This classic Chicago two flat was designed in 1907 by architect Ed C. LaBelle for owner Nicholaus Pauly. The builder was John Axend. The original address of the building was 3828 N. Hermitage. Many Chicago addresses and street names were changed in 1909 in order to eliminate duplicate numbering and street names. From the original address we can see that the Hermitage street name was not changed, just the numbering.
Nicholaus and Clara Pauly had two sons and one daughter. Clara was a clerk in a clothing company and the 1920 census does not give an employment for her husband. Both were of German heritage. Eventually one of their sons married and lived in the basement apartment.
The architect, Ed C. La Belle was born in Montreal and studied both in Chicago and in Stuttgart Germany. He was known in architectural circles for the invention of the LaBelle window which opened inwardly and eliminated the hazards of cleaning from the outside.
The façade of the building is face brick and the sides are common brick according to the custom in Chicago. The stairs are wood with an iron rail which may be original. The front entrance is framed in limestone under the open entrance porch which has a balcony above. Limestone is used to define certain areas of the façade including a band under the windows, a wide band above the first floor bay windows and the cornice. The windows in the front bay are set separately indicating an older building. Between the first and second floor there are rectangular insets of a slightly different color brick.
Although this is a two flat the basement unit is high and so it could function as a three unit building. It serves the owner as a residence and art studio. The building is set on a wide lot that is below the street level and is the evidence of the rolling sand hills of the area west of the Clark Street ridge. The topography is of interest because most places in Edgewater were graded and leveled so it is difficult to imagine these rolling hills that were left by the receding of Lake Chicago centuries ago. In this case the side yard is a beautiful garden.
At the back of the yard is a substantial garage that was built in 1927. It includes a basement which may have been used for a root cellar.
The first floor is a rental unit. The second floor is the owner’s home which has undergone some rehab to create a more spacious feel to the typical layout. The living room and dining room have been opened out with the removal of separating walls. The ceiling has been designed with a box inset and the installation of a sky light. All the windows and doors are framed in the original oak moldings. Since this is a second floor space and there are many windows the apartment is full of light. The floors are original oak. In an alcove off the living room the owner/ artist has a display of her handmade necklaces which are for sale.
The unit has three bedrooms with one used as a office. The bathroom has been expanded by a few feet. and the space redesigned. Originally, the floors of all bathrooms in the building were raised. An investigation and demolition showed that there was no apparent reason for this. You can imagine the problem of remembering to step up to the bathroom in a late night visit to the facilities. So now everything is on the same level.
The kitchen still has its original layout and it is a real family eat-in kitchen. The maple floor is original and there are new maple cabinets and new appliances. On one wall of the kitchen is a collection of paint by number paintings from a bygone era. They are bright and colorful. The kitchen door opens onto a back porch that will take you downstairs and to the garden.
While in the garden you can take a better look at the 1927 garage which fills the back of the lot.