Established in 2003, West Ridge Bungalow Neighbors is a voluntary group of neighbors in Chicago who desire to assist each other in preserving and appreciating the homes in our neighborhood; educating each other and the broader public in the value and the story of our neighborhood; and providing resources to each other to improve the quality of our homes, enrich our lives and assure our neighborhood's future.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Green bungalow seminars set


Looking to limit increases to your heating and cooling bills? Interested in bringing the latest in green building technology to your Chicago bungalow? "Greening Your Chicago Bungalow" seminars will be presented next week at North Side and South Side locations.

Green Home Partners will outline the most important aspects of rehabbing for energy-efficiency, highlighting the latest in green building products and money-saving tips.
The procedures range from simple tasks (like the installation of a programmable thermostat) to large-scale projects (like solar and geothermal systems).

The program will be presented at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted, and at 7 p.m. Thursday at Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N. Lincoln. Each seminar should take about two hours.

The Historic Chicago Bungalow & Green Home Expo, scheduled for Oct. 27 at the Merchandise Mart, also will offer products, services and expertise for bungalow and other homeowners to complete green renovations.

If you have any questions or want to make a reservation at a seminar, please call the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, (312) 642-9900, or send an e-mail to:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marion Mahony Griffin - The Magic of America

News from The Art Institute of Chicago:

The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are extremely pleased to announce the publication in electronic form of The Magic of America, Marion Mahony Griffin's autobiography and her biography of her husband, Walter Burley Griffin.

The digital facsimile, the electronic text and its scholarly apparatus can be found at .Marion Griffin's vast unpublished manuscript of 1400 pages and over 600 illustrations, which she donated to the Libraries in 1949 (she also donated drawings now in the Department of Architecture and Design), recounts her life in architecture and that of her architect husband in Chicago, Australia, and India from the 1890s through the 1930s.

It provides an extraordinary window into the architectural world of Chicago in the early years of the 20th century, where both Mahony and Griffin worked in the office of Frank Lloyd Wright and independently; Australia, where W.B. Griffin won the design competition for the new national capital of Canberra in 1912 and where the Griffins lived and worked up to 1935; and India, where Walter Griffin experienced a final brief period of creativity until his death in 1937. The document is also replete with social, philosophical, and personal content of great interest to many different audiences.

Reminder - Expo on Saturday, October 27

Historic Chicago Bungalow and Green Home Expo
Join the HCBA and the City of Chicago at this yearly event, which brings specialized vendors, educational workshops and services to homeowners and potential buyers. 10am-4pm at the Merchandise Mart.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Upcoming WRBN meetings and events

Greetings, Bungalow Neighbors!

Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 11, at 7:00 at the Northtown Public Library. Speaker Ray Miller is a real estate professional with Keller Williams Realty and lives in a bungalow on Talman in West Ridge. You’ve seen the scary headlines about the real estate market slowdown and the mortgage credit crisis. Ray will update us on the current local market for buyers and sellers of bungalows. It’s sure to be an informative evening!

On Saturday, October 20, we’ll head out to Elk Grove Village for a members-only field trip to the Island Girl Salvage showroom. Details will follow as the date nears, but in the meantime visit the website:

On Tuesday, November 13, Maribeth will present a slide show on the architectural history of Devon Avenue. Learn who the movers and shakers were during the early development of Devon, and how this important commercial district grew and changed over the years. Join us at 7:00 p.m. at the Northtown Public Library.

There will not be a December meeting, but mark your calendar now for our Saturday, January 12th members-only holiday party!

See you in September!
Jo & Maribeth

Sunday, August 26, 2007

WRBN summer field trip

Pictured is the Walter O. Salmon house, designed by Walter Burley Griffin and built in 1912. On Saturday WRBN members were treated to a private tour of the home. (To view more Griffin homes, click here.) We all had a great time seeing the Garlows in Chatham, visiting the Ridge Historical Society and chowing down at Top Notch Beef Burger in Beverly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Music to dry off by...

It's been a little rainy here in Chicago this week...let's all sing along as we pick the tree branches off of our cars and dry out our basements!
Sheet music circa 1927.

Spend A Night at the Opera (Lofts) with Preservation Chicago

Want to see where the real Sopranos hung their hats? This is the place. Gargantuan sets, elaborate costumes, props, backdrops – this is where they were all designed, constructed and stored for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Built between 1912 and 1924, it was the world’s largest scene studio and warehouse. Using every brick original to the structure, it’s currently being transformed into “The Opera Lofts,” high-end living space as unique as the building itself.

