Will Chicago Save This 140-Year Old Gold Coast Workers Cottage From Demolition? 1241 N. State Parkway

1241 n state

This 2-bedroom worker’s cottage at 1241 N. State Parkway in the Gold Coast came on the market on June 2, 2016.

It is well known simply because of its location in the Gold Coast and the fact that it isn’t a big rowhouse but is a simple cottage.

The sale closed late last week.

Listed for $1.495 million, it sold for $1.5 million.

According to DNAinfo, the developer who is buying it has already filed for a demolition permit.

The cottage was built in 1872, just a year after the Great Chicago Fire. According to DNAinfo, it was built to house workers participating in the rebuilding of the city.

It is built on a smaller than standard lot of 22.5 x 150 but has a 2-car garage.

Measuring just 1072 square feet, both bedrooms are on the second floor.

The listing agent told DNAinfo the property was in bad shape:

It has vintage charm, but is also in “severe disrepair” and doesn’t have any kitchen appliances, co-listing agent Stefanie Lavelle of Coldwell Banker told DNAinfo Chicago last week. The home sits on an extra-long lot that could be developed or remain a nice backyard that’s rare in the neighborhood, she said.

The cottage “is a special place, but it’s sitting on a gold mine,” Lavelle said earlier this month. The home is being sold by the estate of a man who died last year.

This is the last remaining cottage in the neighborhood. It is located in the Gold Coast Historic District but that, apparently, isn’t enough to save it from demolition.

From DNAinfo:

The cottage is one of 9,600 buildings considered to have enough historical significance to warrant a 90-day demolition delay. That allows city officials time to explore alternatives, such as giving the home landmark protection.

The hold worked for three vintage buildings set to be demolished on nearby Bellevue Street two years ago when city officials ultimately convinced those developers to keep the properties intact.

Demolition alternatives are devised by the city’s department of planning and development, then relayed to the city’s commission on landmarks for consideration. Peter Strazzabosco, the city’s deputy commissioner of planning and development, declined to say whether the department would work to save the Gold Coast cottage.

Will this cottage be saved?

Should historic structures like this be landmarked or is a teardown simply progress?

C Bryce Fuller at Coldwell Banker had the listing. You can see the listing pictures here (no pictures of the interior but there are pictures of the backyard – which are interesting to see.)

1241 N. State Parkway: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1072 square feet, 2 car garage

  • There’s no prior sales price. It was put into a Trust in 1994
  • There was no mortgage on the property
  • Originally listed on June 2, 2016 for $1.495 million
  • Sold on June 30, 2016 for $1.5 million
  • Filed for permit to demolish the cottage
  • Taxes of $5088
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×12 (second floor)
  • Living room: 30×13

 

36 Responses to “Will Chicago Save This 140-Year Old Gold Coast Workers Cottage From Demolition? 1241 N. State Parkway”

  1. I’d say let it go. I like vintage more than most but people but this is nothing special and clearly nobody in their right mind would pay that kind of money for this except for the land.

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  2. So every 140 year old house should be torn down?

    I’m just wondering where you stop. Do you preserve anything?

    It’s not a mansion. It’s not a rowhouse built for the rich. But it IS a part of Chicago history. I had no idea they actually built workers cottages to house the people re-building the city. This is similar, actually, to the same type of cottages that were built in San Francisco after the 1906 quake. Usually 2/1s and small. Many of those still stand on Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill and in North Beach.

    If the landmark provision is anything like what goes on in Pullman- the new owner would be able to change the interiors and add onto the back of the property but the front façade has to be maintained as is.

    This is a long lot. They could add an addition onto the back and double the size of the house.

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  3. This is not architecturally significant

    Neighbors are pulling a NIMBY

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  4. “This is not architecturally significant”

    Please tell me where another 140 year old workers cottage- built specifically to house the workers rebuilding the city- is located? It is part of Chicago’s history.

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  5. The city saved this house on Dearborn 3 years ago.

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131118/gold-coast/landmark-status-proposed-for-victorian-gold-coast-house

    It has more interesting architectural features but the worker’s cottage is older.

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  6. It’s interesting to see what the City has done in the past to preserve some of the architecture. This is from the final landmark report on that house on Dearborn issued in 2013:

    “The result was, by the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Chicago’s most-elite
    residential neighborhood, built up mostly with single-family houses and row houses, but
    with a sprinking of apartment buildings and hotels. The Depression years of the 1930s
    and the World War years of the early 1940s and immediately after saw little development
    or outward changes in the neighborhood. The 1950s, on the other hand, saw pentup
    demand for apartments in the neighborhood explode, and a trickle of tear-downs in
    the 1950s became a flood in the 1960s and early 1970s, and older houses throughout the
    Gold Coast were demolished for new high-rise apartment buildings.

