v25-4 Home Tour 2014

Vol. XXV No. 4 - WINTER 2014

By: Bob Remer

Clouds threatened with a few early spits of rain, but a grand and successful day emerged as the 26th Edgewater Home Tour launched from the steps of the Church of Atonement on Sunday, September 21st in Edgewater Beach Central (running from Hollywood to Granville, and from Winthrop to the lake).

Over 200 people enjoyed our largest ever number of stops (13) that we hope didn’t leave our guests too breathless from the walk, but rather from some of the fabulous architecture. Dozens of wonderful docents and an especially warm and welcoming group of home owners and tenants made this tour one of our most cherished.

Church of the Atonement, Edgewater’s oldest, celebrates the 125th anniversary of its cornerstone on land donated by Edgewater’s founder J. Lewis Cochran. It was built/renovated in stages by prominent Chicago architects earning a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The church history and the parish house was a great start to the tour.

The area was once dominated by single family homes when Cochran developed his 1st and 2nd additions to Edgewater starting in 1887. Now it is one of Chicago’s densest neighborhoods, with only a handful of single homes dwarfed by high rises and large apartment buildings, with an incredibly diverse population. The homes we visited ranged from single family mansions, two-flats, six-flats and above, and they were primarily in high end apartment buildings that had been developed in the early 1900s-’20s; one spectacular unit had even been featured in the 1917 “Directory to Apartments of the Better Class Along the North Side of Chicago.” The north end of the tour included one of the fabulous landmarked Berger Park mansions as well as the not often publicly seen mansion, the Driehaus Center of Sacred Heart School.

In addition to homes, guests had the chance to join in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the George Swift Elementary School. The tour book also included reference to a dozen points of architectural or historic interest that were not open for the tour, but could be seen from the street. Our guests were also able to tramp over Chicago’s oldest remaining sidewalks made of slate/bluestone slabs over 120 years old.

Space does not permit discussion of all the homes, but remember that all attendees got a 90 page professionally prepared booklet about the homes and the tour, a real keepsake and an added incentive to attend the tour. Later in the year, the text of the home descriptions will be included on our website.

We had a tremendous outpouring of support from local advertisers and we had our most successful ad sales in 26 years. The home tour is our single largest fundraiser during the year to help keep the museum doors open and free. Kathy Gemperle continues to amaze us with her inspiration, teaching and leadership with this, her 26th straight home tour. It was a great honor to work with her again this year.