December 10, 2011

Ravenswood: a former township community

Once a Semi-Autonomous Community 
within Old Lake View
This post is an extension of previous post called
Ravenswood once was a privately established community within the Township/City of Lake View. This community should have been one of the 77 official Chicago communites, in my humble opinion.
artwork by Artist Eric Kessler
once part of the Township/City of Lake View
The Name of Crowswood
not a Good Marketing Idea
by 1906

Ainslie to Lawrence
Lawrence to Montrose
Montrose to Irving Park Road
*And a neighborhood of Ravenswood Manor is also considered part of Ravenswood even though its west of the Chicago River in the Community of North Central*
Company buys Property
by 1869
within the Township of Lake View
 It's Beginning
per this 1947 article
The War Effort
A Great Source 
to Learn More ...
I am a bit bias on this recommendation. I am one of several board of directors of this association. This association has been around since 1934. This association has amassed tons of materials since that time that our now housed in the Sulzer Regional Library in the Community of Lincoln Square. 
Below are snips from their website that may interest you.
in 2013
A Sample of One of Tour Spots

Now Back 
to the Story of Ravenswood
 A Narrative from 1874
*That year the High School was established*

photo below - Chuckman Collection
in 1869/1870
from Chicago Public Library online newspaper section
Ad 1
Ad 2
Ad 3
Ad 4
Ad 5
A 1869 Article
A Suburb within a Township
an extended family wedding photo with an unknown date
Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection 
Home of Lake View High School
established in 1874
postcard - Ebay
A Perspective in 1884
by Alfred Theodore Andreas

Once known as Library Hall built by 1884 
built for the Ravenswood Historical Association (Society)
Suburban News 
in 1884

the northeast corner of Wilson & (East) Ravenswood Avenue (Park)
from the top of the then existing Chicago Northwestern RR
photos -Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
a photo below is along West Ravenswood Park 
aka Ravenswood Avenue in 1909
A Short Historical Story 
in 1934
by the Chicagaon, a magazine from the 20's

A Class Photo at Sulzer School
photos - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
These are students of Sulzer School in 1889 the year the City of Lake View and Ravenswood along with it was annex to Chicago. Sulzer was later to be renamed Ravenswood School 
Martin Van Allen Family
the first family
'In 1868, when the Ravenswood Land Company was organized, the area now known as Ravenswood was open prairie, farms and plant nurseries. Although Ravenswood was only a few miles from Chicago, it was an all day trip from the fashionable south side of Chicago to Ravenswood for the Martin Van Allen family, the only family of the Ravenswood Land Company willing to leave the comforts of Chicago to live in rural & distant Ravenswood. 
The Van Allens had to take two horse-car lines and then a small steam engine just to reach Graceland Cemetery where they transferred to a horse-drawn carriage. Their destination was the home of Mr. Wood, owner of the nursery that covered much of East Ravenswood [east of the tracks]. The house, then the only dwelling in this area, stood at 4250 North Hermitage Avenue. It was torn down in the 1920’s'.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
 of 1894 below
In the following year, 1869, the Ravenswood Land Company built streets, cut down trees from the nursery, laid out the sub-division and began selling lots. To encourage Chicagoans to move to Ravenswood, the company built a schoolhouse and offered free land for a church. Lots sold moderately well. By the turn of the century Ravenswood had many fine homes of various sizes, a number of local businesses and factories, two elementary schools, a church on nearly every block, and a YMCA facility for local sports enthusiasts.
Ravenswood Post Office letter carriers 
A Montage of 
Vintage Local Businesses 
photo - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
A typical home on the corner of Wilson & Wolcott and built in 1874
and below Ravenswood United Methodist Church

The North Western Railroad
through the Ravenswood Station
*not to be confused with the Northwestern Elevated Line*
2019 Google Map
The depot belonged to the Chicago North-Western Railroad, now long gone and currently somewhat of a park-like area that separates the Ravenswood streets. The original depot entrance was on street called West Ravenswood Park - and East Ravenswood Park was on the other side of the tracks. 
The Google map above - X marks the spot is where the depot was in  located acoording to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps below.
The maps below highlight that station house. 
1887 Rascher Atlas Map
1891 Rascher Atlas Map
zoomed below
1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below
zoomed below
The Chicago & North Western RR
 Ravenswood Station 1910
photos - Ebay
photos below - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
Article that highlights an accident 
but details about the station

in 2010

The three Chicago area commuter lines that are now owned by Union Pacific spent much of their existence as part of Chicago & North Western. Each began independently before becoming part of C&NW.

