Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Seville Apartments, 1263 W. Pratt, 1919

Every now and then I'll come across a historic photo of a building in Rogers Park.  If it still exists I try to get a recent image at a similar angle for comparison.  For some reason apartment buildings in Rogers Park have been very well documented, usually through real estate publications.  The 9-story Seville at Pratt and Lakewood was included in "A Portfolio of Fine Apartment Homes," compiled by Baird & Warner and printed in 1928.  The building itself was built in 1919 according to the assessor.  I believe there's a cornerstone with the exact date, if anyone is nearby...

This building looks pretty much the same, although it lost the decorative stone urns along the parapet.  It was designed in a restrained version of Italian Renaissance Revival, with rusticated limestone on the first floor, decorative balconies at the 9th floor, and a modest cornice. Apartment rentals included "ice-less" refrigeration, gas and electricity.  And maid service was optional.  A large light court on the east provided light and ventilation to the units set back from the street.

In the 1920s neighborhoods along the lakefront saw a rapid increase in density.  This was bolstered by the 1923 Zoning Code, which allowed a maximum height of 198' (this building is only 98').  Large apartment buildings were becoming more common in Rogers Park before the stock market crashed in 1929.  Had development continued Rogers Park might have come to resemble some of the built-up areas in Uptown and Lakeview to the south.  Instead this building still shares the block with single family homes.

The Seville was designed by the firm of Rissman and Hirschfeld, which was responsible for many large hotels and apartment buildings in the 1910s and 1920s.  Their work includes the Knickerbocker Hotel at 163-188 E. Walton (next to the Palmolive Building) ,the Surfway Apartment Hotel at 553-555 W. Surf and the massive buildings at 2440 N. Lakeview and 3520-3530 N. Lake Shore Drive.

Information for this post was provided by "A Portfolio of Fine Apartment Houses" (1928), the online Chicago Historic Resources Survey, and the "Surf-Pine Grove Landmark Designation Report" (2006), which can be found on 


  1. Ty for this ! I just moved there and was looking for some history on the building.