April 01, 2011

A History of My Block

Historical Stratford Place
Some Background
In the years between 1890-1910, after the annexation of the City of Lake View in 1889, came an era of intellectual and architectural awakening to be called the  City Beautiful Movement. A dense and excellent book was published in 1893 about the evolution and creation of public parks, grand boulevards and gardened cemeteries, that highlights this movement. It was called Chicago: The Garden City.
The Columbian Exposition of 1893 composed of monumental white classical buildings arranged along a broad mall; became a new, orderly vision for futuristic cities that would be a stark contrast to the crowded and messy reality that was the 19th century architecture. 
A leader in this was the architect Daniel H. Burnham. He was to say, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." Burnham had in mind the kinds of innovations that the European visionary Georges-Eugène Haussman, had in mind for Paris; sweeping aside whole parts of a town to build wide boulevards and monuments, long vistas, colonnades, gardens for the dead, and spacial beer gardens entertainment areas.
This is the era that Stratford Place was named.
In the earliest days of American urban development streets tended to be named for landmarks, like Church, Market, Monument, Canal, Wall, Court, and Dock, and obvious topographic or hydrological features like Hill or Water, or references to the street's position like East or Middle. Often major streets would be named for symbols of nature, power and authority. This was in the era a ½ block street called Stratford Place, originally called Newport Avenue, got its name and this bloggers' street.
The section of Newport Avenue nearest the lakefront between Evanston (Broadway) Avenue and the lake was apparently created as an extension of an existing street sometime between 1890 - 1892. Prior to 1890 this roadway was non-existent. By 1897 eastern segment of Newport was renamed Stratford Place after the birth-home of a world renowned playwright's hometown.
Some Background Terms for the Reader:
In spite of the grid system that existed from the time of Thompson's survey of the city in 1830, navigating Chicago was not simple. The house and street numbering system was inconsistent and became more so as Chicago annexed adjacent towns. In 1880 the City Council took steps toward addressing the problem with an ordinance that adjusted house numbers south of Twelfth Street (Roosevelt Road) to match the numbered streets on the south side, but the measure neglected the central and northern portions of the city. Large-scale annexations of 1889 complicated matters further throughout the city.
In 1901, Edward P. Brennan proposed a solution, recommending State and Madison as the baseline for a city-wide street numbering system. In 1908, after years of debate, alterations, and improvements, the Chicago City Council adopted the plan, with implementation enforced beginning September 1, 1909. John P. Riley of the city's maps department was instrumental in hammering out the plan's final form. The initial legislation exempted the Loop or business district, but after its initial success, the Council amended the ordinance in 1910 to include that area, with a compliance date of April 1, 1911. 
Fire insurance maps are widely used by historians, preservationists, planners, genealogists, and others interested in seeing what particular buildings, neighborhoods, and towns looked like in the past. Fire insurance maps show the footprints of buildings and other structures, as well as the construction material (masonry, frame, etc.), use (garage, bakery, residence), and other information. As the name implies, such maps were created to help insurers determine the level of risk involved in insuring particular properties against fire. Fire insurance maps were published by several companies, but the largest producer was the Sanborn Map Company between 1867-2007.
I begin this Blog with this Parking Lot
505 Stratford Place
 photo - Garry Albrecht 2011
 photo - Garry Albrecht 2011
 photo - Garry Albrecht  2011
 photo - Garry Albrecht  2011
I was always intrigued of the dwelling that was protected by this ornate metal fence. The answer began with the construction of a mansion in 1912.
In 1914 the Behr mansion was designed by 
architect George W. Maher who is the same architect for another building located at 551 Stratford building. Edith Behr was the daughter of the six million dollar Lehmann Estate while he husband 'claim to fame' was to be a 'wealthy sportsman' who died in 1938. The remaining Behr family would later move to Lake Forest. The building did not survive beyond the 1960's according to an aerial map of that period.
View more of Maher's accomplishments particularly a mansion on Hutchinson Street built during tate same time period. I posted more information on this family within this post.

