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This home was a hub for Lakeview’s Swedish enclave in the 1900s

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Built in 1871, the Netterstrom House hopes for landmark status

Netterström House
Photos courtesy of the City of Chicago

An unusual Italianate and Queen Anne-style home, constructed in Lakeview before the neighborhood was officially part of Chicago, is close to getting landmark status.

Built in 1871, the Charles M. Netterstrom House represents a rare variation between two common architectural styles, according to landmark proposals submitted to the city. The home was built a year after the Great Chicago Fire by Netterstrom, who was a Swedish immigrant that would go on to be a prominent businessman, builder, county commissioner and state senator.

The final landmark proposal for 833 W. Aldine Avenue was introduced into the city council meeting on Wednesday. The final step in the process is getting approval from council members for the designation.

The home has been well-maintained and preservationists say its one of the only remaining examples of early architecture in Lakeview before the neighborhood was annexed into the city.

The house sits on an unusual triangular lot and has a distinct roofline as a result of the additions Netterstrom made throughout the 1890s. A corner tower, two frame bays and a south section were added to the original L-shaped footprint.

The building materials and structure of the house, especially on its north and west gable walls, showcase the Italianate style. So do the home’s common brick, cast stone and windows with subtle arched window hoods and keystones. The Queen Anne elements were added later—like the pressed metal cornice and pediments on the house.

The main Swedish settlement in the city first existed on Chicago Avenue between Larrabee Street and the river. Netterstrom was one of the early Swedes to move out of that enclave and into the town of Lakeview. Other immigrants followed, making that area one of the largest Swedish-American cultural hubs. Andersonville, which is known today for its Swedish culture, didn’t pick up until the 1910s.

Down the block from the residence, other Swedish communities established themselves as well. There were socials clubs such as the Independent Order of Vikings and the Order of Good Templers, plus restaurants, churches and concert halls.

In 1907 Netterstrom moved out of his house, but he rented the space Swedish organizations. The Harmony Singing Club hosted swanky dinner clubs and concerts with famous Swedish singers in the space. The Swedish Chess Society also played its weekly tournament here and the Swedish Old Settlers Society had their reunions at the house.

Eventually things got little quieter when Netterstrom sold the house to a dairy company manager in 1945. After that an art dealer bought the family home in 1994.

The next city council meeting where members will vote on the designation will take place on Wednesday, March 28. Also up for landmark status is the Daniel O. Hill House which until recently was the Serbian American Museum.