April 01, 2011

A History of My Block

My Block called
 Stratford Place
I lived on this half block road from 1993-2014
the double red lines indicated the location of my street
from Broadway to inner Lake Shore Drive
off the northern end of
Belmont Harbor
 this 1959 press photo is part of my collection
a zoomed view of the Young's home next to Temple Sholom
An Aerial View in 1962 below
all images - NETR Historic Aerials
An Aerial View in 1972 below
the blue strip on map below
Some Background 
on the Street Name & Location
1887 Rascher's Map
located the X's
zoomed view below
a further zoomed view below
Charles T. Gilbert Real Estate Map 1890 
Still non-existent
Rand McNally Map 1892 
The map below indicated once the street was constructed the initial name of the street was Newport Avenue, an extension of the block west of Halsted Street. It would appear that the street may have been constructed immediately after that map was published. The font 'Newport Ave' appears to be typed-in?? on the map apparently just after it was rolled off the presses in 1892. And by the way, the checker board tracks represent public trans on rail in the middle of the Evanston Avenue (Broadway) and Halsted Street.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 1894
name change to Stratford Place
*Sheridan Road until 1931*
Rand McNally Map 1916
*the harbor opened in 1916*
I begin my Discovery Story
with a Parking Lot
corner of inner Lake Shore Drive/Stratford Place
a 2019 Google Map view
I was liked resided yards away near this parking lot. I would walk by it on my way to the bus to work each day. I was always intrigued by this ornate metal fence and the parking lot within it. Why is this  privately owned parking lot have a fence like this one? Was anything once surrounding it? Do I care?  .... and yes I did!!
After a few keyword searches from the Chicago Public Library online the answer to my intrigue was revealed with the illustration of a real estate advertisment of a residence what was then the corner of Sheridan Road (inner Lake Shore Drive) & Stratford Place. 
The Behr residence was designed by architect George W. Maher in 1914 as well as another building at 551 Stratford Place in the 1890's. Miss Edith's wealth would increase after her mothers' death (Augusta) and become one of the trustees of her father's store, The Fair once located in the Loop.
Miss Edith's Wealth
Her Wealth Begins ....
with her Father's death
and then ...
Miss Edith's Property
is currently a parking lot for congregatants of 
Temple Sholom
2011 photos - Garry Albrecht 
Before the Parking Lot 
At this time inner Lake Shore Drive was called 
Sheridan Road prior to 1931 
from Diversey West Sheridan Road
The Construction Phase 1914
images - 'Construction News Magazine' via 
LakeView Historical contributor Kevin Peterson
the view from Stratford Place 
the view Sheridan Road before the fence
with backyard car entrance
the fence installed
2021 text & photo by Carey Wintergreen
R.W.R. Capes via Tom Morrisey, Original Chicago-Facebook
Benjamin Leslie [& Edith] Behr Residence
Now: Temple Sholom parking lot
505 W Stratford Pl corner of N Lake Shore Dr
Later known as: 3466 N Lake Shore Dr
Architect: George W Maher
Style: Italian Renaissance
▪️1914 | Behr constructs a 15-room mansion
▪️1942 | Mansion purchased by Harriet Henry Young 
▪️1950 | Mansion converted to 7 apartments
[1961 Mansion purshased by Temple Sholom]
▪️ 1967 [or shortly after] | Demolished
the view of the fence today
along inner Lake Shore Drive - former Sheridan Road
a 1922 
10 by 14 full page ad - part of my collection
The Owner
Miss Edith 
daughter of LJ & Edith Lehmann
Her father owned a department store called The Fair 
in the Loop area at the turn of the 20th century
front page news
Augusta Lehmann (mother) Residence
along with her remaining family
that included Miss Edith per article above
future site of Elks' Memorial
below photo
Lehmann Residence 1907 - Art Institute of Chicago
1908 photo - The Examiner
Miss Edith's mother Augusta Lehmann
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of this location
with a story about her parents and their investments
All her money was inherited by her mother via her father who owned the Fair Department Store - a sorta version of a Marshall Fields
Miss Edith Buys a Home
Purchase of property 
at 505 Stratford Place 
 would occupy the residence by 1915 - the first occupant
Miss Edith's Wealth Increases
by 1925
Mrs Edith's husband Benjamin Behr and their daughter, another Edith in 1931
By this time the Miss Edith's family 
were living in Oak Forest
photo - The Chicagoan
Miss Edith's husband Dies
in 1938
A Millionaire Bought 
the Building in 1942
from Miss Edith
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
X marks the spot of Miss Edith's residence
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
X marks the spot
“Temple Sholom bought the Miss Edith's house in 1961 for $195,000 after Mrs. Young's death. They planned to use the building for temple activities, chiefly women's activities. But in 1967, it was still standing. A newspaper story talked about the house being vandalized and that it had been empty for a while. Mrs. Young [the last apparent owner] was a big socialite and left a million dollars’ worth of jewelry when she died. [with] no heirs.” - Newspapers.com
The Permits of the Demolition 
of Miss Edith/Mrs. Young residence
According to these permits that I obtained from the City of Chicago formerly called 'buildings department' 
and a coach house in back was demolished in 1987 