    Concerns about such redevelopment, and the resulting loss of older buildings and the
    low scale of the neighborhood, brought the Chicago Landmark designation by City
    Council of the Astor Street District, one of Chicago’s first Chicago Landmark districts,
    in 1975. In 1978, the Gold Coast Historic District, covering most of the neighborhood
    bounded by North, Lake Shore Drive, Oak, Rush, State, Division and Clark, was listed
    on the National Register of Historic Places, providing both recognition of the larger
    neighborhood’s historic character and access to historic rehabilitation tax incentives. In
    1989, the Seven Houses on Lake Shore Drive District was designated by City Council to
    recognize and preserve surviving mansions from the street’s “first-generation” development.
    More recently, the Near North Historic Overlay Districts Nos. 1 and 2 were enacted
    by City Council to provide a measure of protection, through height limitations for
    new construction, for much of the Gold Coast neighborhood.”

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  7. There are numerous criteria needed for landmark status. I’ll be interested to read the report on this house. I wonder if they know who built it?

    “Whenever a building, structure, object, or district is under consideration for landmark
    designation, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks is required to identify the
    “significant historical and architectural features” of the property. This is done to enable
    the owners and the public to understand which elements are considered most important
    to preserve the historical and architectural character of the proposed landmark.”

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  8. Another interesting question is: how DID it survive all these years?

    There has clearly been plenty of development in the neighborhood, especially during the 1970s. I’m sure there were plenty of opportunities to tear this house down.

    The neighborhood was built for the rich as early as the 1880s. Why would they want a worker’s cottage sitting there?

    But here it is- still intact.

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  9. It sucks but it is progress anything to generate more tax dollars IMO and well this little house isn’t the best use for the land

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  10. Tear it down

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  11. I don’t support having the government prevent landowners from making the best use of their land. If some preservation group think that a building is architecturally significant then they should pay FMV for that parcel, if it is for sale, and pay to maintain it.

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  12. Wood frame homes don’t last forever. This was never build with longevity in mind. I bet the floors are sagging, the walls are askew, the window frames are parallelograms, and the roof is crushing under the weight of multiple shingle layers.

    At some point, it’s not a matter of preserving it, it’s matter of rebuilding it – everything. Is this really worth rebuilding?

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  13. I have a better idea. Move the house to a different lot, either by jacking it up or moving it piece by piece and rebuilding it on a $20k lot in garfield park. Then make it a museum and charge admission.

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  14. I agree abut moving it. It would also provide jobs for those nearby. Ticket reception, docent tour, marketing to tourists… lol

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  15. Lines would be around the block! Would have to hire a police duty to handle the massive crowds

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  16. Riz probably thinks workers can still afford to be in this cottage

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  17. I doubt it was built with 2x4s. Older wood construction can last a very long time…maintenance is critical though. Throughout the old world are plenty of examples of wood frames that are 700+ years old.

    http://blog.longnow.org/02009/01/12/how-long-can-wood-last/

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  18. @Liz – I doubt this building was built to cathedral standards. This is a worker’s cottage, not a place of worship. I bet this was built with iron nails, not all-wood joinery. The wood can last, but if the joints get loose, or the foundation is not 100% solid, everything shifts. Which causes the aforementioned settling problems.

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  19. Please tell me where another 140 year old workers cottage- built specifically to house the workers rebuilding the city- is located? It is part of Chicago’s history.

    Pullman is much more significant, but missed on one criteria

    So the second that this place gets onto any historic register the costs related to maintain/upgrade go thru the roof. The city would be much better off. Like I said, this place is not Architecturally Signifigant

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  20. That little house is a symbol of Chicago’s survival. A little house that popped up after the great fire devasted the city, and has lasted all these years should be cherished, not knocked down.

    I think that if the little house had not been sold before hitting the MLS it would have been bought by someone interested in preserving it. I so hope that it is allowed to stay.

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  21. “Please tell me where another 140 year old workers cottage- built specifically to house the workers rebuilding the city- is located? It is part of Chicago’s history”

    Well by that definition you are in a bit of a conundrum as every building that was ever built is technically part of Chicago’s history. So at least a few of every single type of design should be preserved. That seems illogical.

    As buildings age the market determines if they have outlasted their useful structure and/or design elements. Often it is valued more by the price of the land they occupy. Some will be saved others will be developed. At some point it is time to accept this and move along.

    As a longtime resident of the Fulton Market district I’m a bit nostalgic to see all those “working” buildings being turned into condos, bars and restaurants. And a
    “Google office and Hamburger university” however that is what happens in a city. They are living breathing and constantly changing. Sometimes things change for the better sometimes for the worse. Today I had lunch at Gus Famous Fried Chicken on Fulton and that was sure a change for the better!

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  22. Since the lot is so deep, it would have been nice if they could have preserved the cottage and appended more square footage onto the back in a separate yet connected structure. I’ll miss walking by that little place when it’s gone.

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  23. “Riz probably thinks workers can still afford to be in this cottage”‘

    My success really bugs you doesn’t it. Glad i’m on your mind amigo.

