v28-4 Preservation News

Vol. XXVIII No. 4 - FALL 2017

By Kathy Gemperle

In September the greystone at 1436 Berwyn was purchased by a company that wanted to demolish it and build a six unit building that would fill the lot. This greystone is one of two buildings built by one family in 1908 just as Andersonville was beginning to grow and expand beyond Clark Street. The Christiansen brothers, John and Christ, decided to build homes on adjoining lots. They used similar building materials, so the homes are obviously related though different in scale. The larger and more locally famous building is called the “Castle on Berwyn” because of its architectural style and added ornamentation. It is just to the east of 1436. Owner Kathy Klink has generously shown the “Castle” in two Edgewater Home Tours that featured the East Andersonville neighborhood.

Community residents were quite upset about the proposed demolition and they worked together to prevent it. The efforts to prevent demolition have been successful. The developer offered to sell the building, and @Properties realtor Maureen Murnane stepped up to find a buyer who will keep the character of the original building. And community members who support preservation are very happy.

Among the activities of the community group were the signing of petitions opposing the demolition, meetings with the neighborhood association East Andersonville Residents Council, creation of an on-line petition, and a meeting held at the Swedish Museum with Alderman Harry Osterman and the developer’s lawyer and architect.

An additional issue arose in the process as the back of the property has a 100+ year old elm tree that has not suffered from Dutch Elm disease. Had the six-flat been approved, the tree would have been demolished. This possibility caused another group to seek some protection for our community’s oldest living trees. This effort is ongoing.

Thanks to Kathy Klink for her efforts in organizing community residents, and to Maureen Murnane for her work in finding a buyer. This was a team effort that was very successful. It is what can happen when community residents keep in touch with each other and speak up in favor of the preservation of community history. Developers come and go; community residents are the ones who live here and can effectively support the preservation of our community.