The 505 Stratford 
George Maher
The architect of both 505 & 
551 Stratford Place
George W Maher began his architectural career soon after the family’s arrival in Chicago, as an apprentice at the age of 13. By the late 1880's, he joined Joseph Silsbee’s firm, where he worked alongside Frank Lloyd Wright for nearly three years. Both Maher and Wright began designing houses in the early 1890's, for themselves and a small list of clients, largely within the prevailing style of the time—Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Gothic Revival. Mr. Maher built his home in the North Shore neighborhood of Kenilworth, and Wright in the western suburb of Oak Park.
What it May Have Look Like
This sample of his work from a sale in 2017 located in Buena Park that was constructed in 1913. The 505 Stratford building was constructed the following year in 1914. Here are some interior views of the residence in Buena Park. The 505 building may have had a somewhat similar motiff to its interior.

 The Other Building 
by George Maher
551 Stratford Place
This house was built almost ten years before 
the house at 505 Stratford Place. Notice the two different styles. Most of these type of homes can be still viewed in Edgewater, 
another location for George Maher projects
images - Art Institute of Chicago

advertisement below -  Art Institute of Chicago
Almost Replaced
in October 1929
The article below is about how the Maher building that was to be replaced by a 'flat' / apartment building. The article is dated October 29, 1929 four days after the stock market collapsed. I am assuming the developer lost funding. The Maher house still exists at 
551 Stratford Place. The exterior of the house is original while the interior had been completely renovated in the 2000's to meet the needs of the current familyIn fact, the when the current owners of the house renovated the interior that found a walled-in stain glass window (see photo above) plus lots of whisky bottles within the interior of the walls apparently for the original labors.
A Planned Development 
for the 551 property
Ended by the Depression
photo - Owlcation
 551 Stratford Place is the last remaining 
single family residence on the block as of 2022
Lois Weisberg lived in the house for decades
photo - Chicago Tribune
Beginning in the 1980s, Ms. Weisberg served two Chicago mayors as the head of the office of special events in the administration of Harold Washington, who died in office in 1987, and, from 1989 to 2011, as the city’s commissioner for cultural affairs under Richard M. Daley. In those roles she was responsible, in whole or in part, for creating programs that have featured hundreds if not thousands of performances and encouraged the participation of thousands if not millions of Chicagoans and visitors. An abbreviated list of her contributions: In 1984, she helped start the Chicago Blues Festival, an annual series of free concerts on the greensward near Lake Michigan now called Millennium Park; the city now boasts of it as the largest blues festival in the world. Another musical extravaganza she pushed forward, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, held its 30th program last spring. She was also the driving force behind an annual Summer long series of dance nights with live music in different dance genres.
A Historical 
Timeline of Sorts 
of the Block
Stratford Place in 1913 - Chuckman Collection
According to a blog by Christopher Payne one of the houses depicted in the above postcard image was designed by architect Joseph Silsbee (blog) who worked with George Maher, the architect of 505 and 551 Stratford Place buildings. Malcom Jamieson's home is in the foreground of the postcard above, Judge Malcom Jamieson's residence was next and to the once Harvey home just west of that. Judge Jamieson's residence was located at the pre 1909 address of 38 Stratford Place with a post-1909 address of 
536 Stratford Place.
Judge Jamieson residence below and hightlighed above
