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More Early Chicago Buildings Facing Demolition

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Architectural photographers and historians are rushing to document buildings before their destruction

Periods of economic growth combined with the resurgence of many city neighborhoods often spell trouble for older buildings. Developers are building new homes and apartment towers at an incredible pace, but this means that there are many older buildings that are demolished to make way for the new. It’s no secret, thousands of homes have been demolished in the last decade. Neighborhoods like Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Bucktown are areas where home values are quite high, so developers are generally looking to get the biggest return on their investment, and often times that means demolishing any existing buildings on the property in order to build new mansions.

Earlier this week, we were made aware of the pending demolition of an older building on Lake Street in the West Loop. Readers took to the comments section and social media to announce their dissatisfaction with the news. This building is important to many people for different reasons and its demolition represents the destruction of the memories of individuals but also the destruction of the collective memory of a neighborhood. But the building at 1393-1399 W. Lake Street isn’t the only early Chicago building that will be torn down soon. There are others.

Photographer and blogger Gabriel X. Michael highlights a building in Lincoln Park that is slated for demolition. The house was built in 1886 and is very representative of the housing stock in Lincoln Park during the turn of the century. According to listing records, it was put on the market in early June but was pulled just days later. Will we see another mega-mansion in Lincoln Park? It’s a likely scenario.


Urban Remains founder and Chicago history buff Eric Nordstrom is rushing to document other homes that will soon be demolished. The homes that Nordstrom has highlighted are the homes that helped shape Chicago’s identity: a clapboard wood cottage and a masonry building outfitted with ornamental terracotta blocks.


Is there a demolition of a historic building happening on your block? Be sure to take a few photos and send over any details you may have to our tip line (chicago@curbed.com).