonal thoroughfare: the Chicago School and Sullivanesque.

Above is the Chicago School style, 1913 Holabird & Roche building at Milwaukee, North, and Damen.

The Chicago School (or Commercial Style) is frequently referred to as the architectural style that brought forth the earliest skyscrapers. This style was practiced by the firms of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Holabird and Roche, and Burnham and Root.

The Sullivanesque style evolved in the late 1890s, growing out of inspiration from Adler & Sullivan’s grand creations. Some of its early practitioners were former employees of Adler & Sullivan’s firm and went on to create landmarks and icons espousing the principles of the firm.

But by the 1920s, the Sullivanesque architectural style quietly morphed into to a regional design pattern, one of many choices for economical facade design.

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The Value is in the Land: 1000 W. Monroe

John Morris 1 comment

1000 W. Monroe, in March of this year [John Morris]

Almost a year ago a plan was unveiled for the corner of Monroe and Morgan in West Loop. It featured 12 luxury residences with a parking spot for each unit, and called for replacing a 6 unit building constructed in 1889.

Last week, demolition began on these 19th century twin Italianate three-flats to make way for the new condo building.

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Why save the South Shore Nature Sanctuary?

Eric Allix Rogers 17 comments

South Shore Nature Sanctuary [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

South Shore Nature Sanctuary [Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns]

Every inch of Chicago’s lakefront has been shaped by human hands. Transforming a swampy scrub into terrain suitable for a major metropolis is no small project, and the contours of the shore have been aggressively adjusted to make space. Continue reading »