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Apartment Magic: Inside the Brewster & Park Castle Buildings

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The mighty Brewster Apartments apes two buildings stitched together by catwalks. It's one stone-clad behemoth at street level, but the innovative central atrium houses a towering iron staircase and catwalks—structure and decoration to showcase affluence and engineering prowess. To further enliven the space, each unit (now condo) has exterior windows (w/ windowsills) to the atrium and a heavy front door. Park benches and potted plants adorn the ground floor courtyard, which also boasts an antique cage elevator, an old mailbox wall unit, and many handsome stone and mosaic details. Designed by Enoch Hill Tumock and completed in 1893, the Brewster was originally called the Lincoln Park Palace and achieved renown as the one-time residence of Governor John Peter Altgeld (a progressive remembered for the pardoning of three convicted Haymarket protesters) and Charlie Chaplin (no introduction needed). Open House Chicago had no units on display and the second floor was as far as we were permitted to travel.

On July 31, the Brewster's historic water tower crashed into the alley, nearly killing a couple people. On July 31, 1895, a construction supervisor fell through the roof skylight and to his death in the interior courtyard. Cursed? Depends on your tolerance for coincidence. As for the living spaces, get an idea of what lies within by checking out a recently-sold one-bed.

A few miles further north, in a more tranquil setting, is the crenelated and magisterial Park Castle Apartments. Built in 1925 by architect Jens J. Jensen—no relation to the famed landscape architect by the same name—the Park Castle complex features one multi-pronged courtyard building with rambunctious gardens and slate footpaths facing historic Indian Boundary Park. In fact, a low chain link fence is all that separates park from private landscape. It doesn't seem like anyone would mind. Both grounds are well manicured, and the intricately-roofed yellow brick structure with little blue awnings is kept at its best. Bucolic as all this is, the real attraction here is the antique pool house— a discrete entry from the courtyard leads to the mosaic masterpiece with stone grotto. The mosaic work blankets the walls, floors, and the pool's curvaceous body. Every detail is original to the 1925 construction, except for periodic replacement of the cloth canopy. Interested? It's your lucky day: a 1,500-square-foot 3/2 condo is newly listed for $249K.

·Awesome One-Bed in Historic Brewster Building Asks $249K [Curbed Chicago]
·Brewster Apartments [OHC]
·3/2 Park Castle Condo w/ Shared Mosaic Pool Asks $249K [Curbed Chicago]
·Park Castle Apartments [OHC]