(click on image to enlarge)
The Construction Phase 1914
view from Stratford Place before the fence
view from the then Sheridan Road with back entrance
images - 'Construction News Magazine' via 
LakeView Historical contributor Kevin Peterson
The Chicagoan
with a story about her parents and their investments
The Chicagoan
The last bit of news I discovered 
regarding this mansion 1942
1962 This poor aerial non-digital image indicates 
a transition from single family homes along the block
Look closely toward the right of the image below on the south side of the block appears to be one of the first 4+1 (single unit apts) on the block that is next to the old Behr mansion. Sometime shortly after the Behr mansion disappeared from aerial view due to unknown event. I have not discovered the reason for the mansion's demise. I do have a guess but...

Apparently the Coach House was Wrecked in 1987
According to these permits that I obtained from the City of Chicago 'old buildings department' the coach house was demolished in 1987 by Sholom Temple officials. 
Now Let's Begin
The Timeline for Stratford Place
Charles T. Gilbert Real Estate Map 1890  
It would appear my street did not exist prior to 1890.
Below are maps indicating the name change from Newport Avenue to Stratford Place. It appears the street may have been constructed immediately after the map was published. The font on Newport appears to be typed on the map itself after it was printed.
 Rand McNally & Co., 1892 
Sometime between the years 1895 and 1897 the eastern part of Newport Avenue was renamed Stratford Place.
Stratford Place in 1913 
Searching for Silsbee blog - Chuckman Collection 
According to this blogs' contributor Christopher Payne one of the house depicted in the above postcard image (second from the left) was "designed by architect Joseph Silsbee
The Dutch Colonial with the broad round porch was 
Judge Egbert Jamieson's home. It was built in 1887. The one in the foreground was his son Malcolm's home. It was built in 1891." The pre-1909 address of the houses in the above postcard were from left to right 50, 38, and 30 Newport Avenue according to a Sanborn Fire Map of 1894. The Sanborn Fire Map of 1923 indicates their post-1909 addresses along with a street name change - respectfully 600, 566, and 554 Stratford Place. Judge Egbert Jamieson's home in 1894 was 38 Newport and in 1923 566 Stratford Place. 
photo - Searching for Silsbee blog
view of Judge Egbert Jamieson's home in 1892
I found this blog about this page that included more about Silsbee and his relationship with the Lake View area. The blog is called Searching for Sisbee - a good read. 
Stratford Place was named after playwright and poet William Shakespeare. His birth place was Stratford-on-Avon; a market town in South Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, 22 miles (35 km) south east of Birmingham and 8 miles (13 km) south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term 'on' to indicate that it covers a much larger area than the town itself.
Why the road between Hawthorne Place and Cornelia Street was constructed and why the name changed from Newport to Stratford Place is still under review and further research by this blogger. The construction of Newport Avenue (an extension of the roadway west of then called Evanston now Broadway) may have been created to gain access to two dwellings in the middle of his 10.8 acre property. 
(view the 1887 map below)
History of the Stratford Place with 
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps 
This 1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map indicates the lack of any road between Hawthorne Place and Cornelia Street. This 10.8 acre property was owned by Elisha Hundley who resided on Elaine Place and co-owned the hotel called the Lake View Hotel once located between Grace and Irving Park Road near the lakefront. 
Sheridan Road nor inner Lake Shore Drive 
did not exist prior to 1898. 
The locator for this Sanborn Fire Map is
1894-7 vol.9, sheet #104 
This 1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a road between Hawthorne Place and Cornelia Street called Newport Avenue. This map shows the original houses and dwellings along the avenue.  Sheridan Road (inner LSD) nor Lake Shore Drive did not exist prior to the drawing of the map.The penciled in address numbers shown above indicated pre-1909 Chicago address changes.
image - Newberry Library 
indicating explanation for name of the street.
William Shakespeare 
In 1894 his stature was erected near Beldon Avenue 
and Lincoln Park West in Lincoln Park, the park.
This 1909 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the proposed extension of the park, Lincoln Park. Notice the original planned design of the lagoon instead of a formal harbor.