    I think this is a great piece of land / location. If it was torn down and built into a new SFH or something it would be sad. Can’t imagine what the build cost would be – 3 million total?

    And no, I don’t think I could afford that on a physician’s income.

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  24. “I don’t support having the government prevent landowners from making the best use of their land. If some preservation group think that a building is architecturally significant then they should pay FMV for that parcel, if it is for sale, and pay to maintain it.”

    Great point. Although this is a charming little place, I don’t really think it will be missed much overall. Got to move with the times people.

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  25. Since the lot is so deep, it would have been nice if they could have preserved the cottage and appended more square footage onto the back in a separate yet connected structure

    Good idea but the small niche of buyers that might appreciate that developed property are dwarfed by the larger pool that want….no expect….something different. Most buyers in this zip code and price range will want the huge statement making tall and commanding presence as their curb appeal. To them that facade states to all that “I’ve arrived” and am “highly sophisticated and successful.”

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  26. riZ, unless you are Hispanic, using ‘amigo’ is cultural misappropriation and condescending.

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  27. Yet, it’s sad see this bit of history go. I’ve walked by it for years expecting Boo Radley to pop out of the bushes. The tax bills show it had been in the same family for a long time and it’s too bad that someone didn’t think it a good idea to keep it a family home. I confess I would have found that idea more pleasing.

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  28. “As a longtime resident of the Fulton Market district I’m a bit nostalgic to see all those “working” buildings being turned into condos, bars and restaurants.”

    You’re proving my point jp3chicago because those warehouses in the Fulton Market District aren’t being torn down. They are being converted. There is a difference. Printers Row buildings weren’t torn down either. They were turned into other uses.

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  29. “At some point, it’s not a matter of preserving it, it’s matter of rebuilding it – everything. Is this really worth rebuilding?”

    Are ANY of the buildings in the Gold Coast worth preserving? Quite a few were built just 10 years after this cottage. They have all been left in disrepair at some point. That building on Dearborn that was landmarked 3 years ago was fenced in and in disrepair when it was landmarked.

    Heck- go down to Pullman. Tons of those rowhouses were dumps. But they are landmarked. Can’t be torn down. Many have been restored by thoughtful owners.

    If everyone just let their historic house go into disrepair when it became “not worth it” to rebuild it- that would be an easy way to get around the landmarked status, wouldn’t it?

    Obviously, this house isn’t landmarked. And maybe it won’t be and it will be allowed to be torn down. But it is the last remaining home of this age in that neighborhood. It has a long history surrounding the greatest event this city has ever known. I don’t know who built it or why in that location. But if the landmark commission actually meets about it and issues a report, we’ll find out.

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  30. where is streeter’s shack? that’s old AND historically significant.

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  31. It is not getting landmarked.

    And ironically my example did not prove your point at all. Some of those buildings can be repurposed into other spaces. But not all of the Fulton Market buildings were determined to be no touch status. Quite a few are being torn down and repurposed. That was mainly due to the existing buildings not being worth saving.

    This cottage while cute and nostolgic is not going to last.

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  32. “This cottage while cute and nostolgic is not going to last.”

    It will go through the commission and we shall see.

    It is the last remaining workers cottage in all of the downtown neighborhood. It is also the oldest structure in this entire neighborhood. It has historical significance, for sure. I’m not sure who designed it. The commission could easily find that it’s the last example of the architecture that sprung up immediately following the Great Fire and therefore it should be preserved.

    The commission has landmarked ALL of the “original” homes that were built in this neighborhood in 1882 (so ten years later). Those are considered to be the “original” Gold Coast homes and therefore had architecture and historical value. If those were designated because they were “first”, then a good argument could be made that this cottage should also be landmarked.

    As I’ve said- when you look at the history of the neighborhood- the rest of the neighborhood was built for rich people. Just 10 years later they were building huge mansions on the neighboring streets. How did this little cottage survive???

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  33. Also- there is no indication that this house couldn’t be preserved. They preserved that Victorian on Dearborn which was also in bad shape.

    Landmark status just means the outside has to be preserved. They can replace the interior. They do this often in Pullman.

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  34. Sabrina, please post on under-contract 2951 W Wilson property, which seems to be an intact 1920s bungalow in excellent original condition. When I saw this house, my 1st thought was that Chicago Historical Society/Museum should purchase this property for use as a house-museum. Chicago has so few 100-year old houses remaining that can illustrate how Chicagoans once lived.

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  35. “Sabrina, please post on under-contract 2951 W Wilson property, which seems to be an intact 1920s bungalow in excellent original condition.”

    It was built in 1914. For Chicago- that’s not old.

    I don’t usually post on properties that are already under contract. Sorry.

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  36. looks like its going to get demo’d

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20161004/gold-coast/140-year-old-gold-coast-cottage-set-face-wrecking-ball

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