12th Annual Edgewater Home Tour

Vol. XI No. 3 - SUMMER/FALL 2000

The Edgewater Home Tour this year will feature the Edgewater Glen neighborhood which lies between Broadway and Clark from Norwood to Granville. The tour will begin at St. Gertrude Church, 6200 N. Glenwood. There will be at least one tour of the church interior during the afternoon.

The Edgewater Glen neighborhood took its name from the Edgewater neighborhood and the prefix of two of its streets, Glenwood and Glenlake. When the area was first settled it was a part of Lakeview Township, which had been founded in 1859 at a meeting at the Andersonville School (Foster and Clark).

Then in 1885 John Lewis Cochran, a tobacco salesman from Philadelphia bought a plot of land along the lake shore from Foster to Bryn Mawr and named it Edgewater. During the next 5 years he made subsequent additions to his beautiful suburb along the shoreline to Devon Avenue. In 1886 the county put through a road on Granville to the lakeshore. In 1889 all of Edgewater was incorporated into the city of Chicago.

But most important for the development of Edgewater, Cochran persuaded the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad to open a stop at Granville which was called North Edgewater. Once it was opened, the steam locomotives stopped two times a day. One early recollection reported that when the train signaled its approach, a man would come out from the station and lower the crossing gate by a hand crank.

With the opening of this station those owning the farmland began to sell it off in lots to individual buyers and some developers.

Some of the farmland had been owned by an early settler, Nicholas Kransz, who arrived here from Luxembourg in 1848. After he and his brothers worked for a farmer named Riis they were paid in land. That land extended from a little south of Ridge to Devon Avenue between Glenwood and Clark St. When the brothers got title to the land they sold off the north section, north of Granville along Highland and Thome. But two of the brothers decided against farming and depart. Nicholas bought them out. He was compensated for the loss of land when Granville Ave. and Glenwood were put through in 1886. (this did not include paving).

After the death of Nicholas in 1896 the family, five living children and their spouses went about developing the land by subdividing it, building homes and selling lots. One daughter, Mary had married Bernard Weber, of the National Brick Company. This lead to the creation of the Weber-Kransz Company which constructed over 50 homes on Granville and Hood. Kransz’ Second Addition to Edgewater extended from Glenlake to Elmdale. In this section, Nicholas Kransz, Jr. built his home at the corner of Greenview and Glenlake.

During the same time period Mr. Brost, who had built a home for his family on Hood decided to develop his land, naming it the Brost and Kemper addition to Edgewater in 1890. This smaller development included the south side of Hood to the south side of Granville, from Broad-way to Glenwood.

The land just to the south of the Brost and Kemper addition was developed by Roy Knauer in 1890. A few years later, in 1893 J.L. Cochran created his Fourth Addition to Edgewater, along Norwood and Elmdale from Glenwood to Broadway. By this time Cochran was over extended with commitments to develop residential housing from Foster to Devon, the Lake to Broadway (then called Evanston Ave.) Whereas, in his early developments he catered to the upper income families and insisted that no apartments be built. In this later addition to Edgewater he was gradually more disposed to the concept of townhouses and investment property. With the recession of 1893 only a few homes were built on Norwood before 1900.

By that time many more families flocked to the area and more single family homes were built. The style of these newer homes is predominantly American Foursquare. These homes show the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement which started in England and influenced the design of home interiors for the next 20 years. The American Foursquare eliminated the double parlor of the 19th century and ushered in the new American living room.

The housing and architecture of Edgewater Glen, despite being developed by several different people is a wonderful example of the changes in housing trends from 1890-1920. In our tour this year we will have examples of these housing styles. Our tour guides will describe for you the differences in the styles as you walk through these beautiful homes. The history of Edgewater Glen is and important part of the history of Edgewater. Join us and learn more.