1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 
The locator is 1905-51 vol.9, sheet #104 
Some Early Residents 1909 
(reflecting city-wide address changes)

What I discovered 
about some of the residents
* Mrs. Louis H. Boldenweck  (and Felix)  lived at 609 was apparently the sister-in-law of the only Mayor of City of Lake View, William Boldenweck (mayor 1887-1889). Mr Louis died from an accident in 1896 and his wife Louise died in 1923. Felix was her son and nephew of the former mayor.
* Joseph B. Cavanaugh of 523 was 'executive head' of the Western Coal and Dock Company that was located in Waukegan.
* William Birk was president of the Birk Brothers Brewing Company.
George M. Harvey (& Company) who lived at 600 owned his own insurance company. (more on this one later)
William Nash who resided at 619 was a regarded as a 'leading bachelor' according to a Harvard University publication of 1908.
* The Taylor's located at 561 (50 old address) Prez of General Willington Coal Company
* Oswald F. Kropf who resided at 554 was secretary and treasurer of a manufacturing company called Findeisen & Kropf as of 1918.
* There appears to a connection between Oswald Kropf and Henry Beneke. Mr. Beneke gain an interest in  Mr. Findeisen's company and company had a new name of Beneke & Kropf Manufacturing Company as of 1919. Henry became VP and Oswald Kropf the president.
* Gilbert Scribner who resided 551 was a general contractor of stone masonry and had business with William Wrigley, Jr. 
* Theodore Fathauer owned a lumber company.
* R. A. Junker who resided at 629 apparently was general manager of Lincoln Ice Company that dealt with ice refrigeration.
(click to enlarge map)

This Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows the Temple Sholom that was built in 1928 and the Behr Mansion that was build in 1914. The Behr mansion was located at the corner of the Sheridan Road (inner LSD) and Stratford Place. Mrs. Behr's father was the founder and owner of largest department store of its time called The Fair. The Fair Department Store was the Marshall Fields of its' day.
History of Stratford Place 
according to the Chicago Daily Tribune
This is a 1897 story about a disturbance on Stratford Place involving a cat and police from Halsted (Old Town Hall). The Old Town Hall was a combination of police, government, and post office until 1907.
(click on article to enlarge)
1894  An illegal breakwater is constructed off Cornelia
 (click on article to enlarge)
This 1900 article is about a visit by Admiral Philip to his             cousin who resided at 38 Stratford Place  
(click on article to enlarge)
1908  This article is about a theft of a resident who resided at 50 Stratford Place; one year before the 
city-wide address change.
1909  From a 'High Society' article

1912  Resident of 523 Stratford Place dies in 1912,

Joseph Cavanaugh - man of industry

1912  This a segment of a longer notice indicates purchase of property that is now a parking lot owned by Sholom Temple. 
The original fence stills surrounds the old Behr property
1913  Mrs. Behr mother and heir/owner of her deceased husband's store, The Fair, seemed to bit of a snob
1916  Pre Temple Sholom - A land speculator purchased property along Stratford Place, Cornelia and Sheridan Road (inner LSD) 12 years before the construction of Sholom Temple.

1918  This article below is a tale involving a 
resident's automobile and this 'rough fellow'.
1918  This article below is about an inheritance of a woman who was married to Ernest J. Lehmann who owned one of the largest department stores of its day, The FairHer daughter, Edith Behr (Lehmann) resided at 505 Stratford Place, now the parking lot for Sholom Temple and my main reason for starting this blog in the first place. The inheritance value in 2015 
dollars would be $57 million.
   This article indicates the total wealth of 
E.J. Lehmann, CEO and owner of The Fair, upon his death and what he left to his wife and children. 
The estimated value of inheritance in 2015 dollars 
is over 250 million.
The last of the Lehmann Estate Sold in 1953
In 1924 the construction of the luxury 
Stratford Apartments that still exist and reportedly owned recently by Sholom Temple
The Stratford Apartments - 1920's

