The S.E. Gross Contest

The name Samuel Eberly Gross is historically synonymous with utilitarian housing. S.E. Gross made a name for himself by developing and marketing his building projects throughout the Chicago area. S.E. Gross is especially known for Alta Vista Terrace, a city landmark; his development in Edgewater appears to have the distinction of being his last.

Our investigations into Gross’s Edgewater project have been quite interesting. All his houses here are in Farson’s and Weber’s addition to Edgewater, 1890. This land is a subdivision of the Nicholas Kransz farm. The first permits to build homes here were taken out in 1893. It appears that several permits were issued in 1896 but, by far the largest number of permits, at least 20, were issued in the winter of 1903. S.E. Gross’s newspaper advertisements for his real estate projects included recruiting workers by stating “day work available.”

After you’ve seen one or two S.E. Gross houses, you can find the rest. On one street, you will see five of the seven homes planned in 1903. Look carefully at the façade details, remembering that the two homes on our tour have been rehabbed. Perhaps you can label the models, as many developers do today.

Now, as you walk along Highland Avenue to Greenview and up to Clark Street, if you are determined, write down the addresses of all the matching S.E. Gross homes. If you can find more than 15, you might be a winner. Place your answers in our container at 1519 and we will send you a fabulous prize if you qualify.


  • One entry per tour participant
  • No looking at your neighbors answers!
  • Answer sheet must be clearly labeled with your name and telephone number
  • Sorry, no out-of-state contestants