1995 - Rosehill Neighborhood

1995 Fall Tour of Homes
Rosehill Neighborhood
September 17, 1995

Welcome to the Seventh 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.

Images and text for this online “tour booklet” were copied from the printed booklet. Copyright © 1995 Edgewater Historical Society.

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

Rosehill Neighborhood

The Rosehill neighborhood has had many names. Prior to the incorporation of the cemetery in 1859, the land was commonly known as Roe’s Hill. It is a high ridge of sand and glacial rock left in place by the receding Lake Chicago, which preceded the current Lake Michigan. Hiram Roe sold his land to the cemetery company, led by Chicago’s first mayor, William Ogden. Various stories are told about the subsequent naming of Rosehill which sounds the same as Roe’s Hill. [Editor’s note: Subsequent research invalidates the story that Hiram Roe sold the land to the cemetery company.  There is no record of Mr. Roe owning any land in the area.]

Early on, the Rosehill Cemetery Company acquired land along Green Bay Road (now Clark) north to Grand Avenue (now Granville). There was a private cemetery road put through to connect Green Bay Road and the East Gate, Rosehill Drive. This gate and administration offices were built in 1864 by architect William Boyington. Some of the land acquired by the cemetery was later sold off for residential development.

The first of these developers was Louis Henry, creator of the Summerdale Development to the south. He called the area north of the cemetery road Henry Town and sold three blocks to Barrett and Galloway in 1871. However, roads were not put in until the 1890s. Another parcel north of Thorndale was called the Buena Vista addition to Chicago in 1891. In 1890, the Cemetery Company surveyed and built Rosehill Drive. This forced the area to develop in two sections, since no road intersected it. A section of the wall along the road is still visible at Paulina.

The roads which were put in north of the Drive had several different names. Thorndale, for instance, was called Armin and South Avenue. Ravenswood, north of the cemetery, was called Park Avenue and Hermitage was called Commercial, Hamilton and later First Avenue. The land in this area is between two ridges. The Rosehill Spit (in the cemetery) and the Green Bay Road ridge. The area between was a mix of low sand hills and marshland. A creek ran through the area, fed by an underground spring. Development was delayed until the land could be leveled and filled.

In 1891, the Ashland Avenue/Clark Street Addition to Edgewater was filed with the City of Chicago. Just two years before, in 1889, the whole of Lakeview Township had been incorporated as part of the City of Chicago. This area covered the streets Olive, Hollywood and Edgewater, between Ashland and First Avenue (now Hermitage). The homes built in this area are largely wooden structures, a mix of cottages and two-flats. The more recent buildings are brick. The last subdivision to be developed was along Bryn Mawr and Olive west of Hermitage. It was called Becker’s Addition to Chicago - filed June 24, 1914.

As of 1920, the only undeveloped land in the area was along the south side of Rosehill Drive. In 1924, that land was opened up when the city allowed the construction of the intersection of Hermitage and Rosehill Drive. Most of the homes along the south side of Rosehill Drive were built between 1924 and 1929. Also, in 1920, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance allowing for the widening of Ashland. A lawsuit to prevent the widening was subsequently filed and it took until 1931 for the City of Chicago to change Ashland from a two-lane road to a four-lane road. The intersection of Clark and Ashland at Rosehill Drive was redesigned at that time.

The only other change that effected this area was the building of the Chicago and Northwestern track elevation in 1906. Prior to that time, there were ground level tracks which offered stations at Summerdale, Rosehill and Granville. These stations were redesigned along with the elevation. All three of them are closed now and gone. The trains speed by as the automobile has become more a part of daily life. Public transportation is on the perimeter of the area, leaving this patchwork of housing to feel like a small town.

There was little commercial development in the area. Most was related to the Cemetery. The Gast Monument Company building was once the Anderson Monument Company. Next door, at the Fireside, was once Peter Eberhardt’s Restaurant and Saloon. This business provided a resting place for those visiting the cemetery, as well as a gathering place for neighborhood groups. Later, after the widening of Ashland, some businesses developed along there. Of special note is the Original Ace Hardware store at 5820, which opened in 1924. The Rosehill neighborhood was once served by a community organization called the Rosehill Neighborhood Association. More recently the neighbors have formed W.E.A.R. - West Edgewater Area Residents organization. Thanks to them for their assistance in organizing this tour.