According to this mention/linked blog, "Judge Jamieson's home is not unique for architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee's designed work in this period and it is one of four known Dutch Colonial homes that he designed in 1888. There are a handful of unique features of in this particular design though. One is the incorporation of two discrete, almost complete, circle-rooms in the design. One is part of the sweeping front porch that stretches completely across the front of the home and wraps around the east side. From here you would have had a remarkable view of the lake, that was only a block away. Another circular room was situated on the northeast corner of the home and served as the judge's library." More on him later.
as of 1891
as Newport Avenue
*pre 1909 addresses*
No street listings prior to 1891 in this book
as of 1892
as Newport Avenue
as of 1893
as Newport Avenue
as of 1894
as Newport Avenue
*view the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for that year*
as of 1895
as Newport Avenue
(view of other listing on Newport Ave from the link above)
as of 1907
as Stratford Place
While the street name was changed the old addresses 
remain until August 1909
*NO 1908*
as of 1909
as Stratford Place
Conversion of Address Numbers
left - new address & right - old address
as of 1910
as Stratford Place
post 1909 addresses
as of 1911
as Stratford Place
as of 1912
as Stratford Place
as of 1913
as Stratford Place
as of 1914
as Stratford Place
as of 1915
as Stratford Place
Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Behr are mentioned
Who Some of Them Were?
Most of the residents on my block 
were families of prominence & privilege:
* Egbert Jamieson  of 38 Nelson was elected judge of the Superior Court in 1887 and occupied the bench at the time of the famous County Boodle Trial which lasted for eight weeks and was one of the most noted and important trials of that day. Judge Jamieson received the highest encomiums from the press.
* Luise Henriette (Kober) Boldenweck wife of Louis Henry Boldenweck of 609 who had a son of the only mayor of City of Lake View, William Boldenweck, mayor from 1887-1889. In 1889 the City of Lake View was annexed to Chicago. She died in 1923. Felix of the same address was the son of Louis.
* Joseph B. Cavanaugh of 523 was president of the Western Coal and Dock Company  
* William Birk of 555 was president of the Birk Brothers Brewing Company - view articles below
George M. Harvey of 600 apparently owned his own insurance company. 
William Nash of 619 (pre 1909 address of 15) was president of his own company.
* Samuel Gale Taylor Jr. of 561 owned his company.
* Oswald F. Kropf  of 552 was secretary and treasurer of a manufacturing company called Findeisen & Kropf.
There appears to be a connection between Oswald Kropf and 
Henry Beneke of 566 gained an interest in Mr. Findeisen's company and the company was re-named of Beneke & Kropf Manufacturing Company as of 1919. Henry became VP and Oswald Kropf the president.
* Gilbert Scribner of 551 was a honorary member of  Chicago Real Estate Board. Unable to find further information.
Theodore Fathauer of 536 was apparently an executive of a lumber
* R. A. Junker of 629 apparently was regional manager of a out-of-state brewing related company.
* Albert B Towers of 551 was a member of the Illinois Senate in 1893. His residence still remains on Stratford Pl as of 2023.
* Robert Illings of 633 was member of the Illinois Senate in 1909.
* JB Bremner of 603 co-owned with his brother called Bremner Brothers. His brother lived on Barry Avenue.
* G. Authur Behl of 539 owned his own company of the same name.
* James Stillwell of 529 was an attorney.
* A.B. Steffens of 619 was Vice President of Indiana & Illinois Coal
Benjamin L. Behr of 505 was in real estate and an apparent 'sportsman' as well as wife of Miss Edith Lehmann Behr.
The Birk's
555 Stratford Place
money & sucide
and a few days later ....
front page news
Her Husband ....
1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
 in sections
Sectional 1 
*blue wave indicates the lake*
still Newport not Stratford Place
Sectional 2
Sectional 3 
Sectional 4
Sectional 5
Vintage News 
from the 1/2 Block Road:
A Crime on the Block??
according to the Chicago Daily Tribune
This is a 1897 story about a disturbance on Stratford Place involving a cat and police from Halsted police station - Old Town Hall. 

