Bryn Mawr Historic District: Genesis

The impetus for the creation of the Bryn Mawr National Register Historic District was the perceived need to obtain the tax credits that such status would provide for the rehabilitation of the Bryn Mawr and Belle Shore Hotels. These properties with a combined 421 small apartment units had been viewed as a blight on the neighborhood due to deferred maintenance and poor management. Individual neighborhood activists as well as the Edgewater Development Corporation, the East Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, the Edgewater Community Council, and 48th ward Alderman Mary Ann Smith viewed the rehabilitation of these buildings as crucial to the rehabilitation of Bryn Mawr and the immediate neighborhood. When a prospective developer, Peter Holstein, indicated that he needed the additional layer of financial support that National Register Listing would provide, there no opposition, and indeed there was considerable community support. In addition there was support based on the historic nature of the contributing structures as the proposed district included Edgewater’s first commercial district. As expected the Edgewater Historical Society gave strong support. Peter Holstein hired the late Phil Krone who in turn secured the services of professor Daniel Bluestone to do the research and complete the nomination form. Given the small number of buildings in the proposed district (17), he was able to do the research and complete the form within two weeks. It was on a very fast tract.

Click here for a statement by Marge Britton presented at the Chicago Landmarks Commision hearings regarding the proposed National Register Historic District.

–prepared by LeRoy Blommaert, April 2013, revised April 2014