2010 - Edgewater North

2010 Fall Tour of Homes
Edgewater North
September 19, 2010

Welcome to the 22nd Annual Edgewater Historical Society Home Tour

Editor’s note: To respect the privacy of the homeowners while making the historical information available for research, most names and street addresses have been removed from the online version of the “tour booklet.” The original printed booklets are all available at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum.

Text and some images for this online “tour booklet” were copied from the printed booklet. Copyright © 2010 Edgewater Historical Society.

For individual home descriptions, select an address at the left.

Edgewater North

Our tour today includes the two subdivisions in what today we call Edgewater North and one subdivision in the northeast section of Edgewater Glen, where our tour begins.

The first subdivision to be recorded was Brockhausen and Fischer’s 1st Addition to Edgewater (see “A” on the Sanborn map below). It was recorded in December of 1890 and is the largest subdivision in the area. The name comes from Theodore Brockhausen, who was the notary, and William D. Fischer, who was the landowner. It is bounded on the north by Devon, on the east by Broadway, on the south by a line approximately 300 feet north of Granville, and on the west by Glenwood. Originally, Broadway was known as Evanston Ave, Granville was Grand and Glenwood was Southport. In addition, within the subdivision a number of the streets had different names. Magnolia was Charlton, Lakewood was Fischer (guess where that name came from!) and Wayne was Euclid.

Devon Avenue, a major boundary, was surveyed as a road from Little Fort Road (Lincoln Avenue) to Lake Michigan in 1863 and was widened in 1869. It forms the northern boundary of what we today call Edgewater.

The second subdivision to be recorded was John N. Young’s Grand Avenue Addition to Chicago. It was recorded in March of 1891. It is bounded on the north by the southern boundary of Brockhausen and Fischer’s Addition, on the east by Broadway, on the south by the north side of Granville, and on the west by Glenwood (see “B” on the Sanborn map below).

The third subdivision, where our tour starts, represents a sliver of the northeast part of what we now call Edgewater Glen. It is the Brost and Kemper Subdivision and is bounded on the north by the south side of Granville, on the east by Broadway, on the south by the north side of Hood and on the west by Glenwood. The subdivision was recorded in April of 1892 and is named for Peter Brost and William Kemper. It was developed by the Brost family, which used to have a house moving business. Until recently, Mildred Merrill, the great niece of Peter Brost, lived in the home of her father (Peter M. Brost), which was bought in 1909 (see “C” on the Sanborn map below).

You’ll notice that the west side of Broadway and the east side of Glenwood form the eastern and western boundaries of all three subdivisions. They also form the boundaries of many other subdivisions. Interestingly, no Edgewater subdivision extends beyond either street.

Although all three subdivisions originated in the early 1890s, actual development within them was slow – very slow. The 1905 Sanborn fire map (reproduced at the right) shows only 41 residential structures in all three subdivisions combined. Magnolia had 17 structures, Lakewood had six, and Wayne had only one. The Brost and Kemper subdivision had only eight residential structures.

The next snapshot in time was October of 1909 (4 to 5 years later), when most of the city was converted to the current street numbering system. The official street number conversion table showed more than a trebling in the number of residential structures – 132. Still, while the growth in this short period of time was considerable from a percentage vantage point, there remained many a vacant lot. It really wasn’t until America’s entry into WWI in 1917 that the three subdivisions were fully developed.

Edgewater was the name used by John L. Cochran when he began his plan for a suburb in 1885. His first subdivision was bounded on the north by Bryn Mawr, on the east by Sheridan Road, on the south by Foster, and on the west by Broadway. By 1889, he had added the area north of Thorndale and south of Devon to his holdings. Again, the western boundary was Broadway. However, north of Bryn Mawr, the eastern boundary was the Lake. He also persuaded the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad to open a station at North Edgewater (Granville) – see photo below. This railroad ran where the CTA’s red line now runs through Edgewater. Based on the evidence, the station stop was added before May of 1891. It was probably this event, or the knowledge of its coming, that led to the three subdivisions being recorded and the early sale of homes in the area.

By the early years of the 20th Century, the construction of single family homes began to give way to two-flats and then larger buildings, primarily on the corners. There was no citywide zoning ordinance until the early 1920s, so the only rules that were enforced were the rules or covenants set forth by the developers. It appears that a set-back was agreed upon at about 15 to 20 feet. One house on our tour is set further back, perhaps indicating it was the first house or was built earlier than the others.