A theft of a resident 
who resided at 50 Stratford Place in 1908
in 1916
the owner before Temple Sholom
in 1918  
This article below is a tale involving a 
resident's automobile and this 'rough fellow'.
Also in 1918 
Edith's (Lehmann) Behr's mother dies 
   and the Family Wealth:
This article indicates the total wealth of 
E.J. Lehmann, CEO and owner of The Fair in 1900
$10,000,000 in 1900 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $307,742,857.14 in 2020, an increase of $297,742,857.14 over 120 years. The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.90% per year between 1900 and 2020, producing a cumulative price increase of 2,977.43%. This means that prices in 2020 are 30.77 times higher than average prices since 1900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index. The 1900 inflation rate was 1.20%. 

The family sold the store in 1925
and according to a 1938 article the Lehmann family had massive holdings in Lake View
The last of the Lehmann Estate 
Sold in 1953
The Lehmann's were major property owners 
in Lake View particularly north and south of Diversey Parkway
Stratford Place
by 1923
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
sectional 1
sectional 2
sectional 3
sectional 4
In 1924 
the Construction of the 'Luxury' 
Stratford Apartments 
The name of 'Stratford' apparently was chosen after the area in England called Stratford-upon-Avon - the home address of William Shakespeare. There is an apartment building modeled after the writers old street simply called Stratford Apartments shown below.
postcard - Chicago History in Postcards
The half moon driveway and the canopy is now long gone
Modeled after ...
postcard - Ebay
Reason for the name change... um .... maybe??
Some resident like Shakspeare
postcard below - Ebay
 In 1926  
one side of the building faces Stratford Place (above) 
and the other side faces Corneila (below).
photo - Univerisity of Illinios via Explore Chicago
with a zoomed view below
a Brochure of the Building
images - Art Institute of Chicago 
via a Moody's 1944 publication


text from the above pamphlet
'Stratford-Cornelia Corporation Incorporated [owner] in 1935 is 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' 
with modern interior views 
2020 views from Wirtz Residential
dining room above
living room below
The corner stone was set in place in 1928
 Views of the Building
by Garry Albrecht

2021 view at the corner of inner LSD & Stratford Place
photos - Sholom Temple-Facebook
Construction of
609 Stratford Place
in 1927
*I lived here briefly in early 1990's*
photo above - Garry Albrecht
photo below - Chicago Metro Area Real Estate

According to Chicago Metro Area Real Estate The 609 Stratford is a quaint vintage courtyard elevator building that houses 30 condos within its 6 stories. The condos are divided among the 2 towering buildings which are connected into one entrance and lobby. The entrance is an architectural wood door encased within ornate carved stone. The condos in this vintage building are large 2 and 3 bedroom units with only 2 apartments at each elevator lobby. Each unit also has a private door off their kitchen which leads to the service elevator and the back stairway. These vintage condos have spacious living rooms, high ceilings, wood-burning fireplaces with stone mantels and separate dining rooms. Most have retained the butlers pantries off the kitchen which provide extra prep and storage space. The have ensuite bedrooms and deep closets for a vintage. These units have numerous windows including a large bay in the living room.'
*This was my first residential experience on the block in 1993 living on the top floor with a east-side window view of the harbor*
In 1936  
 Wedding Annoucement on Stratford
and in 1937 
 Marriage was the News of the Decade
In 1939  
Moving in at 540 Stratford Place 
*flats are apartments*
In 1940  
Owner of Brauer Cafe Dies

originally called Lincoln Park Refectory
1908 photo - Art Institute of Chicago
1908 photo - Lincoln Park Zoo Magazine
1911 photo below - Art Institute of Chicago
 Brauer's widowed wife lived at
 Broadway & Barry by 1928
A Lincoln Park Zoo 
Magazine Review
'Designed by Dwight Perkins in 1908 & originally known as the South Pond Refectory the now called 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 1930's. Many original details, including the entire tile roof, were re-created or restored, which attracts wedding parties that marvel at the beauty of this treasured building.' 
The Scandal 
on Stratford!
566 Stratford Place
Laws were established after this period to protect
 'special need' persons in Illinois

It began in the Autumn of 1941 
and not until August 1943 
was there a resolution
The State of Illinois 
gets Involved in August 1943
Stratford Place
by 1950
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
In 1953
 A War hero 
Lake View High Graduate

A Visit from 
Martin Luther King
in 1964

The leadership of Temple Sholom invited a Nobel Peace Prize candidate to Stratford Place on October 21, Martin Luther King. He would accept the nomination on December 10th in Olso, Norway.

