If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you know that every Chicago home has a history. Or as we like to call it, a home story. One home might come with a richer history due to years of experience while a newly constructed house is just beginning to write its story. Either way, the history of a home is important. It matters to the people who dwell in the house. It matters to the people who might one day purchase the property. Just like the history we were taught in school, we stand to gain from the experiences of others.
A home with a generous story offers the chance to glean new information, gives us the opportunity to understand those who have come before us, and it can help ensure the structural integrity and character of a home remains intact. We list hundreds of properties every year, but one recently came into our lives that got me giddy. That’s because 1829 Superior, or at least the land it is currently on was acquired no later than the 1850s.
The Story of 1829 Superior
Here is the story of 1829 Superior, a historic Chicago home.
In the neighborhood of West Town, along the border of East Village, stands a home with the kind of architectural detail that would make any carpenter, historian, or architectural aficionado swoon. From elegantly crafted, bright colored stained glass windows, to intelligent and refined wood work, a sense of wonder and beauty fills the space.
It arrived at 2:30pm. My excitement was visceral. I delicately opened the slim back box and carefully took out the documents inside. I noticed immediately that much care and consideration had been shown to these artifacts.
The first purchase of sale within the documentation is from 1851 in the amount of $860 – less expensive than my first car. Therefore, Chicago was only 20 years old when the property was purchased. Most importantly, that means Haines H. Magie and John High Jr. were alive (the first procurers of the space) to witness Chicago’s humble beginnings and speedy uprise.
By 1954, more than 30,000 residents were home to Chicago, most of whom were from Eastern European countries. As I flipped through the pages of text, I wondered what was life like at the time? What was the city like? What were the wage conditions? Why did they choose that location? The historical documents didn’t necessarily answer all my questions, but it did provide dates. What appears to be a tiny piece of history inspires a great deal of thought.
1829 Superior is a home that evokes the history of Chicago. Living through the development of the Industrial Corridor, the building of the first skyscraper, the Chicago fires, The Haymarket affair which gave workers rights. That house is story to the vibrant embracing culture that makes Chicago, well, Chicago. That means that every tenant, every owner of this home owns a small piece of that history. These are people that have touched the walls, the banisters. They have sat down in the dining room to eat during the depression when food was scarce. There is power in that history, the power to continue on, to build something greater, to fight for the rights of others, to accept that we will all pass leaving history to tell the story.
Whoever buys 1829 is lucky. They get to ride the wings of this historic Chicago home while writing their own story.