Map Snippets1887 Rascher Atlas Map

and below

1894 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below

What is now the UP West line started as the Galena & Chicago Union in 1848, the first railroad in Chicago. The two other UP lines had different origins in the 1850s. Chicago & North Western owned all three for most of their existence. These lines passed to UP ownership when the C&NW merged with UP in 1995.

The Northwest Line, which started as the Illinois & Wisconsin in 1854, became part of C&NW when that system was formed in 1859. The West Line, which began as the Galena & Chicago Union in 1848, became part of C&NW system in 1864. The North Line, which started as the Chicago & Milwaukee in 1854, was leased by C&NW starting in 1866 and was bought by the C&NW in 1883. Commuter service on all three lines developed gradually, particularly in the years following the Civil War and the Chicago fire of 1871. The fire especially made living in the suburbs, away from the congestion and noise of the city, more appealing, and the railroad promoted and benefited from the trend. By the end of the century, the railroad’s passenger terminal at Kinzie and Wells had become too small for the number of commuters and intercity passengers using it. The railroad spared no expense on a new $23 million facility, which opened on June 4, 1911, on a site bounded by Madison, Lake, Clinton and Canal. - Metra/Chicago North Western

New Ravenswood Station & Tracks

from Ravenswood 2022
from the construction company
Google Views
pre-construction 2011
west side station construction 2014
east side station construction 2021
The Other Route 
Buying Property 
in 1896
An L Expansion in 1904

The 'L' Runs though 
by 1907
(Facebook Album)
billed as the 'finest in the West'
once located in newly formed District of Lake View
1905 photo - Explore Chicago Collections 
via Chicago History Museum
A "Fine Track" 
in 1900

Lake View High 
used the field in 1900

 A High School Event in 1902

on the other side of the river
a neighborhood within 
text - excerpt from the link above
Chicago Examiner Ad 
with a zoomed view below via Chicago Public Library
'Wm. E. Harmon & Co. began to sell house lots for its “Ravenswood Manor” subdivision in the spring of 1909. The 60-acre community, which had been platted on west side of the Chicago River, was served by new ground-level “L” station at  Francisco—along the recently-extended Ravenswood transit line. 
a 1910 
Harmon built a real estate sales office a half-block south of the Francisco “L” station (near where today’s Manor Park pergola stands). House lots were priced at between $690 and $990, depending on their size and location. To spur sales, Harmon constructed 15 model homes, mostly located within a block of the sales office along Eastwood, Francisco, and Wilson streets. 
In 1911 William Harmon & Company platted a new subdivision on the east side of the Chicago River called “Ravenswood Gardens.”
Find a Home 
in 'West' Ravenswood

