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.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Doors & Limestone detail

Today I was finally able to take a walk around the neighborhood without the fear of snow, ice, torrential rain or high winds. Like it or not, winter in Chicago offers a little something for eveyone. Enjoy these shots of limestone details on buildings around the 6700 blocks of Artesian, Campbell and Maplewood.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday lights and confused robins

If only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, who goes out in 20 below temps at 7:00am on a Sunday? That would be me, on my way to work this morning. I made a quick detour off of my regular route to swing by Carter and Donna's place on the 5800 block of N. Washtenaw in hopes of getting a good shot of the fab illuminated peace sign they've suspended in a tree in front of their house. Look closely and you'll see it hanging over the car, drive by at night for the full effect.

After exiting the parking garage at Soldier Field I spotted the first robins of...winter?

And once inside, the warm glow of more holiday lights in a magnificent Chicago 1920s landmark building. Definitely worth the trip.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Teco or no?

This week I had the pleasure of meeting with Silvia, the daughter of architect Edward P. Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg designed one of my favorite buildings on Devon Avenue shown in the photo above. This structure was built in 1929-30 for a man by the name of Tilensky and features some wonderful terra cotta details including charming owls perched over the entrance. Check it out next time you're on Devon, it's at the corner of Claremont.

The Steinberg family lived in this building that Edward designed and built on Winchester in Rogers Park. It's currently on the market, you can see a virtual tour here. That's Larry in the photo, he's another Steinberg relative that I met in the fall. Larry & Silvia are both so nice and each told me some great stories about growing up in Rogers Park.

So, what about the Teco, you ask? Well, when I met with Silvia, she had this big urn in her front hallway serving as an umbrella stand. When we were talking about the old place in Rogers Park, Silvia told us that this piece, along with its mate in storage in her basement were originally at the entrance of the family home. Look at the photo of the building and you can just imagine them there.

Silvia has always wondered if these are Teco pottery. We managed roll this one over to look at the bottom, no easy feat as it weighs about 50 lbs. There are no marks on the bottom, just a drainage hole. So, you Teco experts out there, what do you think?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bungalow of shame

The Ravenswood home of Governor Rod Blagojevich. Nice house. Despicable behavior. Normally I try to keep politics out of this blog, but today's news is just too disgusting to ignore.

All I can say is thank you, Patrick Fitzgerald. Keep working your way down that list.

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008 Driehaus Award Winners

Vist the Sun-Times for for information about the rest of the winners.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age

Date: Wed. December 10, 2008
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Harold Washington Library Center
Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
400 S. State Street 60605

The Chicago Public Library welcomes Neil Harris in discussion of his soon-to-be-released book The Chicagoan: A Lost Magazine of the Jazz Age.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Now then, where were we?

Whew! It's been quite a fall and I'm afraid the blog has suffered a bit from the flurry of election activities in West Ridge and beyond. Neighbors were out in force canvassing in neighboring states, distributing flyers, calling and working on election day. And -- did you know our 44th President has a Chicago bungalow connection? Yes, Michelle Robinson Obama grew up in a brick bungalow on the south side.
So, as we regroup and focus on WRBN again, please join us tomorrow night as we plan our 2009 meetings and events - your input is welcomed and appreciated!
(Chicago Tribune photo of banners downtown.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Rosehill tour on Saturday, October 11th

Tomorrow is the WRBN tour of Rosehill Cemetery -- it's going to be a beautiful fall day so come on out, enjoy the weather and learn some history from our local expert Mary Oellrich while you're at it.
These photos are from the interior of the mausoleum, where John G. Shedd and many other notable Chicagoans are interred.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cubs Pride

A proud neighbor on the 6600 block of Maplewood displays a Cubs banner as the team heads into the playoffs.
Did you know that legendary Cubs catcher, "dangerous hitter" and Hall of Famer Charles "Gabby" Hartnett lived in West Ridge in a home at the corner of Talman and Albion in the 1930s?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Doors of West Ridge

New West Ridge book and Historic District

Rogers Park / West Ridge Historical Society and West Ridge Bungalow Neighbors invite you to a celebration of the newly crated Talman West Ridge Bungalow National Historic District and the release of the new book Images of America: West Ridge

Tuesday, September 23, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Northtown Public Library, 6435 N. California Avenue, Chicago

Authors Jamie Santoro and Jacque Day will be on hand to discuss their new book Images of America: West Ridge. Books will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting RP/WRHS. (Look here for a nice article about the book from the News-Star.)

Greg & Maribeth Brewer and Jofrid Stavig of WRBN as well as representatives of the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association will talk about the newly nominated Talman West Ridge Bungalow Historic District*. Learn the history of the homes in this area and what it means to be part of a National Register Historic District. (The photo is from our September 12th presentation to the State for approval of the district at the beautiful Veterans Memorial Hall in Rockford.)

*The Talman West Ridge National Register Bungalow Historic District encompasses the 6600 block of N. Fairfield, the 2700 block of W. North Shore, the 6600 block of N. Washtenaw, the 6400, 6500, 6600 and 6700 blocks of N. Talman, the 2600 and 2700 blocks of W. Albion, the 6500 block of N. Rockwell, the 2500 block of W. Arthur, the 6500 block of N. Maplewood and the West side of the 6500 block of N. Campbell.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tradional Building Show

The Traditional Building Show is coming to Navy Pier on September 18-20. Click here for details. Attendees will find a wealth of resources for owners of historic homes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Getting ready for fall

It's been a big weekend for home improvement projects on our block - here's our neighbor up the street preparing to do some planting.

