Sunday, May 31, 2015

Morse and Paulina (1905-1914)

1700-1712 W. Morse
The Morse Avenue project is to take a quick look at the the variety of buildings on the street and use illustrations to make some points about its architecture and development.  So I won't going into depth about this block, and how St. Jerome's Catholic Church eventually expanded to fill it entirely.  I won't be discussing the establishment of the Catholic parishes in Rogers Park, and how they managed to break the grid of the city to allow for development better suited to their needs.  Or their importance to early Rogers Park as major social institutions.

The convent building on the right is in the same location as the original (wood) St. Jerome's Church, which was built in the 1890s.  In 1914 the congregants hired architect Charles Prindeville to design the Italian Renaissance Revival Church to the north, which was completed in 1916.  It's likely that the convent was added around that same time, since the congregation still owned that parcel. The church was substantially lengthened in the 1930s, requiring an abandonment of the alley right-of-way and opening up the property for additional development.  A rectory with distinct Art Deco touches was built along Lunt in 1939, replacing the wooden St. Paul's by the Lake, which had been on the NW corner of the site since the 1890s.

Even with good fire insurance maps it's still difficult to tell exactly what was built when, and how the buildings changed as they grew together.  The center of the block filled up with additional school buildings in the 1940s and 50s, although it seems portions of older buildings remained to anchor the new development.  The school buildings along Morse were the temporary home of the Chicago Math and Sciences Charter School, but I don't know if they currently function as a school.

This block really deserves an in-depth treatment of its own, but that will have to wait for a future post.  Or series of posts. If any old-time Roger Parkers want to clarify what was built when please feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

1523-1529 W. Morse, c. 1910

These brick two-flats were constructed between1905 and 1914. Previous development along this section of Morse had been largely single family homes, but the extension of the elevated train to Howard Street in 1908 touched off a steady increase in density that would continue through the 1920s. In the 1910s and 1920s many of the single family homes were demolished in favor of larger apartment buildings and commercial spaces.  These two-flats survived in the slot between these two trends.

1523-1529 W. Morse
When an area shifted from residential to commercial owners sometimes realized that they could add
commercial space while avoiding the cost of a complete rebuild.  Both of these 1-story commercial portions were constructed after 1951 in the postwar boom.

The drawback of this type of alteration is that it makes the original building less appealing as a residence. Views to the street are obstructed, and good luck getting light into the house. Although the second floor can enjoy an enormous roof deck....

Friday, May 8, 2015

1818-1826 W. Morse Avenue

I always enjoy seeing these frame houses on Morse, especially in the winter when their colors stand out against the snow.  I suppose that's why I kept the snow in this illustration, even though it overtaxed my modest coloring skills.

1818-1826 W. Morse (north side)

These frame homes were built after Rogers Park was annexed to Chicago in 1893.  Their construction dates range from 1894 through 1901.  These strike me as custom built homes rather than standard builder models.  They're located on very generous lots, with 50' frontages and 170' in depth.  Not a bad size for a city home.

The stucco house in the middle is particularly interesting.  The assessor dates it as 1896, but it has a distict English cottage appearance, which was popular in the 20s.  A narrow side porch leads to the main entrance, where the overhang is supported by slender round columns.  The same columns are installed in the front yard, each (for some reason) with a chicken statue on top. Sanborn Maps show that this home originally had a wrap-around porch, and those columns might represent the remnants of that porch. This would have made the home more of a Queen Anne style, which would be consistent with other nearby homes of the same period.  So I'm guessing there was a major renovation in the 1920s.