White City Amusement Park 
in 1905
postcard - Ebay
"Pay No Court"
Chicago Examiner 1910 
Notable Residents
and their Homes:
photo - Jane Rickard
"Sandburg moved to Chicago in 1912, living in a second floor apartment in this building. He was a  reporter for the Chicago Daily News and a member of All Saints Episcopal Church. Here he composed among the best known of his poems, Chicago, published in 1915. He lived here with his wife Lillian and his daughter Margaret, then two years old. On locating the apartment Sandburg wrote Lillian he had found “our really, truly home.” The Sandburg's moved to Maywood in 1914.The building itself has been ‘marred,’ according to a 1994 writer, by poor choices in window replacement, aluminum siding and the removal of the front porch." [According to Redfin this house was constructed in 1896 in the District of Lake View.] - by Pat Butler
photo - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection
photo - Cook County Assessor
"The house was built for Edgar Galloway and his wife, Helen. They bought the land in 1874 [and according to Redfin the house constructed in the Township of Lake View] from Thomas A Cosgrove, a member of the Ravenswood Land Company. Edgar’s brother Albert bought the lot just north of this one in the same year. The Galloways, like other early residents, then began acquiring additional property in Ravenswood. For example, between 1874 and 1880 they purchased or had financial connections to every lot on this side of Hermitage between Wilson and Sunnyside except the church property and the two end lots at Sunnyside Avenue. Their holdings made the Galloway brothers particularly interested in community improvement projects. Edgar, who was a plumber, was active in the movement to bring sewers to the Community of Ravenswood." 
- Pat Butler
 4533 N Hermitage Avenue
both photos - Cook County Assessor
"The 4533 and 4529 Hermitage [addresses] are sister houses. In April 1885 James and Frances Stewart entered into an agreement with John Williams to purchase three consecutive lots. 4529, 4533, and 4537 for $750 - to build houses at 4529 and 4533 within 90 days. Construction costs on each house were to reach at least $2,000. Because the agreement survives we have an example of construction practices of one 1880’s developer: the Stewarts had to pay the contractor $500 when the lumber, “exclusive of millwork,” was delivered. For his part, Williams agreed to lend the Stewarts $1,500 on each house costs: $500 when the frame was up and the roof was on; $500 when the chimneys were up and the house was plastered; and $500 when the house was finished.
at least one and possibly both houses were rental homes until early in the 20th Century. To give an idea of rents for similar houses in East Ravenswood in the mid-1880’s: Tebbetts Company a local realty firm, offered a 6-room cottage for $17 a month and an 8-room cottage with bath for $20. The firm also sold houses and offered a 6-room cottage for $2,000 and an 8-room house for $2,800. These homes, depending on the terms of financing, were certainly within reach of families with annual incomes of $1,0000. For example, in the 1880’s clerks in insurance firms might have a salary of $1,500 to $1,800, while an attorney in a small firm might earn $4,000 by 1890." (Gwendolyn Wright, Moralism and the Model Home [1980]) [According to Redfin these houses was constructed in 1881 in the Township of Lake View]. - Pat Butler
photo - Google Maps 
"The James Andrews family was one of the earliest to settle in Ravenswood. Mr. Andrews [& his family] joined the 1st Ravenswood Congregational Church, that was one block south [of his home], in September 1873 and was one of the leaders in the effort to build a firehouse, later built at the corner of Ravenswood Avenue and Wilson, perhaps not coincidentally close to the homes of Andrews and the Galloway brothers, who were particularly active in organizing it. The firehouse stood just east of the railroad tracks (which then ran at ground level), across East Ravenswood Avenue from the site of the Pickard Building. The firehouse and its equipment cost $1,200, of which $1,000 came from assessments on local property owners. The remaining $200 was raised from a dance and from the sale of ice cream in the summer months. It was the only firehouse in Ravenswood, and, of course, was operated by volunteers. Fire was a particular concern in Ravenswood because of the many wooden buildings. Although, at least, as early as 1879 Lake View Township [1854-87] restricted construction of wooden buildings in the southern part of the township, there were no restrictions in Ravenswood."
"The City of Lake View [1887-89] later bought the firehouse for $800. Lake View offered to refund the money to the contributors, but, with their consent, it went instead toward a local public library. Like his neighbors, the Galloways, Andrews purchased other property in Ravenswood. He also was president of the Ravenswood Loan & Building Association. Andrews’ primary business, however, was not real estate, but hardware. He was a long-time partner in the ventilator manufacturing firm of Andrews & Johnson." 
- Pat Butler [According to Redfin this particular house was constructed in 1891 in the District of Lake View].
photo - Cook County Assessor
