Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flatirons in Rogers Park #3- Greenview, Howard and Rogers

I've finally found the Rogers Park equivalent of Times Square.  Sort of.  Seventh Street and Broadway create a New York-sized hour-glass as they scissor across each other.  Howard and Rogers create a Rogers Park-sized hour-glass.  This intersection acts as the east gateway to the sadly faded Howard Street commercial district.  The criss-cross allowed for the construction of two opposing flatiron buildings, the only instance of this happening in the neighborhood.  Because of the strange way that Howard shifts south as it heads east over Greenview these buildings seem to point at each other like huge arrows. 

Although I reference Rogers Avenue in a previous post, I didn't really go into any explanation of why there's such an uncharacteristic diagonal street cutting through the neighborhood.  In 1816 the Fox and Sauk tribes ceded a 20 mile corridor to the United States at the Treaty of St. Louis.  Everything outside of this corridor was owned by Native Americans until the Chicago Treaty of 1833.  At which point you were out of luck if you were a Native American.  Rogers Avenue represents the northern boundary of this defunct corridor, and continues from Lake Michigan to the southwest.  You can still find this line on plat maps.  Although it doesn't have much meaning nowadays, it's responsible for some unusual street and park configurations.  For a great entry about this check out Forgotten Chicago's website.
1509-1519 W. Howard
Buit: 1922
Architect: Leo Miller

On the west side of the intersection is a very handsome building with limestone facade, a classical parapet and flat-pedimented entry.  There's a really interesting antique and thrift store here which has been in the neighborhood forever.  I'm not sure if there are apartments above or additional storage.  The limestone has some condition issues, but you can tell that this building is very important to someone.

7601-7611 W. Rogers
Built: 1928
Architect: M.O. Nathan

This building on the east side of the intersection doesn't use its false mansard roof to the best effect.  But some interesting ornament is found on the side elevations, where elaborate parapets project above the roofline and contain decorative arched areas framing triple-ganged windows.  Unfortunately the first floor has been coated with a pebble stucco which has not aged well.  I think all the storefronts in this building are vacant.

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