V27-4 Teaser #34

Vol. XXVII No. 4 - WINTER 2016

In the summer issue of the Scrapbook, we asked: What is the story behind the name of the building at 1038 to 1052 W. Balmoral.

Answer: The building at the northwest corner of Balmoral and Kenmore was named the Denifer. It was not named for its owner or developer or some famous person or place. Rather it reflected a new pattern in apartment building naming, this at least according to a June 2, 1921 Chicago Tribune item titled “City threatened with Fresh Crop of Weird Hotel Names.”

To quote: “We’re just about getting over the epidemic of naming hotels and apartment buildings with a combination of syllables from each of the nearby streets when, zowie, here comes a brand new method which promises untold agony for people who’ve got to remember the names manufactured. It’s a simple method and in that simplicity lies the danger – it’s too easy.”

“All you do is select some quality you like – and then spell it backwards. For instance, the owners of the hotel to be built at the northwest corner of Kenmore and Balmoral avenues… arrived at the conclusion that the new hostelry certainly would be refined… The rest of the christening was easy. The ‘d’ is made a capital; the other letters are run in backwards and – behold! We have the Hotel Denifer.”

Of course, the method was not so simple, and the author got carried away. The quality expressed in a word with the letters reversed has to be pronounceable. Try spelling “beautiful” or “excellent” backwards, or even “grand” (though the result is not as bad). We suspect that the Denifer was the only building named using this method.

According to this Chicago Tribune article, the Hotel Denifer was to consist of 70 apartments of two and three rooms each. There was to be a dining room on the first floor, laundry and servants quarters on the roof, and gymnasiums for both men and women on the first floor. The architect was given as Eric E. Hall.

However, what was actually built was quite different – at least on the inside. A September 11, 1921 Chicago Tribune bond issue advertisement boldly proclaimed: “This is not a hotel issue” and referred to “apartments with rooms equal in size and arrangements to the fine homes in this exclusive neighborhood.”

As actually built, the Denifer had 36 apartments with five or six rooms.

Click here to see early advertisement item for the Denifer.

The Denifer was converted to condos on November 15, 1979, the fourth mid-rise building in Edgewater to undergo the transformation. It was the 70th building in Edgewater to have been either built as a condominium or converted to condominium ownership.

[Note: the above has been revised from the original printed version to include a link to an advertising item.]

Teaser #35

At one time there was an independent drug store on nearly every corner on Edgewater commercial streets. Today they are almost all gone. But there is one that still remains. Where is it and how long has it been there?