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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Frame Houses on Estes, 1907


So I'm continuing to document some of the more common frame homes in an area of Rogers Park bounded by Touhy, Clark, Pratt and Ridge.  One of the best ways to do this is to spot a rows of homes clearly related in their massing, materials, characteristics, and then go draw them.


Gable front cottages are the classic workers' housing in Chicago.  You may have seen the gold-plated versions of these from the 1870s and 1880s in Old Town and Lincoln Park, where they've often been elaborately restored with eave brackets and complex window and door moldings. What you see above are simplified versions, with minimal ornamentation and generous front porches.  All four were permitted in 1907 for owner John M. Carlson.  The first two cost $2,500 each, but the next two cost only $2,000 each.  This is the advantage of building identical homes- each time you find ways to estimate the building materials more accurately and make the process more efficient.  And of course this translates into a greater profit.


Less than a block to the east there's another cluster of homes.  These were developed by Jacob Meirel, and four of the six were permitted in October of 1907.  Two alternating models were built.  The gable design provides for greater attic volume, while the hipped roof includes a front-facing dormer to introduce more light.  Both designs have partial-length front porches and projecting bays on the first floor.  These were built for $4,000 each, a substantial step-up from the basic cottages down the street, but still affordable to a middle-class household.

So there's nothing revolutionary going on here.  Developers are moving into a neighborhood and cautiously building a few homes.  If they sell and a profit is made they build a few more.  Variations in size and price occur to tailor the homes to different budgets, often on the same block.  This is the heyday for this type of frame construction in Rogers Park.  Lots which don't develop in this period will be developed later at a greater density due to the increases in the cost of land, labor, and materials. But for now let's enjoy Rogers Park in its suburban phase...

You can see previous postings about other frame houses in this area here and here.

4 comments:

  1. These are really great. I walk around the neighborhood a lot and every now and again, I notice that "Hey, these are all the same house." By now they're a hundred years old, so they look different, but the form is there. About ten years ago, they were building a housing development in Andresonville. It was ugly and I couldn't imagine anyone living there. But now, they're really lovely. It's hard to imagine whatvour verdant, established neighborhood must have looked like when it was just built. One, maybe not me, could use this as an argument for new construction.

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  2. Thanks Terri. You're not wrong. How you look at buildings changes over time, just like the buildings themselves. I've never been involved in a new construction project that didn't have some opposition. Even ten years later it's hard to remember what the fuss was about.

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  3. Larry, I really enjoy when I see a blog post from you come up in my feedly. Here's a crazy thought: I wonder if 100 years from now, we'll be celebrating today's subdivision architecture.

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  4. I'm sure we will. If it survives for first 50 years.

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