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A look at the Chicago homes and buildings we lost in 2016

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The city saw the erasure of many historic worker cottages last year

The small home was a symbol of Chicago’s ability to rebuild, but it is now history
Eric Allix Rogers/Chicago Patterns

Chicago witnessed another year of record construction and new development throughout the downtown and the areas surrounding the downtown area in 2016, and this year is looking like it’ll likely be another repeat when it comes to growth and new construction. However, during boom periods, there are winners and losers—and not necessarily from a financial standpoint. Many of the new towers currently being constructed are taking over underutilized space such as surface parking lots or older commercial spaces, but when developers build new luxury homes, older, and sometimes even architecturally and historically significant, residences are demolished to may way.

The folks behind the local architecture blog Chicago Patterns has pieced together a comprehensive list of preservation wins and failures in 2016, but it focuses largely on the older homes that were lost last year. While some of the small brick cottages that were demolished may not seem like much, some are historically significant for representing the housing stock that was common for working folks after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. One particularly terrible loss was the demolition of the worker cottage at 1241 N. State Parkway. The one and a half story home was built in 1872 and is was one of the oldest remaining buildings in the Gold Coast neighborhood until it was demolished in November.

1117 W. Wrightwood
Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

No part of the city was sparred by the wrecking ball. Chicago Patterns details historic homes of all shapes and sizes throughout the North and South sides that were either demolished or are pending demolition. They even highlight one Lincoln Park home that could turn from a sad preservation failure to a major victory. A demolition permit has been issued on the red brick Victorian at 1117 W. Wrightwood Avenue to make way for a new construction home of roughly the same shape. It’d be a sad loss to the community and for its historic housing stock, but considering the rate that builders are constructing new mansions—often times occupying multiple city lots—it wouldn’t be too surprising to see it face the wrecking ball.