Sometimes a vacant lot opens up a window into the interior of a block. In this case the empty parcel at the northwest corner of Morse and Clark reveals a rear brick building with a gable roof attached to the flat-roofed building fronting on Clark. This corner has been used as a parking lot for the bank across the street for at least 50 years, so the view is nothing new for Rogers Park residents.
It's not really blue. I added that.
When I first noticed this building I assumed that it must have pre-dated the commercial building at the front of the lot by at least 10 years. Its setback and design is consistent with early brick residences in the neighborhood. Unfortunately the Sanborn Maps didn't help me to figure out the exact gap in time between the two buildings. In 1894 there's nothing on the lot, and in 1905 you see both buildings attached as they are today. It's possible the rear building was built in 1895 and the front building in 1904. This would give a maximum time spread of 9 years.
But even if we can assume the maximum spread that's not very long before a major addition was built. It indicates a commercial district that was rapidly developing. But this isn't a surprise. After its annexation to Chicago in 1893 Rogers Park could utilize metropolitan utilities and infrastructure. The neighborhood began attracting more residents and new stores were needed to satisfy the demand. If you can keep the older building on the lot while catering to that increase why wouldn't you?
Today the little building remains residential, as far as I can tell. And judging by the attached satellite dishes there are at least 3 units in there.