New coppper

It doesn't show very well in my photos, but a neighbor on Campbell is having new copper gutters installed today. She said these are replacing the original copper gutters from the 1920s. They're a big investment, but should last another 80 years and no painting required.

Power washing!

Today our neighbor has a crew of guys working on power washing his bungalow. (They had to cut down the old evergreen shrubs to get to the front of the house.) This is where they stopped for a lunch break, you can see the dramatic before and after results.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Words to live by

Today I received a mailing from the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. In reading through it, I came across a quote that seemed like a good summary of why we're passionate about preservation:
When you strip away the rhetoric, preservation is simply having the good
sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our
past in a meaningful way, and that have plenty of good use left in them.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Help preserve our neighborhood history

The Rogers Park / West Ridge Historical Society is in a year of transition, and needs your help.

Society founder Mary Jo Doyle passed away in December and during the past 7 months the new board has been busy working to ensure the longevity of the Society. One of the most daunting tasks is the organization and preservation of the archives. When I joined the board in January, I learned that the existing archives were in dire need of attention. Little did I know of the 3 truckloads lying in wait at Mary Jo's house, or of the mountains of cartons and artifacts in storage at another off-site location.
The good news is that we have a wealth of documents and photos that tell the story of our local history. The bad news is that they're all jumbled together and need to be sorted and cataloged.

Please consider volunteering at the RP/WRHS to help with archive sorting. It's fun to see all of the old documents and photos, you'll feel good knowing that you're preserving them for future generations to enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

2226 W. Pratt

Not the best photo, but this neighborhood house was open for an estate sale this weekend. It's huge, 15 rooms and 3.5 baths. The listing sheet says it was built in 1914. It has incredible wood details and built-ins, but needs some work. (Where are those Flipping Out boys when you need them?)
In doing some quick research on ProQuest (thank you, Chicago Public Library) I came up with this string of owners:
1919 Eugene R. Hutchins (owner of Hutchins Lumber and Storage), 1925 Frank E. Scholl (nope, sorry, not the famous Dr. Scholl) 1950s Dr. William Brams, a noted heart specialist and in the 1960s an artist by the name of Hertha Furth.
Developers with tear-down dollar signs in their eyes should just keep on driving west to Schaumburg.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Things are looking Up(town)

Built in 1925, the Uptown Theater has been down and out for more years than I can remember. I was happy to read this story in the Tribune today and this one in Crain's detailing the purchase of the theater by Jam Productions. Here's hoping we'll be seeing a restoration of this legendary building in the near future.

The bungalow goes to court

Click here for an interesting article about bungalow court communities on the west coast, and view a video on the same topic here .

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bob, Judy & Jan

Pictured are West Ridge neighbors Bob & Judy Cody with congresswoman Jan Schakowsky at a recent Obama rally at the Broadway Armory. These two recently fought off a brutal attack in their apartment, and are now back and as energetic as ever. Typical of their commitment to the neighborhood, when told that no one showed up to man the 50th Ward table, Bob and Judy immediately volunteered and began distributing the Obama buttons they make at home. Thanks to Shelley for this great photo.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Docents at IBP

Click here for a nice story about the new docent program at our Indian Boundary Park.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Going, going, gone

The victim of our summer of crazy storms, a large, old Ash tree on the 6660 block of N. Rockwell threatens to split in half and is taken down by Streets and San.

Monday, June 9, 2008

West Ridge bungalows in the news

Visit Crain's Chicago Business for a nice article about WRBNeighbors Bob Kressin and Jo Staivg.
As you'll read, Bob currently lives in a bungalow in Westchester, but really likes West Ridge and hopes to move back to the city soon . He's been a regular at our events and we hope he'll find the home of his dreams in our neighborhood.

40 days and 40 nights

It seems like it's been raining forever -- all garden projects in the neighborhood are on hold until things dry out a little. The water in the wheelbarrow is from the downpour last night, it's become my impromptu rain gauge while out of commission waiting for tire repair.
The concrete chunks in the background are from a neighbor's patio and will be recycled as stepping stones in our corner garden.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Frank Glapa, Roycroft coppersmith

Click here to watch our neighbor Frank in action in a Roycroft class in East Aurora, New York, recently featured in the New York Times.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The bungalow, Chicago style

Visit yet another Flikr group for photos of bungalows around Chicagoland...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Broken Bungalow

Here's a photo from my new Flickr friends, Broken Bungalow.
The live in the neighborhood in the 6100 block of Maplewood, and judging from their photos have been living la vida loca with all of their rehab work. Take a look, you're sure to see some painfully familiar scenes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Corner Gardens Project

Here's our Corner Gardens Project mascot/ supervisor, Lucy.
Lucy invites you to join members of WRBN, North Side Alliance, West Rogers Park Community Organization and the North Town Garden Society as we work together to create corner gardens all over West Ridge.
Would you like your corners planted? Join us for a meeting at Sukhadias restaurant, 2559 W. Devon this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Lucy won't be there, but lots of hard-working volunteers will!

Monday, May 5, 2008

West Ridge neighborhood house tour

The Rogers / Park West Ridge house tour took place over the weekend. It was a glorious spring day, and a big success with over 100 attendees. Thanks to all of the homeowners and volunteers who helped make it happen!
Here's homeowner Van Soil on the day of the tour, showing off drawings by the orignal owner and builder of his home, architect Benedict Bruns. Mr. Bruns built his home on Rockwell in 1919, and was responsible for the design of many bungalows in our neighborhood and throughout Chicago.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Welcome Spring!

A beautiful garden on W. Albion near Campbell.