2015 - East Andersonville

2015 Fall Tour of Homes
East Andersonville,
September 20, 2015

Welcome to the 27th 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 © 2015 Edgewater Historical Society.

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

East Andersonville

The residential area we now call East Andersonville developed rather late, as the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map clearly shows (see Fig. 2). There were only 51 non-farm structures in the entire area, and only four along the entire east side of Clark in 1905, of which two were dwellings. Only Berwyn had more than 10 (just 11).

The lack of development was not for lack of trying. The area south of Balmoral saw several efforts at development. The first came very early – August 1858! In that year, Louis E. Henry subdivided the area (which also included the land between Clark and Ashland). Alas, the subdivision remained just lines on a map and, as far as we know, nothing was ever built. The land was sold again, this time to S.D. Kerfoot. In November 1889 he subdivided the land (not including the land west of Clark); however, his subdivision was no more successful than Henry’s. He later sold the subdivision to Max Zero who, in July 1890, subdivided the land again. He called his subdivision Zero Park. The name did not stick, but he was successful in his undertaking – his subdivision was not vacated, and he was able to sell individual lots.

The area north of Balmoral saw its first subdivision in 1874. It was called Edson’s subdivision and extended some 600 feet north from the center of Balmoral. Like its earlier subdivisions to the south, it too remained just lines on the map; in fact the entire area east of Clark was just one large lot. The first subdivision to see development was recorded May, 1886, and included the land between Bryn Mawr and what would later become Gregory. It remarkably was not given a name. The second subdivision was by Jacob Feinberg and covered the larger territory between the north side of Balmoral and the south side of Catalpa. It was recorded in February, 1891. The first sale was to Joseph Cornille in March, 1891, who created a truck farm on the lots he purchased. (You can learn more about him and his farm on our website: www.EdgewaterHistory.org) The last remaining land, which was between the south side of Gregory and the north side of Catalpa, was not subdivided until December, 1910, which was quite late for Edgewater. It was called C.A. Penner’s Addition to Edgewater, even though the owner was John Karl Schmidt. Penner was the notary public. The east side of Glenwood was included in J.L. Cochran’s 3rd addition to Edgewater, which was recorded November, 1890.

Thus, the area we know as East Andersonville is comprised of five subdivisions, one south of, and three north of Balmoral, plus one that included the entire east side of Glenwood. The map shows the boundaries, except for the east side of Glenwood, which had no structures on it in 1905.

(See Fig. 1 for a visual representation of these subdivisions.)

The area is predominately (almost exclusively) two-flats, three-flats, six-flats and some larger apartment buildings. In fact, in the whole area there are fewer than 20 structures built as single family homes! (There were at least two others, but they were demolished for construction of larger apartment buildings.) Why apartment buildings were built rather than single family homes was clear in Penner’s 1910 subdivision. By that time almost no single family homes were being built in Edgewater except along Sheridan Road and in the areas where they dominated. But this subdivision was the smallest of the four, and the other three were either earlier or just slightly later than John Lewis Cochran’s 3rd Addition to the east (which is today’s Lakewood Balmoral, except for the east side of Glenwood), where single family homes predominated. The most probable answer is that Lakewood Balmoral had Cochran as its developer, and East Andersonville did not – it had four different developers who did not do what Cochran did. Cochran heavily advertised his subdivisions and he built homes for sale as a way to develop his subdivisions. He did not rely on purchasers of property to build homes. As a result, by 1905 Lakewood Balmoral, with the exception of the east side of Glenwood, was well developed, with single family homes predominating, most which had been built for Cochran. It helped that Cochran was well capitalized by Eastern money – two step brothers and a cousin. Most developers did not have that kind of financial backing.

Still, that is only part of the reason, since other areas of Edgewater did not experience the almost total domination of apartment buildings and the paucity of single family homes. We don’t know this other part of the reason. One thing is certain: East Andersonville really began to be developed after the “L” was extended north from Wilson in May, 1908.

How the area got its name

It was really a four step process. The area got its name from the Andersonville commercial district along Clark Street; the commercial district got its name from a demolished school at the south west corner of Clark and Foster; and the school got its name from the Andersonville subdivision of 1853 that covered the area bounded by Foster on the north, Winnemac on the south, Clark Street on the east and Ravenswood on the west. Like the early subdivisions in today’s East Andersonville, the Andersonville subdivision remained lines on the map, with little if any construction until lots were re-subdivided beginning in the late 1880s and early 1890s. The name itself would have long passed into oblivion, but for the construction of a school that was given that same name. The original frame building was replaced by a brick one in the 1880s, and this second building was torn down after Trumbull was built to replace it. It too would have long been forgotten except for the fact that a plaque was placed on the building that replaced the school. The plaque was placed on the building in 1937 to commemorate a meeting that was held in the original school building that led to the formation of LakeView Township. It was this plaque that Grant Johnson of the Clark Uptown Business Men’s Association saw. He was looking for a name that would give the business strip a unique name that reflected the Scandinavian heritage of the area. Andersonville seemed a natural, so in 1964 the association renamed itself as the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, and started promoting the area as Andersonville. The effort was enormously successful (and very quickly), so much so that when the organizers of a neighborhood association for the area were looking for a name for their association, in 1972, East Andersonville was a natural choice – it was after all east of the Andersonville commercial district.

Fig. 1: East Andersonville Subdivisions

Fig. 2: East Andersonville Sanborn map