Fall 2019 – Extended Online Content
Logan Square's Lost Tunnel – Photos and Links
From the Chicago Tribune
Walkway Leads to Gang Turf, August 8, 1986
Angry Residents Close Down Gang Haven, August 25, 1986
(click for full size)
- Markup of IDOT photo from the original construction of the Kennedy, showing the tunnel exit and railroad bridge over Campbell Ave.
- Markup of current aerial view showing path of Campbell Ave where the railroad bridge was removed. Aerial image - Copyright Google.
How to Research Your House Without Ever Leaving It
Part One of a New Home Research Guide – by Marcy Marzuki
There are two parts to researching the history of your house, and the first can be done without even leaving it. All you need is Internet access and some time to kill.
The Great Renumbering
The first thing you need to do is to determine what your address was before and after the great Chicago address “streamlining” of 1909. Fortunately, the original guidebook to old and new addresses is available online.
Scroll down to find your street and (they are listed alphabetically with north listed first, then south). Then find your current number under the New column (divided between odd and even numbers). This will be the address your house has had since 1909. The old number next to it is what it was prior to 1909. You will need to know both numbers to go forward with your research.
If you can’t find your street address as it exists today, your street may have changed names. Many Logan Square streets — especially north/south streets close to Humboldt/Sacramento Blvd. — changed names in the late 1800s and and early 1900s. Consult the following websites, and see what it was called before and after 1900. Or skip ahead and find the closest major intersection to locate your street.
Sanborn Fire Maps
Next, go to the Chicago Public Library website. To continue, you will need a Chicago Public Library card. Log in with your card number and zip code. (If you don’t have one, go to the big house of books like people used to before Amazon. The Logan Square branch is at 3030 W Fullerton.) Once you are logged in:
Click Browse > Online Resources > A-Z Resources > Illinois Sanborn Maps
Select Illinois and Chicago
Select Vol. 10 (1896)
Select street index (second page)
Find your street and your pre-1909 house number in the street index. Beside it, you’ll see the sheet number. Go to that sheet to find your house. Once there, you‘ll see the original building’s outline, or an empty lot if your house was built after 1896. House numbers are written near the front of the buildings, running along the street.
Sanborn maps are surprisingly accurate. The outline will approximate the building’s original outer walls, including any protrusions such as a bay window. Other information is shown as abbreviations. An “S” marked on a building stands for store; “D” denotes a dwelling. There will be a number near the letter showing how many stories a house was when built, and B is sometimes written to indicate a usable or occupied basement. This Sanborn key will show you what other abbreviations mean.
Once armed with this information, check out a second set of maps to see changes or additions. Select 1905-1951 and Vol. 10 (1921). The content and numbering of the sheets is consistent across all of the Sanborn maps, so you can go directly to the same sheet number as the 1896 map. Note that your address will have changed to the post-1909 address.
You will be able to see any changes or additions to your house over the 25 years that elapsed between maps. Anything built onto your house will be shown. If your house was built as a single story, it might have changed to a 1½ story, meaning people have finished the attic and moved into it. Garages and sheds (or outhouses) tend to come and go. Depending on what was where on the two maps, you now know if your house was built before or after 1896 or 1921.
If you live in a larger house or multifamily building, there is another way to research. Use your address to do an online search for building permits, which will tell you when your house was built, for whom, and who the architect was. Try both the pre-1909 and post-1909 addresses. Note that only a portion of permits are in the online database. To search all of the past permits, you might have to leave the house.
Before you go to that extreme, there is still some online research to do. There is often a story about the people who lived in your building when they were born, died, got married, won a spelling bee, got drafted, made the honor roll, were injured in a car crash or held up a bank. Before the 1970s, newspapers commonly ran the entire addresses of people mentioned, so these stories can be found by searching for your address in their archives.
Go back to the Chicago Public Library website and choose Browse > Online Resources > A-Z Resources > Chicago Tribune Historical Archive
In the search form, enter your address in quotes. Many times the directional was left off an address, so you will want to try every variation. To search 1932 N. California Ave, try variations like “1932 California” “1932 N. California,” “1932 North California,” etc. This will bring up obituaries, and articles about events involving the people who lived in your building. Classified ads are time-consuming to search through, but worth it. Display ads usually come up if a business was run from your property or if you live in a multiunit property that ran large ads seeking renters. In the case of rental ads for a building, they can often give you clues as to when it was built, as it was common to take out ads for new construction occupancy.
Note the names and ages of any person associated with your address to find even more by searching the Tribune archive, ancestry.com or another genealogical database. All of this will help build the history of your house.
You can also search names and business addresses you find on the Google e-books site. There are a lot of old trade journals there with classified ads and letters to the editor and all sorts of things can turn up. One of the residents of my house once held a patent, and Matt Bergstrom used it to discover that his long-gone next-door neighbor was a honeybee expert and advertised his own invention to spin the honey out of honeycombs.
And if the people that lived in your house weren’t all that enterprising or newsworthy, you can still find out who lived there in the late 1920s by using this online criss-cross directory. It’s similar to the 1909 directory – Find your street, then your number, and you’ll see who was living there. If you do not see the index or other display issues, try a different web browser. Note that the directory works best in Firefox.
Coming in Part Two
While you can get pretty far without leaving your house, there is so much more you can do that would not fit it in a single newsletter. In the next installment: getting offline and out the door. How to find your construction date (and other telling documents) at the Recorder of Deeds, and do in-person research at UIC, the Chicago History Museum and other locations.
Connect and Share
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Logan Square Preservation is collecting photos that document this unprecedented time. Send your photo with a name to credit and a caption (if desired) by email.
Street Pub 2016
Logan Square Preservation volunteered to staff the Deschtes Brewery event here in Logan Square
Thanks to Deschutes Brewery!
Bringing the community together with awesome beer.
Logan Square Preservation and the Alliance for the Great Lakes shared over $70,000 raised at this event.
Beautification and Preservation projects by Logan Square Preservation
The former Eleventh Church of Christ Scientist - 2840 W. Logan Boulevard
Restoration of the windows has been completed in April 2019. Thanks to your generous support, LSP exceeded the $12,000 goal which will allow additional needed work.
Designed by landmark architect Leon Stanhope and built in 1916 as the home of the 11th Church of Christ Scientist, the building at 2840 W. Logan Blvd houses the Central Hispanic Seventh Day Adventist Church congregation.
The fish-scale stained glass windows are an integral part of the design. They were in need of restoration, some held together by duct-tape. LSP campaigned to raise the $12,000 necessary to completely restore and back-light the windows so they will be visible on Logan Boulevard at night.