Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sleeping Porches in Rogers Park- 1503 W. Sherwin

1503 W. Sherwin, 1911
Every time I walk down Greenview this home catches my eye.  Sure, it's a nice example of the Craftsman style...but what about that 2-story tower on the south end?  It's actually the best example of a sleeping porch that I've found in Rogers Park.

Sleeping porches became popular for single family homes in the 1910s.  Many older homes had impressive methods for dealing with summer heat (wrap-around porches, stack ventilation, thick walls) but sleeping outside on a hot night was still hard to beat.  In fact, it wasn't unusual for early residents of Rogers Park to walk down to the lake and sleep on the beach, taking advantage of the breezes and the slight drop in temperature.  A sleeping porch was the far more convenient and customized version of camping out..

Sleeping outside was seen as a healthful way to rest in
Proximity to elevated train.
the cold as well.  Germ theory had broken in to popular culture, suggesting that fresh air would protect people from illness.  This was the pervasive view at  tuberculosis hospitals, where fresh air was as good (often better) than medicine. And where better to enjoy fresh air and ward off illness than the porch right outside your bedroom?  But I have to admit that the proximity of the elevated train (directly across the street) must have put a damper on the restfulness of this particular porch.

Just like open porches on the first floor it was common for these areas to be gradually enclosed and converted to interior space.  But finding one so untouched after 100 years is really unique.

From an article in The House Beautiful,  August 1911, pg. 80-81.  Accessed through Google Books.
If anyone knows of other good examples of sleeping porches in the neighborhood let me know in the comments below.  I'm keeping a list.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Building Paranoia, Revisited

Back in 2012 I wrote a post on the proliferation of "defensive" architecture in the neighborhood, especially fences, barbed wire, and security cameras. You can read it here if you like.  I recently saw another good example of security overkill on Greenleaf.  This fencing protects a tiny parking lot for the former Jewel Laundry (now Ethiopian Cultural Center) just to the east. They use barbed wire to keep the razor wire in place.  The tower in the background was part of the original heating plant, although it looks like the height was reduced at some point.