apparently the building never had that entrance canopy
You can view & zoom with the following link the enlargement
photo - Photographic Images of Change 
(University of Illinois at Chicago)
The Stratford Apartments - 2011
The half moon drive is now gone
This building symbolizes the town of Stratford-Upon-Aon 
in England - home of William Shakespeare

image - Ebay
The flats were inspired by the home of William Shakespeare

1926  This article is about the construction of apartment Co-op complex located west of the Stratford Apartments at 532-536 Stratford Place 
1926  This is an article about the construction of Sholom Temple by its south-side congregation. The corner stone was set in place in 1928

above photos - Garry Albrecht 
a sanctuary view for their website
The historical path to Lake View
1927 This is a  article about the apartment complex located at 609 Stratford Place
609 Stratford Place 

A 534 W Stratford Place brochure
(click to enlarge)
 Built in 1927


images - Art Institute of Chicago 
'STRATFORD CORNELIA CORP Incorporated [the building] in 1935 to acquire property securing the former 534 Stratford Place Building Corp first 614s pursuant to reorganization of property under section 77B of Bankruptcy Act Bondholders received one share of stock for each $100 bond Property Comprises land owned In fee 15 story apartment building erected thereon located at 534 36 38 Stratford Place and extending through to 535 37 39 Cornelia Ave Chicago. Building of face brick and stone fireproof construction contains master rooms and 392 auxiliary rooms divided into 138 apartments' - via Moody's 1944 publication
1929  The article below is a tale of a building that was faced an impending demise two days after the Great Depression of 1929. The original house still exists at 551 Stratford. My guess is that the developer's company did not survive the depression era hence saving the house from destruction. The exterior of the house is original while the interior had been completely rehab to meet the needs of the current family.
A replacement?? 1929
image - Art Institute of Chicago

images - Art Institute of Chicago
advertisement highlighting house -  Art Institute of Chicago
photo - Hub Pages
 551 Stratford Place is the last remaining 
single family house on the block as of 2013
Lois Weisberg lived in the house for decades
1935  Another Edith Behr (same name & daughter of) of 505 Stratford Place is to be married
1936  Another Wedding

1937  Marriage is the news of the day on Stratford Place
1939  Moving day in the air at 540 Stratford Place 
1940  Owner of Brauer Cafe dies:
a resident of Stratford Place
originally called Lincoln Park Refectory
1908 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
1908 photo - Lincoln Park Zoo Magazine
1911 photo - Art Institute of Chicago

 His wife would move to Broadway and Barry in 1928
A South Pond Refectory Brief
'Designed by Dwight Perkins in 1908 and originally known as the South Pond Refectory, Café Brauer is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1987, The Lincoln Park Zoological Society became responsible for a full-scale restoration of Café Brauer, most of which hadn’t been used since the late 1930s. Many original details, including the entire tile roof, were re-created or restored, which attracts wedding parties who marvel at the beauty of this treasured building.' - Lincoln Park Zoo Magazine
 Scandal on Stratford!
Laws were established after this to protect
 'special need' folks in Illinois
(click article below to enlarge)
It began in the Fall of 1941 til 1943


A Fine Only in 1943
1951  Viewing a film at 540 Stratford
1953  War hero and Lake View High Graduate
Also in 1953 ... This article tells a tale of the Belmont Harbor District/Community as well as an indicator of the status of the original homes on my block; from single family dwellings to single room occupancy. This was the era for mansion tear-downs and construction of the 4+1 style apartments.
(click on article to enlarge)
1957  A parking lot was planned in the middle of 
Stratford Place at 554. Today is it is the back end of building located on Cornelia Street - the pool
(click on article to enlarge)
609 Stratford Place
My first residential space was on the top left floor 
of this building with a window view of the harbor
photo - Photographic Images of Change 
(University of Illinois at Chicago)
1963 This is a classified ad (lower left) indicates values of the time; an era of vintage tear-downs of 
single family dwellings called 4+1's.
Since 1952 citizen organizations have tried to slow the growth of single occupancy particularly called 4+1's. By the early 1970's the city council issued ordinances that severely hampered the construction of anymore construction permits of this type of building.  
1964  Apparently, Temple Sholom invited a Nobel Peace Prize candidate to Stratford Place on October 21 - his name was Martin Luther King. King would accept the nomination on December 10th the same year in Olso, Norway.
Here are the construction dates 
of the buildings on the block
 I compiled a list of construction dates of 
the buildings on my block as of 2010 
composed by Garry Albrecht

