The little blue house on the corner of Armitage Avenue and Howe Street in Lincoln Park has been demolished. Standing at a petite 600 square feet, the home was built in 1886 and was certainly much smaller than its neighbors. The home stood out for its size, and despite the changes Lincoln Park has experienced in the last few decades, it continued to hang on and seemed like one that was going to continue hanging on despite all of the development activity happening in the area. Post-Chicago Fire worker cottages are something like an endangered species on the North Side these days. Just last week, broker and blogger Eric Rojas wrote an optimistic post on his blog about the little house that could - but despite its staying power, there were plans already in the works to demolish the structure. Teardowns are quite common on the North Side, and this little home is one more representation of an endearing piece of history that will soon be replaced with something bigger and newer. A week ago, we explored the phenomenon, and found that well preserved historic homes are commonly torn down throughout the city - particularly in Lakeview, West Town and North Center.
Urban planner, blogger and data geek Steven Vance of Streetsblog Chicago and Chicago Cityscape suspects that there have been 1,700 homes torn down in Chicago since 2006. Basically, Vance looked for demolition permits and new construction permits that were issued for the same address within 60 days, thus suspecting that the property at that particular location would be torn down. More recently, designer Della Hansmann of local architecture and design outfit Moss Design also touched on the topic of teardowns, and added that teardowns contribute drastically to landfill waste.
Does Chicago have an issue with teardowns? That's a very subjective question. However, it's certainly safe to say that some neighborhoods are more prone to teardown activity than others. For builders and homeowners, it usually makes sense to demolish a derelict old building that would cost more to rehab than its worth, but in the case of the little blue house - a post Chicago Fire worker cottage - there's no way around the notion that a tiny piece of Chicago history has been reduced to rubble.
·Lincoln Park's little blue house has vanished [Tribune]
·Lincoln Park's curious blue cottage meets its maker, torn down yesterday [Chi Real Estate Local]
·Still hanging on! Lincoln Park's curious cottage on Armitage yet to be developed [Chi Real Estate Local]
·Lakeview, West Town and North Center Lead City for Teardowns [Curbed Chicago]