"Although an upstairs wall was signed by a painter in 1890, this house appears to be one of seventeen Levi C. Pitner built in Ravenswood between 1884 and 1886. [According to Redfin this houses was constructed in the Township of Lake View]. Pitner was a real estate developer from Evanston. A local newspaper recorded the prices for Pitner’s homes at $3,000 to $5,000, but Pitner charged more for this elegant home: $5,400. He sold it to Albert Sinclair, a depot master of the Chicago North Western Railroad, in November 1884. The local train depot was just south of the firehouse on Ravenswood Avenue between Wilson and Sunnyside. In the 1870’s the trains were the most efficient transportation to Chicago, but not the only transportation. A small steam engine with a single car ran on Clark Street between Graceland Cemetery and Fullerton Avenue where passengers could transfer to a street car. If residents had a carriage, they could drive down Lincoln Avenue or Clark Street to Chicago. By 1887 the North Chicago Street Railway had laid a double line of street car tracks on Clark Street from Diversey to Lawrence. Other improvements followed, but it was not until 1907 that what is now called the Brown Line was opened. In addition to his work at for the railroad, Sinclair found time for politics. After Lake View became a city in 1887 he ran for and was elected alderman of this ward -[Each ward was a former township district - total of 7 at that time]. A long-time owner was A. Melville Hudson a dentist with offices in the area. Owners of the house still had signs for Hudson’s office in the 1990’s. The kitchen (little changed since construction) was used in the 1992 film “The Babe,” for which outdoor filming was done on the 4100 block of Paulina Street." 
- Pat Butler 
photo - Cook County Assessor
"Frank Kirkham was a contractor or “builder” who designed his own houses. He built a number of homes in the area 
[according to Redfin this house was constructed in 1891 in the newly formed District of Lake View] and seems to have lavished on this house an idiosyncratic sense of elegance. In 1898 Kirkham bought this property from the Linthicums, who lived in the 4200 block of Hermitage Avenue, built this house. In October 1899 he sold it to Harry & Victoria Flanders. Before agreeing to purchase the home, the Flanders negotiated several points with Kirkham: First, they received six additional feet on the south end of the lot. Next, they demanded a number of changes to the house: for example, they wanted a Baker & Jackson furnace that would heat every room to 70 degrees even if the outside temperature fell to zero degrees. Finally, the Flanders demanded that Kirkham build a house, not flats, on the lot south of this house. He built the house just north of this home, too. These and other changes to the house brought the price to more than $8,000." - Pat Butler
photo - Google Maps
"The Cole family purchased the lots for 4307 and 4303 in 1872, just three years after Ravenswood was plotted. The first owner was Martin Cole, a realtor; the second, John Cole, a surveyor and engineer; and the third, Arthur Cole, an architect, who designed several homes in Ravenswood. The construction date of the house is not clear, although, John Cole was living in Ravenswood as early as 1875, possibly in this house. While in Ravenswood, John Cole worked on the sewer system mentioned earlier. Also, in 1884 he helped redesign the Lake View Pumping Station at Montrose and Clarendon, that first brought lake water to the Lake View Township in 1875. Prior to this time, and even after, shallow wells were the main source of water. Most houses at the time would have cisternsIn later years John and Arthur Cole lived in Hyde Park, while Martin lived on the west Side. Presumably the houses were rented; for example, Robert McLean, the editor of the Inland Architect, lived in one of the houses from 1887 until 1890." [According to Redfin this house was constructed in 1902 in the newly formed District of Lake View.] - Pat Butler
photo - Cook County Assessor
"This is the home of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife Amy Rule. They purchased the home in 1998. [According to Redfin the house was constructed in 1891 in the District of Lake View.] At the time Emanuel was an investment banker and a member of the board of directors of Freddie Mac. In 2002 Emanuel became the Congressman for the 5th Illinois Congressional District, succeeding former Governor Rod Blagojevich in that post. In 2010 the building became an object of intense media interest. Long-time Mayor Richard M Daley announced he would not run for reelection in September 2010. Emanuel, then the Chief of Staff for US President Barack Obama, announced he would run for the office. Burt Odelson, a well-known election law attorney, filed challenges to Emanuel’s candidacy on behalf of Walter P Maksym Jr. and Thomas L McMahon. Soon a crowded field of objectors had joined the challenge. At issue was whether Emanuel, by renting the home to take up his position at the White House, had forfeited his city residency, a requirement to run for mayor. The tenant, Rob Halpin, not only testified against Emanuel, but filed to run for the office as well. Emanuel stated that he always intended to return to the home. He further alleged that he had stored Amy Rules’s wedding dress, his children’s first clothes, books, diplomas and other items in the home. As the hearing progressed, it became clear that the decision could hang on the storage Emanuel alleged was happening. Lori Halpin, Rob Halpin’s wife, testified before an elections hearing that “there have never been boxes in the house that weren’t mine.” However, attorneys for Emanuel were able to produce photographs of an area of the house that Lori Halpin had not been able to access. The election hearing decided in favor of Emanuel, a decision that was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court." - Pat Butler
The Hamlin Residence
4224 N Hermitage Avenue
photo - Google Maps
