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A landmark designation halts the demolition of a historic home in Edgewater

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The owners aren’t interested in preserving the Perkins-Nordine House.

A view of a three-story brick building with steep gables and a chimney. There are trees and landscaping around the building Photo courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development

Over in Edgewater a rare, large-scale Arts and Crafts home was saved from a demolition when the Planning and Development Department approved a preliminary landmark status.

The home in question: The Perkins-Nordine House. A 1903 brick mansion completed by Pond & Pond—one of the last remaining from the time period in the neighborhood.

It’s located on a double wide, corner lot at 6106 N. Kenmore Avenue. Those who are familiar with the home know it as the residence of the poet Ken Nordine, who lived and worked there from 1951 until his death in 2019.

The architecture firm Pond & Pond were mostly known for projects related to social services. They designed settlement houses like the Jane Addam’s Hull-House and Northwestern University Settlement House. The designers were well-known for their craftsmanship and Arts & Crafts style—the Perkins-Nordine House is one of the few remaining examples of this.

The Nordine family still owns the property and applied for a demolition permit in December. The building is catalogued in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey where its rated as architecturally significant, so the demolition permit triggered an automatic review by city officials.

That process led to an evaluation by Landmarks Commissions on Thursday where it was ultimately decided that demolishing the property would be a significant loss to the neighborhood’s character. The house met five criteria for a landmark designation, according to Block Club, although it’s only required that a property meets two.

The process which triggers an automatic review by the city ensures that historic buildings aren’t thoughtlessly demolished. However, it relies on the historic survey, which was completed in 1995 and that only documents around 17,000 buildings. It is by no means comprehensive and leaves out Postmodern architecture which wasn’t old enough to be included back then.

As for the Perkins-Nordine House, this is just the first step towards a city landmark designation—there will need to be a public hearing, a final recommendation, and City Council approval.