Friday, June 14, 2013

Combining Styles, #2 - 6741 N. Clark and 2125 W. Devon

Last year I wrote about some buildings which expanded their first floors into adjacent lots, resulting in a facade reflecting two different eras of development and design.  You can read that post here.    But what kind of expansion happens when a developed street changes from residential to commercial?  Every now and again it results in a front yard addition, creating an odd hybrid building.

6741-6743 N. Clark

This one is near the intersection of Clark and Pratt in Rogers Park.  Behind it you can see the c.1905 frame house. Before 1927 this home had a generous, green front yard (I'm assuming it was green).  Clark Street was changing, and the area was no longer as idyllic as it had been 20 years previous.  But there was still value in the home as well as potential to take advantage of the commercial character of the street.   So the owners extended it forward into a simple 1-story brick and stone commercial structure.  The storefronts have been infilled with vertical siding and the windows reduced to be practically non-existent, but there it remains. 

2125 W. Devon

In West Ridge there's a more jolting combination on Devon near Hamilton.  The assessor dates the rear structure  as 1896, which seems correct to me.  At that time it would have been surrounded by greenhouses to the south, east and west.  It's unusual to see a flat-roofed frame building with classical ornament.  In fact, it's the only one that I know of in the area.  It's been covered with brick-patterned asphalt siding, which makes me wonder if there's more detail hidden beneath it.

The commercial extension is concrete block, which I date to the 1980s.  The preservationist  in me recognizes this as an era when extreme disinterest in the public realm combined with a desire to make money quickly, leaving Chicago with many similar "improvements".   But the other part of me takes a deep breath and recognizes that both buildings provide useful information about the changing character of the area and the shifting values of the residents.