Date: Friday, September 28, 2007
Time: 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Opera Lofts2545 South Dearborn Street

Visit the Opera Lofts website for more information on this historic building, and visit the Preservation Chicago website to purchase tickets for the event.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

August 25 - From Garlows to Griffin

Greetings, Bungalow Neighbors!

What the heck is a Garlow? How do I get to see the inside a Walter Burley Griffin house? What are the bungalows in Beverly like? Where's the best hamburger joint in Chicago?

For answers to these questions, sign up for our Saturday 8/25 WRBN tour of the Beverly Hills Neighborhood (with a stop enroute in Chatham). This tour is for current WRBN members only!

If you'll be driving and are able to take passengers, or if you'll need a ride, please let us know. Maps will be provided.

Noon. Our tour begins at the corner of 80th and King Drive in Chatham on the south side. Three blocks of little houses in the heart of Chatham were the1920s brain child of developer Richard Cramer. Cramer built small “Garlows”, or "Garage Bungalows” at the rear of the lots. These "starter homes" were designed to ease the path to home ownership. As the owners became more prosperous, larger bungalows could be built in front, and the Garlows would then be converted to garages. From there we'll drive to Beverly.

1:00 - 1:15 p.m. Gather for lunch at Top Notch Burger, 2116 W. 95th St. Some say it's the best burger in Chicago!

2:30 p.m. We'll convene at the nearby Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave., for an overview of neighborhood history followed by a walking tour tailored to our interests, led by HS Board Member Linda Lamberty, around this historic area. Highlights may include two Frank Lloyd Wright designs, other Prairie School houses, and lots of bungalows, of course.

4:30 p.m. Our final stop will be an exclusive private tour of the Walter Burley Griffin residence of Kent and Michelle Lamberty on Walter Burley Griffin Place (104th), a Chicago Historic Landmark District.

We'll then head back to our own glacial ridge on the far north side.

Jo and Maribeth

(To sign up for the tour or for details on becoming a member, email Maribeth at xxx.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Welcome to the dollhouse

Here's an interesting website that features dollhouses and their furnishings produced in the late 1920s. It's a glimpse of what might have been in your bungalow when it was new.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

When the mansions come, there goes the neighborhood

When the mansions come, there goes the neighborhood
By Robert Hughes
The Chicago Tribune

August 5, 2007

I took a drive the other day through the suburb where I grew up and found myself, disoriented, on Teardown Avenue. Shrek-size edifices had replaced the modest homes of my youth. Venti-size movie sets -- you couldn't really call them "houses" -- had changed the landscape not just of the town but of my memory as well.

A leafy lane of well-tended but unpretentious homes that had once seemed a comforting replica of a New England village was now a wild clash of fantasies.One house was oversize Prairie School. Another was oversize Tudor. The next, a full-size British country house. No longer a residential street, the lane was now Disneyland: Adventureland here, Frontierland there, and the World of Tomorrow next door. Imagine the real estate version of a multiplex showing wildly different movies -- a western, a vampire flick, a costume drama, a medieval epic.

Homes whose style suggested gentry or aristocracy and demanded to be set amid acres of grounds and gardens instead sat nearly atop one another. Their styles and sizes suggested closed-off worlds of suburban country squires intent on ignoring their neighbors.

In fact, it was hard to imagine the people living in these places as "neighbors" at all. Does a countess dash next door to borrow a cup of sugar? And if she did, how would the duchess, who happens to live in a replica of the Library of Congress, respond?
Just what are people doing in those big houses? Middle-class families are smaller than they were in the 1960s, but these houses imply families of 10 or 12 people.

When I lived in this town in the 1960s, there were six children in our family. We had two bathrooms and four bedrooms. But all of us, seemingly all the time, gathered in the basement in front of the TV.

Like a lot of 1960s homes, ours had an unused "living room," a small anthropological exhibit of how families think they should live but don't. There might as well have been a docent giving a running commentary: "Look at that big chair over there. That's where father would be reading if father read. See that piano? That's where the family would gather to sing along to mother's playing, if mother played and the family sang."

So how many unused rooms must there be in these new, grandiose productions?As I drove home, I tried to calm down. After all, how dreadful would this mushrooming ostentation seem if my city college teacher's salary were suddenly multiplied by 10?

To tell the truth, I've got a fantasy house or two in my own head. And am I not, like the counts and dukes of the suburbs, always trying to be mentally elsewhere? They have their manses. We have the Internet, our audiobooks, even TV, to take us Anywhere But Here.

So I resolved to see it all with some perspective -- and fantasize about the teardowns coming in the 22nd Century.