Monday, July 2, 2012

7440-7455 N. Hoyne, 1929 - Emma Kennett Strikes Again

On the short block of Hoyne between Fargo and Birchwood our intrepid developer, Emma Kennett, probably created her most notable project.  These six buildings are roughly the same size and shape, but their facades were given the high-style eclectic treatment popular in the 1920s.  And of course nothing said taste and luxury quite like French and Spanish Revival. 

According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune on March 31, 1929, these buildings represented a $480,000 investment on behalf of the developer. That's nearly $6.5 million adjusted to 2012.  An ambitious undertaking.  And as a side note, just a few months away from the onset of the Great Depression.

On the east side of the block are the Spanish Revival styles.  They all have various types of wrought iron balconies and a pale cream brick, which was seen as appropriate to the style.  There are casement windows and French doors on the upper floors, and double-hung windows with similar pane divisions at the ground level.  The casement windows alone are worth a visit.  So few original casements survive from the 20s, and this block has an impressive number of them.  Imagine how much these buildings would lose with simple double-hung replacements.

I'm particularly impressed by the door on the left.  Not only is it an arched door in a rounded tower, but the door itself is curved to match the tower radius.  The middle door is set within an ornamental stone surround that I can only describe as Art Deco.  The simplicity of the door to the right is off-set by a complex portal window, which reflects some of the arched windows treatments on the block.  Two have elaborate copper kick-plates and decorative hinges attached with rivets.

The west side of the block is even more elaborate.  Curved towers and complex roof forms anchor these buildings, which have random-cut limestone veneers at the lower floors and brick above.  The half-timbering designs are works of art in themselves. The false mansard roofs on this side of the street are large, making them easier to read than the Spanish-style roof forms across the street. 

The doors are great, each with a unique design and window pattern.  They all have the same copper kick-plates and hinges seen on the east side of the block.  And I've never seen a window pattern quite like the one found on the center door.

The Tribune article indicates that Emma Kennett designed these buildings with the help of Herbert J. Richter.  A casual internet seach couldn't turn up the identity of Mr. Richter.  I assumed he was the architect, but according to the Chicago Historic Resources Survey the architect of record is Arthur Bucket.  This would make sense, since I already found Arthur Bucket's name associated with the corner apartment building at Farwell and Oakley, which I wrote about previously.  So who's Herbert Richter?  No idea.

It was great to find these buildings included in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, and it gives me an opportunity to illustrate the value of a good survey sheet.  In addition to a site map and small photograph the surveyor also creates a narrative of the architectural significance of the building.  The account below explains why architectural historians are in constant danger of walking in front of cars while wandering through the city:
7451-7455 N. Hoyne
Symmetrical facade centers on semi-circular plan bay/stair tower with portal at base and topped with a hexagonal roof and finial.  Romanseque casement windows on either side of door topped with six-paned fan light.  All windows in sets of threes except baseement of simple Roman arch.  First floor fenestration repeats casement-fanlight treament with a colonade of counter-spiralled pilasters.

Third floor bays have pairs of French doors opening onto balconies flanked by smaller windows. 

Stylized Italianate eave brackets lead the eye to small windows on 2nd/3rd floors, one with ornated carved limestone surrounds and pilasters. 

Door is carved, paneled oak with semicircular leaded overglass with peep windows at eye level.  Keystones, sills, brackets and spiral columns rendered in stone.  Limestone coping on south corner gate repeats brackets at roofline. The lion finial weathervane atop tower [Did I miss this, or is it gone?], false hinges on doors and kickplate are hammered copper.
It's exhausting to read too many of these, so I'm just including this one as a representative sample.  Some descriptions are much longer.

And of course I need to include L.B. Sugerman's rendering of the west side of the street. He provided a number of perspective drawings for Kennett Construction, and once I find a better quality example of his work I'll revisit him in greater detail.


  1. I do not see a link for a survey sheet, site map or photograph of these buildings under the Chicago Historic Resources Survey link, but would love to peruse them. Could you help me out with this? Thank you, I would appreciate it!

  2. I understand if this is beyond the scope of resources available to me as a layman!

    1. Susan, the survey forms aren't available online. They have to be viewed at the City, which takes some prior arrangement. If I can find my old research file I'll post them here.

    2. That's okay, Larry. Thank you for sharing the Chicago Historic Resources Survey link. Now I can explore the definitions of some of the buildings stylistic influences!
      It is so interesting to hear about Emma Kennett. I now know she has been involved in a number of buildings in Rogers Park. I don't know why she was not given some credit for her work.
      I love your blog, and am looking through previous posts. It is wonderful to imagine what and who traveled these sidewalks before we did.