Preservation Advocacy

One of the missions of the Edgewater Historical Society is to “promote the preservation of landmarks and historic structures within Edgewater.”

Since at least 1999, the primary thrust of our preservation mission has been to preserve the single family homes in J.L. Cochran’s first three subdivisions along Kenmore, Winthrop and Sheridan Road that survived the various waves of teardown and new construction. Many are excellent examples of architectural design and represent public works of art in addition to reflecting the original development of Edgewater.

Unfortunately, we have not been very successful in our preservation efforts. Since 2003, 18 homes have been demolished, of which at least eight were significant. The threat to the existence of many homes continues. The reason for the teardowns has been the convergence of two factors:

Earlier this year (2008), we learned that most of the important single family homes could be saved from demolition through the creation of a City of Chicago Landmark District. In response to Alderman Mary Ann Smith’s urging, the Landmark Commission staff reviewed the remaining single family homes north of Hollywood and submitted a list of 15 that could be included in a district. For more information, see LATEST NEWS.

  • The high zoning (RM-5 or RM-6), which we believe is inappropriate, and
  • The demand for new condos, which has only recently diminished due to the nationwide slowdown in housing sales.

Prior to 2003, there was little demand for new construction condos along Kenmore and Winthrop. The few homes that were sold there were sold as houses to be lived in by their purchasers and, in fact, were lived in by their purchasers. Ironically, two of the homes that were torn down were on an Edgewater Historical Society home tour – 6117 Winthrop and 6212 Winthrop.