Very informative link from the Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society's website:
I am going to divert your attention from the fascinating world of residential real estate (nerd attribute #1) and head up...way up.
Back to the point - if you are still reading this I haven't lost you yet so you probably are nerdy enough to know that the GPS you have in your phone or car works because there is a circle of satellites orbiting earth. (nerd attribute #5) What if I told you that idea is not so new?
Here is a B-29 being used for non-military needs. In this case the Westinghouse company along with the Stratovision Company used these aircrafts as tv antennas!
Back in the day you didn't just turn on the tv and get Howdy Doody by magic, although it certainly felt like it I bet. If you lived in rural America your tv set received that signal because a series of B-29's were flying across the country with giant antennas hanging down from them. (See the illustration on the side of the plane?) They were the precursors to today's ring of satellites. How flippin' cool is that??? (nerd attribute #6)
From Wikipedia (but go to the library and find a book about this): "Stratovision was an airborne television transmission relay system from aircraft flying at high altitudes. In 1945 the Glenn L. Martin Co. and Westinghouse Electric Corporation advocated television coverage of small towns and rural areas as well as the large metropolitan centers by fourteen aircraft that would provide coverage for approximately 78% of the people in the United States This system has been used for domestic broadcasting in the United States, and used by the U.S. military in Vietnam and other countries."
The Chicago Tribune put together a really cool walking tour of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Click on the photo above and enjoy the walk!
A friend of mine just came back from Switzerland and showed me this currency. My first thought when I saw it was, "Oh, there's Le Corbusier" and a second later it was "That's not possible; he's an architect."
Countries don't put architects on currency.
Turns out Switzerland indeed does. That really is Le Corbusier on their 10 Franc note. How cool is that?? If Switzerland does that then I think we need to see if we can get the U.S. Mint to make a Frank Lloyd Wright $1 bill, a Louis Sullivan $5 bill, a Louis Kahn $10 bill and a $20 Daniel Burnham bill. I think that would be an amazing thing to see.
Of course the $1 bill will look really good but probably leak at some point. The $5 bill would be the most ornate but end up alone and lonely. The $10 bill will be sleak and modern and the $20 bill would propose that all currency be laid out in your wallet in an organized, radiating pattern with spaces reserved for no money at all so the other things in your wallet can have a nice place to relax.
Who can sell your home better? The one who buys an ad in a local little paper or the one who has offices in over 43 countries?
You may have read in another post how part of the east end of the pier was used as a temporary military prison for draft dodgers. The other tower at that end of the pier was also enlisted for military use - as a carrier-pigeon station.
When it came to war production, Chicago, like many urban centers, stepped up to the task at hand. Did you know that more than 50 area companies manufactured parts for the B-29 bomber? Did you know that the Chicago Roller Skate Company converted their plant from making skates to the manufacturing of nose sections for those bombers? Local jukebox manufacturer, Rock-Ola, switched over to rifle production. Navy Pier was enlisted to train troops for aircraft carrier duty as well as other military duties. Many a young pilot learned their take-offs and landings on Lake Michigan on two ships converted/rigged to act as aircraft carriers. One of those pilots happened to be a young George H W Bush.
True or false:
In July 1918 at #WrigleyField (then #Cubs Park) during a double header against Boston, Justice Department agents sealed off the park and did a sweep of all draft-aged men in there looking at their military status. All dodgers were then sent to a military detention center in one of the two towers at the east end of #NavyPier
Weird but true
You know when you have out-of-town guests who suggest going to Navy Pier you get that sort of "errr....well...." kind of feeling?
(Well, at least I do.)
But who am I to judge? I just finished reading a book on the history of Navy Pier and it was excellent! Let me share some tidbits:
To promote the pier as a social center, the city held a Pageant of Progress there in 1921. It was a big hoopalah, let me tell you! Diving competitions, fashion show, fireworks, international typewriter contests (I kid you not) plus so much more.
One of my favorites would have been the Aeroplanes & Pigeon Race. Considering those were propeller planes, this could not have turned out well for the pigeons.
Besides the slicing and dicing of pigeons, my next most favorite moment would have been the crowning of Chicago's Queen, young Miss Evelyn Slader. Evelyn is a Chicago legend by now because as you know, she was already crowned earlier that year as Queen of the Stockyards District (again, I kid you not.)
Magazine Ad vs. The World's Eyes
You want to sell your home.
List it with a local boutique firm known for local magazine ads...only to be seen while the reader flips through the publication until the dentist calls them in for their cleaning?
Doesn't make sense to me.
List it with the real estate firm with more offices around the globe than anyone else? Bonus - that same firm has the most internet traffic on their websites.
That makes sense to me.
Coldwell Banker will sell your home.
The local fancy shmancy real estate firm may be great at putting ads in magazines...that people see until the nurse calls them in for their doctor appointment.
Does that really make sense?
Why not list your home with the world's largest real estate firm that happens to have the real estate websites with exponentially more traffic than any other?
That makes sense to me.
Your buyer may be from a few blocks away or they may be from thousands of miles away. Coldwell Banker is worldwide and will show your home where the buyers are looking - online all over the world.
