Lakewood Balmoral Historic Tour of Homes

Vol. XXII No. 2 - SUMMER 2011

The Edgewater Home Tour this year will feature the Lakewood Balmoral neighborhood, which was named as a National Historic District in 1999.

The Historic District Application describes it as “a discrete assemblage of late 19th and early 20th century buildings which together comprise an intact example of early suburban development in Chicago, Illinois. Located near Lake Michigan on the northern periphery of the city, Lakewood Balmoral maintains a great deal of its architectural integrity. Lakewood Balmoral consists of twelve city blocks, promoted by the locally noted real estate developer John Lewis Cochran. This area was originally known as Cochran’s Third Addition to Edgewater, a suburban development he began in the 1880s.

The name Edgewater originated with Cochran. Unlike much of present-day Edgewater, Lakewood Balmoral remained largely intact over the last century, giving the neighborhood an historic and architectural integrity lacking in bordering neighborhoods. Bounded by three major thoroughfares on its north, south and east boundaries, Bryn Mawr, Foster and Broadway avenues respectively, Lakewood Balmoral exists today as a quiet residential neighborhood.”

This year’s tour of the area will present homes that have not been on the tour in previous years. The homes are in varied styles including Prairie, Arts and Crafts, American Foursquare and Queen Anne. Most are over 100 years old and exhibit the care and concern of homeowners who have worked to preserve this historic neighborhood architecture.

The homes were built on a farm that Cochran subdivided beginning in 1890. The earliest homes date from 1891, as far as our research shows. The period of significance for the Historic District is 1890-1929. Homes and two-flats constructed after that period are considered non-contributing to the district.

Cochran set up an office at the corner of Evanston Avenue and Claremont, which is now known as Broadway and Catalpa. Interested buyers would travel by train to the Bryn Mawr stop and walk south to this office to learn more about the development. The lots were 125 feet deep and either 37 feet or 50 feet wide. He advertised in the Chicago papers and became known for the development of the “prettiest little suburb in Chicago,” as noted in an 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition description.

Come join us for this years tour. It will be memorable and enjoyable.