600 Stratford Place
by Adler and Sullivan
when Lake View was a city 
image - Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below
back of the house - Art Institute of Chicago
A Zoning Proposal
that Failed in 1968
In 2006
 The 'A Victory for History' article highlighted the possible preservation of the old Harvey House 
by November 2006
a before and then view
photo - 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
reported by YO Chicago
the aftermath
wood beam ceiling construction
photos from
Art Institute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
In 2012 
A proposed design for property was rejected by a local neighborhood association, hence too the alderman
the 600 property was still vacant as of early 2013
photos - Garry Albrecht
A 2013 Google Earth view of the vacant space
from Cornelia Avenue to Stratford Place
New and approved construction 
in 2013

2013 Stratford Place views of property
above from Stratford Place and below from Cornelia Avenue
both photos - Chicago Real Estate Local
photos below - Garry Albrecht

More New 
on Stratford Place
New construction for 538 Stratford Place and as of 2010
interior views as 2023
 and on the other side at
541 W Cornelia Avenue
the property stretches from Stratford Place to Cornelia Ave
both photos above - Yo Chicago

2019 Google Map view
 A Residential Renovation 
606 Stratford Place
the before
photo - unknown source
photo - Garry Albrecht
The new owners kept the facade and moved the main entrance from one side to the other
the construction period photos
photos - Garry Albrecht
the final product
A Renovation at 
525 Stratford Place
*my former residence 1993-2014*
*lived at 609 Stratford Place 1993-1994*
with another perspective of 4+1's
 a 2009 view of my the building
The interior was total rehab by 2012
Historical Permits of 1965
This blogger resided at 525 Stratford Place. My apartment building was constructed in 1965. The building accommodates over 45 units. My building and the building next to it (523 an existing 4+1 but not renovated) replaced an 8 story 32 unit 3000 sq ft area & 70 ft high apartment building. The images below are 1962 permits for 523 Stratford Place that would accommodate two 4+1's. 
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
 the addresses of 523 & 529 were decommissioned 
for the new address of 525
      images below - Cook County Records Department 
 Rehabbing 525 Stratford 
2012 photo - Garry Albrecht
the before
and the after 
the street sidewalk view
view northwest
 view northeast
2012 photos - Garry Albrecht
In 2011 my building was sold to a rental management company called 'Reside Living'. The building was renamed 'Reside on Stratford'. This company, a decade before, renovated former Belmont Hotel, now called 'The Belmont on Reside', located on corner of Sheridan Road & Belmont Avenue into luxury apartments. In 2012 Reside Living 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 while maintaining 1960's keeping to the originality of the purpose of the 4+1's. 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. 
My First Residence on Stratford:
609 Stratford Place
I lived on the 7th floor with window facing east
and then moved with my boyfriend at
525 Stratford Place
I lived on both studio's # 477 & # 576 in my 20 years
The Stratford Place 
Block Club
In 2013 Stratford Place had a short-lived Block Club that only lasted a few months before the organizer-me had to move to Oak Lawn to be with my aging father. Due to the fact that the street is located between two city wards both Alderman Cappleman & Tunney attended the the first and only meeting in the oldest remaining house on Stratford Place. 
 this flyer was distributed 6 weeks before the event 
below are some photos of that event taken my me
 The location on the block was offered 
and the meeting room assembled with food
food was donated 
by Revolucion Mexican Steakhouse 
located on the corner of Stratford Place & Broadway
 Alderman's Cappleman & Tunney
Chicago Phoenix photos
also in attendence was
19th District Cmdr. Elias Voulgaris
A New View of Broadway 
from Stratford Place by 2022
photo - 44th ward office
2021 photo - Garry Albrecht
verus the older view
a 2019 Google Map view of Treasure Island
Change is good 
but I still miss my old block and the folks on it!!

Post Note:
Here are the construction dates 
of most of the buildings on the block
 I compiled a list of construction dates of 
the buildings on my block as of 2010 

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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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