Ok, Wilmette history nerds - I know you know more than I do. Can you please take a look at these photos and tell me what's what, what was where, what's changed, etc? I'd love to hear your stories of these buildings. Thanks!
Tell me about your personal recollections or experiences at these places. I'd love to learn from you. Thank you very much.
The Chicago River - If you grew up here or lived here more than 10 minutes you know the story: We reversed our river. Yada yada yada.
If you live on the north side or in Evanston, Skokie & Wilmette you know we have a branch of the river that basically runs north along McCormick Blvd and eventually reaches the lake right next to the Bahai Temple.
Do you think this branch of the river was naturally there from back in the day? That would make a lot of sense right? Well, guess what - this section was man-made and areas of residential development was removed to make way for the branch now dubbed the North Shore Channel. Here's an early map of Wilmette & Evanston showing you how many homes needed to be removed to make way for the channel:
Say one day you are at the downtown Wilmette Chase drive-up ATM's. Look to your right and you'll see two buildings you see all the time....and never really think about.
Let's first talk about that one on the right. This three story building is an old Illinois Bell building I believe that was designed to hold the "new" telephone equipment making calls automatic rather than requiring an operator. I know you know more than I do about this so please comment and let me learn from you.
Photo of page in the 1955 book, "Wilmette and the Suburban Whirl" by Herbert B. Mulford.
Now, let's look at that second building, the one just to the west of the phone building:
So here's the deal - I honestly do not know the story of this one. I see the sailboat up on the roof over the front door. There are fish scenes in the building's decoration. I am guessing this is a pumping station to get the lake water further west in the village but this is a total guess. Again, you know more than I do so please comment so I can learn from you. Thanks!
Comment and let me know about your memories or experiences here. I'd love to learn from you. Thank you very much.
You still with me & awake? Cool! I promise this is the last real estate history post.
Did you grow up in Skokie? Remember this little dude? I barely remember anything that happened to me yesterday but when I saw this ad from 1966, I totally remember this real estate firm. How about you?
Who remembers when house-hunting meant sitting with your realtor at their office flipping through listing books? Who remembers what came between that and our MLS database of today? Here it is:
Love it!! You all know that my fellow realtors and I go to work each day wearing our lace gloves.
p.s. Guess what firm today is in this former space of Kahn Realty?
Hemphill Home. We see that again and again in descriptions in North Shore home listings.
For newer agents or residents to the area, here is what everyone is talking about:
If you're not asleep already after reading that headline, you must be a realtor. Who else would find this interesting?
Remember in your first licensing class the teacher taught you about The Quinlan Tyson Act? You'd think that it was named after the last names of the senators or whomever came up with the idea. Nope - it was named after a very local well-known real estate firm. Here you see Quinlan and Tyson, Inc's ads from 1966. Many of these buildings are still occupied today by real estate firms.
Isn't that interesting? I think so but then again...I'm a realtor.
If you ask my husband what I am like, he would tell you I love puzzles and I am somewhat stubborn. (Ok, he might not have used the word "somewhat.") Anyway, I have been thinking more about the connection of Buffalo Grove and Levittown.
In Chicago we think of Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan when we think architectural history. As a kid of the suburbs with a degree in Architectural History, why do we have to always look at this trinity of architects and always think about their contributions to the Loop, Oak Park, etc? Someone had to have designed places like Skokie, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, etc.
Let's take a look at the history of Chicago's Buffalo Grove. The village was settled in the 1840's but saw its greatest population boom immediately after its incorporation in 1958. The population tripled between 1960 and 1966. Dundee was the first state concrete road in northern Illinois opening automobile access.
Below is Buffalo Grove in 1968. The Levitt& Son's development at the top of the photo is the Strathmore Subdivision, home today to Checker Dr, Twisted Oak, Arbor Gate, Burnt Ember and other streets. Just below that is the village's golf course that runs on the north side of Lake Cook Road. Just below that is the Levitt & Son's development that today is home to Whitehall, Plum Grove Circle, Weidner & other streets.
Here's the same today:
Now, back to being stubborn & liking puzzles. I wanted to see what a house in that 1968 picture would look like today. Look at the NE corner of Timber Hill & Country in 1968:
Pretty much Pleasantville right? No trees, houses still being built up the block. Well, here is that exact same house today:
I love figuring out this sort of stuff! What did things look like originally? How did these suburbs that we all roll our eyes at get to be the way they are? It's all pretty cool to learn about & I welcome your memories and comments. Thanks!
Levitt built a great deal of Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Schaumburg and other Chicago suburbs. Pretty cool!
I know we all love looking at that amazing piece of suburban history - the development of the Levittowns. Everyone in the photos look like they just fell out of an episode of Donna Reed or the film Edward Scissorhands.
Did you know there is a Chicago-area connection to Levittown?
(Ok, I know you all know probably a zillion connections but the one I am looking for has to do with a Lake County community.)
This picture above is not an east coast Levittown. It is a very early Buffalo Grove. Yes, the Levitt Company built large pieces of Buffalo Grove. Does anyone have their home's original plans or photos of Levitt logos on any parts of their homes? Post them because I'd love to see them. Thanks!
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.