"Many residents of early Ravenswood were connected to one another. Irving Hamlin, for example, married the daughter of Reverend W. A. Lloyd, first pastor of Ravenswood Congregational Church. Hamlin and his wife lived with the Lloyds at the southwest corner of Sunnyside and Hermitage while building this house, which cost about $2,200 in 1896." [According to Redfin this house was constructed in 1886 in the Township of Lake View.] - Pat Butler
photo - Google Maps
"Charles and Eva Linthicum moved to Ravenswood in the spring of 1884 and built a “modest cottage” on this lot. Two years later they bought the neighboring lot to the south. Between 1884 and 1894 the Linthicums built four houses on the two lots. According to a local newspaper, they moved into this house, 4223, in the spring of 1895. [According to Redfin the house was constructed in 1891 in the District of Lake View]. Mr. Linthicum was a well-respected attorney, a member of the law faculty at Northwestern University, and an active participant in neighborhood affairs." 
"He and others proposed a number of street improvements in the 1880’s, when Ravenswood was described as “a little village with wooden sidewalks and open ditches, several miles beyond the limits of Chicago.” Specifically, he and others proposed narrowing the streets and creating wide, grassy plots between the sidewalks and curbs. Hermitage, like many of the streets in Ravenswood, had wooden sidewalks beside the open ditches that ran parallel to the street. A town[ship] ordinance called for pine sidewalks 6 feet wide; crosswalks, however, were only 3 feet wide. The narrow crosswalks made walking at night difficult, especially on streets without gas lamps. The streets in this area, as can be seen in an early photograph of Paulina Street, were dirt. In 1900, Mr, Linthicmn, his wife Eva, two daughters, a servant and Eva’s mother all lived in this house."
- Pat Butler
photo - Google Maps
"Captain Hale Knight was originally a sea captain who had a significant professional disability: according to one neighbor, he “never crossed the ocean without being somewhat seasick.” He and his wife bought this house from Robert J. Bennett in 1888. The Knights were one of the early families in Ravenswood. They moved into a rented house on Hermitage in 1873. In reminiscence in Sulzer [Regional] Library, Fannie Knight wrote that during their first year in Ravenswood the only local source for groceries was a grocery wagon that passed through the neighborhood once a week and a meat wagon that called twice a week. The nearest butcher was in Lake View at Clark and Diversey. The closest grocer was in Lake View. too. So, the Knights gave J.H. Bruns a hearty welcome when he opened a grocery store on East Ravenswood Avenue in 1874. The Knights’ daughter, Fannie, and her husband, Dr. Alben Young, moved into the house in 1897 to live with her widowed father. 
Dr. Young was a member of the original staff of 
Ravenswood Hospital when it was opened in 1905."
 [According to Redfin the house was constructed in 1878 in the Township of Lake View]. - Pat Butler
photo - Google Maps
"In 1885 Judge William McAllister, who lived in a larger home next door, now demolished, gave his daughter, Mary Ackley, a quit claim deed to this house. Her husband George Ackley was a claim examiner for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and was vice president of James Andrews’ Ravenswood Loan Building Association. At the time of the 1900 census, they lived there with their three children. For a time in the mid-1890’s one of their daughters ran “a select school” in this house." [This house was constructed in 1886 in the Township of Lake View]. - Pat Butler
photo - Cook County Assessor
"Levi Pitner, a local developer, built a simple cottage on this site for Amelia and William Pettit in 1885. Between 1894 and 1928 sections of the house were replaced or were substantially altered and enlarged like the porch in 1928" - Pat Butler
[According to Zillow the house was constructed in 1896 in the newly formed District of Lake View.] 
photo - Cook County Assessor
[This house was constructed in 1896 the District of Lake View]
"This house was designed by John Morrell for T. F. Washburn at an estimated cost of $6,000 in 1900. - Pat Butler 
interior views by

Ravenswood Today
as of 2015

Our History

The Ravenswood Community Council has served the diverse interests of residents and local businesses since 1956. Originally founded to fight crime and blight, RCC was one of the first urban conservation commissions in Chicago. Over six decades, we have led efforts to preserve affordable housing, developed shop local campaigns, assisted in the redevelopment of the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor, and helped respond to urban deforestation through the Greening of Ravenswood.

When the old Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce closed in 2010, the Community Council stepped in to manage SSA #31 and continue providing services to small businesses. Recognizing the distinct needs and characteristics of our community, RCC founded the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce in 2015. The GRCC works alongside the City of Chicago as a Neighborhood Business Development Center and represents over 220 local businesses and organizations.

a new look on this area
one of the features ...

A Post Note:
A Great Book Reference
This book published in 2013 is a great source for short stories about not only Ravenswood but of Lake View. as well!!
The Introduction
An Example of One of the Stories
in thie book
 The Book's List of Short Stories
the book is divided in two parts
The first section is about Lake View

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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 of the original source - thanks!

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