Edgewater Teaser

Vol. XVII No. 1 - SPRING 2006

Our previous teaser was:

(3) What Edgewater house was home to two different aldermen? And who were they?

Answer: The house is 1245 West Early [1115 old address], in Cairnduff’s Addition to Edgewater (today’s BARGE neighborhood). It was built in 1888-89, probably by Mr. Cairnduff, and sold in April 1889 to a Mr. Alfred D. Williston, a stenographer. In 1900, Mr. Williston was elected as one of the two aldermen of the 25th ward. He served through 1908. Upon his death, the house was acquired by his son George A, who followed in his father’s footsteps [a proud Chicago tradition] and was also elected alderman, this time of the 49th ward, serving from 1930 to 1935. George died at home in his house.

Both father and son were Republicans at a time when the ward – and much of the north side – was solidly Republican. Until the reorganization into 50 wards that went into effect in 1923, Chicago elected two aldermen from each ward. When Lakeview was annexed to Chicago effective October 1, 1889, the two wards immediately south of Diversey [but east of the river] were extended north to Devon. The 25th ward encompassed the land to the east of Clark Street and the 26th ward to the west. In 1894 when Rogers Park was annexed, the 25th and 26th wards were extended north to the boundary with Evanston. The aldermanic division of Edgewater between west and east of Clark has been a constant in the shifting of ward boundaries north and south until, quite recently, when the line was blurred somewhat on the north end. The other constant in the shifting of aldermanic boundaries in Edgewater has been the gradual creep northward of the 49th and 48th wards, so that with each 10-year redrawing of boundaries, the 48th ward has constituted more, and the 49th less, of Edgewater.

The house of the father-and-son aldermen still stands, though modified on its exterior. One of the oldest in Edgewater, it was also one of the homes on our 2004 Fall Home Tour. It was depicted in an early Cairnduff advertisement. The house is the one on the left. We did not know at the time of the tour that it had been the home of son George as well as father Alfred and that George too had been a Chicago alderman.

New Teaser:

(4) In August and September 1890, the Chicago Evening Post ran a contest to decide by ballot which was the nicest Chicago suburb. All the eligible suburbs were listed by number, a ballot was printed daily, and readers were encouraged to participate. There was apparently no restriction on the number of times one could vote. Question: How many votes did Edgewater get? And which suburb got the most votes?