1994 - West Andersonville

1994 Fall Tour of Homes
West Andersonville
September 18, 1994

Welcome to the Sixth 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 © 1994 Edgewater Historical Society.

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

West Andersonville

The community known as West Andersonville lies directly north of the original settlement called Andersonville. It was subdivided and developed in various stages. In December, 1859, the name Mount Pleasant was used to describe an area north of Foster (once called First Street) between Ashland (Eastern) and Ravenswood (called West Street and Front Street) north to Berwyn Avenue. Farragut, the east/west street in the subdivision, was called Pine and Paulina was called Wright. Although roads were put in this section, we have no records of any houses being built at that time. Much later, in 1886, Louis Henry filed an addition to his East Andersonville development of Summerdale, called Summerdale Park, from Berwyn to Balmoral and then, in 1891, north to Catalpa. At this time the train tracks of the Chicago Northwestern were at ground level and some trains stopped at Berwyn, the Summerdale stop and at Rosehill, at the company owned cemetery Drive. Rosehill was established as a cemetery in 1859.

The northern most section of Andersonville from Catalpa (Claremont) to Bryn Mawr was labeled Edgewater Heights in 1896. This was just a few years after John Lewis Cochran’s fourth addition to Edgewater in 1894. It was also just a few years after more developers began to subdivide Mount Pleasant in order to sell lots and homes. B.R. Deyoung filed in 1891 and the Judson Brothers in 1895. Later, C.J. Nelson and Robert Christiansen filed in 1907 and K.K. Knapps in 1913. The Swedish American re-subdivisions occurred in 1915 and 1924. While it is difficult to track the course of these developments, it is clear that, after the Summerdale development and creation of Edgewater, this section of Andersonville became an attractive place to live.

Transportation was crucial to this development. In the earliest days, local truck farmers used Green Bay Road (Clark Street) to drive to the South Water Street Market in horse drawn wagons. Stables dotted the area and a few individuals owned horse and carriage. Deliveries, even groceries, were by horse drawn wagons. On our tour today, you will visit a coach house with hay loft and walk by one of Andersonville’s early dairies. Well into the 1930s, milk was delivered by horse drawn wagons.

Beginning in 1892, as traffic increased, the rail roads began a program to raise the train tracks onto embankments to eliminate grade crossings throughout the city. The Chicago Northwestern did this along the western edge of Andersonville between 1895 and 1906.

By 1900, the Clark street trolley-car ran north to Devon and south to 111th Street, thus creating an important link through the city. This Clark Street trolley holds many fond memories for community residents, since it was one of the last lines to be in operation. Today, the steel rails and brick streets are hidden under asphalt.

In the late 1950s, Grant Johnson, a business man on Clark Street, suggested that the district reestablish the name Andersonville for the area. In the late 1960s, the Clark Street Businessmen’s Association changed its name to the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce. Closely following this change, many neighborhood residents began to organize and work together for community improvement. The West Andersonville Neighbors Together, W.A.N.T., organized in the 1970s.

In the past 30 years, many new ethnic groups and individuals have settled in Andersonville and Edgewater including Mexicans, Koreans, Greeks, Persians, Japanese, South Americans, Vietnamese and Thai. Each of them contributes to the strong, unique identity that the Andersonville name retains today.