Friday, May 13, 2011

7210-7212 N. Paulina- Apartments of the Better Class #2

Northwest corner of Touhy and Paulina
This buiding is at the northwest corner of Touhy and Paulina in Rogers Park.  It's one of my favorites from the Directory to Apartments of the Better Class, as referenced in my previous post.  I remember admiring the arched brick and stone entrance on Touhy, and wondering why it was called "The Kenilworth," which I thought was pretentious.  It's still kind of pretentious, but it's because Kenilworth Avenue was the original name for Touhy.

I like that this building has retained it's original windows and the Italian tile roofs. 

This is also one of the few entries which uses a rendering of the building rather than a photograph.  It was fairly common to have a perspective rendering made for a speculative building in order to attract investors and tenants.  The real estate section of the Chicago Tribune would publish these, even for small buildings. The drawing above is pretty much dead-on, a testament to the skills of the draftsman.  I wonder if the original drawing is hanging on a wall somewhere.  Or more likely, long gone.

Click for larger version.
I'm impressed at how efficiently the architect has arranged this building to maximize the number of units on the lot.  Narrow light courts bring in air and provide alley access to the rear stairs.  Some of the larger units have space for maid's rooms, but most do not.  The design generally depends on the front bays to bring in light. 

This building features one of my favorite awkward realities of many Chicago apartments-- a wall of windows on the narrow interior court perfectly aligned with a neighbor's wall of windows.  In this case it occurs between the two dining rooms of the middle units fronting on Touhy.  I hope whoever lives there are on good terms.

It advertised close proximity to the Birchwood Elevated Station. I think this is now the Jarvis Station, unless Birchwood was another stop that was later removed.

Click for larger version.
Apartments offered the most modern amenities.  Changes and improvements in technology were rapidly incorporated into apartment construction.  This was a good way to attract high-class tenants who might otherwise look for a single-family home.  Gas heat, electricity, and refrigeration were all used the same way solid marble counter tops and sub-zero freezers are used today.

Showing overall page layout.
As usual, click for larger version.

I don't know much about the architect, Percy Johnstone, but I can at least share a couple more of his buildings identified in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.  Photos are taken from the Cook County Assessor:
2200 W. Granville

1527 W. Touhy


  1. Looks like Birchwood, an old name for the neighborhood, was the name of the station where the Northwestern Elevated at one time terminated at Jarvis. There was a court case about it, actually. The name was probably changed because of confusion with Birchwood Ave.

  2. Johnstone designed the Grandeur at 1055 W. Granville, though I haven't tracked down a date for it.