600 Stratford Place
Blue Print 1888
image - Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
(click to enlarge article below)

2007   The 'A Victory for History' article highlighted the possible preservation of the old Harvey House 
at 600 Stratford Place
Pre-2007 Harvey House
back of the house - Art Institute of Chicago
 Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
Below is an image from a video feed of the fire that destroyed the Harvey House in the 2006
the fire 
the aftermath
wood beam ceiling construction: an after the fire photo
Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
photo after the fire 
Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
photo after the fire 
Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
photo after the fire 
Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
2007 First planned development for the property
2012 A second proposed design for Harvey House was rejected by local neighborhood association with blue print.
600 is still vacant as of early 2013
New home soon??
photos - Garry Albrecht

2013 from Stratford Place
2013 from Cornelia Avenue
photos - Chicago Real Estate Local
600 Stratford Place 
photo - Garry Albrecht
600 Stratford Place 

photo - Garry Albrecht
600 & 606 Stratford Place
With a New Look for Stratford Place

 both photos above - Yo Chicago
  New construction for 538 Stratford Place and as of 2010 still not fully developed as planned by the latest developer.
A Home Renovation 
606 Stratford Place
the before:
the during:
The new owners kept the facade and moved the main entrance from one side to the other
the final product
From a Flat to a Modern Four + One
The Permits
This blogger resides at 525 Stratford Place. My apartment building was constructed in 1965. The current and rehabbed building accommodates over 45 units. My building and the building next to it (523 an existing 4+1) replaced a 8 story 32 unit 3k sq ft area and 70 ft high apartment building.
The images below are 1962 permits from the former
 Cook County Records Department. 
The Rehab Photos

the before photo
below the after photos
2012 photos - Garry Albrecht
In 2011 my building was sold to a rental management company called Reside Living. It was called as 'Reside on Stratford', This company, a decade before, rehabbed former Belmont Hotel, now called The Belmont on Reside, located on corner of Sheridan Road and Belmont Avenue into luxury apartments. in 2012 Reside began the process of completely rehabbing my 47 year old building into 'city living redefined' -there words not mine. This rental company added new technology into a building meant for single/couple individual occupancy of the 1960's - keeping to the originality of the purpose of the original 4+1's.
Maybe these intimate luxury apartments of the early 21st century will redefine the concept of 'single occupancy buildings' now meant for wealthier urban dwellers instead of its initial intent - the working poor. 
The Stratford Place Block Club
In 2013 Stratford Place had a short-lived Block Club that only lasted a few months before the organizer had to moved to Oak Lawn to be with his aging father. Due to the fact that the street is located between two city wards both Alderman Cappleman and Tunney attended the meeting in the oldest remaining house on Stratford Place. Below are some photos of the event. 
a flyer was distributed 6 weeks before the event 
 The location on the block was offered 
and the meeting room assembled
food was donated 
by Revolucion Mexican Steakhouse 
located on the corner of Stratford & Broadway
 Alderman's Cappleman & Tunney
19th District Cmdr. Elias Voulgaris
the hosts - Chicago Phoenix photos
Also, read more about block clubs with this link provided by
the Chicago Police Department who is the overseer of this type of organization.

Post Notes
Due to a family health issue with my father I moved back to my childhood home in Oak Lawn in 2014. I miss my old block and the folks in it. 

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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