Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown


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Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: kjforsha (---.bcbsa.com)
Date: September 10, 2012 04:56PM

I live at Kenmore and Winona (5057-63 N. Kenmore & 1017-19 W. Winona) in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago and I had been doing some research trying to find some old pictures and the history of my building. My building was built in 1917 and since it's almost 100 years old, I thought it would be easy to find some historical artifacts, but it has not been easy. I wondered why the Kenmore side of the building has balconies, the only old building on the street with them. So then I wondered, what could be worth looking at across the street when it was built?

Then one day, I stumbled on the URL below of intersections that were photographed by IDOT for historical preservation. Then, I found my building, but only on the Winona side, and not Kenmore (taken from Sheridan Road in 1932 looking west):

[collections.carli.illinois.edu]

Here is my building today:

[maps.google.com]



You can zoom on each picture and the details are really cool, such as the horse and buggy in the middle of the street at the alley, the building that stood where the strip mall now resides on the corner with Shan Foods/Subway sandwich shop, the building on the north side on Sheridan that no longer stands, the building across the street from me on the west side of Kenmore that is now townhouses, and the CTA "L" overpass on Winona which still resides the same today:

[collections.carli.illinois.edu]


[collections.carli.illinois.edu]


We all know the 1970's we not too kind to the Uptown neighborhood, but it intrigues me why many buildings around were destroyed, but ours survived.

Does anyone else have any more historical facts or pictures of this historical corridor in Uptown?


Thanks in advance!!



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/2012 02:29PM by kjforsha.

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Re: Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: StrayKitten (66.28.242.---)
Date: September 12, 2012 03:41PM

Very, very cool pictures!!! I unfortunately have nothing to add to your search. I am also trying to find any old pictures or information of my apartment building and the one I lived in before this one in Portage Park. Apartment buildings are hard to research. No one keeps records of who lived in which apartment when, except during census years.

Good luck with your search, and I'd be interested to know what you find out.

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Re: Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: WayOutWardell (63.226.79.---)
Date: September 12, 2012 06:08PM

You might want to try the fantastic online 1928 Polks Directory - it will show you the names of the residents who lived there that year. It might not help determine the original builder, but it's still quite interesting to see.

As far as the balcony question; it looks as though the building is oriented east/west even though it has apartments on the Winona side - so, the Kenmore side was probably considered the 'front' of the building and got the balconies (and maybe bigger apartments). Also, most of the era's apartment buildings weren't really built site-specific, so the balconies were probably just a nice touch that always looked out over something mundane.

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Re: Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: StrayKitten (66.28.242.---)
Date: September 13, 2012 09:42AM

Thanks for the tip on the 1928 Polks Directory. What a fabulous resource!

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Re: Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: kjforsha (---.bcbsa.com)
Date: September 13, 2012 09:56AM

Thank you for the replies! I did review the 1928 Polk's Directory and I did learn a few things... The Chicago street renumbering occurred in 1911, a few years before the building was built so it was easier to find, but the numbering even in 1927 is slightly different than it is today. The building was originally 18 units that were converted into 23 condominiums in 2005. The five additional units came from garden units that were built from what was once a boiler room basement.

The building is oriented east/west and the front of the building is Kenmore. The Kenmore units were and still are the largest. The Winona units are smaller with no balcony, but they do have added balconies in the rear from the 2005 rennovation. The outside of the building has not been altered at all, but the interior of the building is completely new. The building is actually two separate buildings that you can see from the rear since it is a corner building (Kenmore & Winona). The front of the building has a continous facade so it provides a smooth appearance of a single building. Each side of the hallways is a different address today, which is not how it was numbered when it was built, i.e. 5057, 5059, 5061, 5063 (Kenmore) and 1017, 1019 (Winona).

From what I have heard from others in the past is that no one in their right mind would walk south of Foster Avenue on Kenmore, Winona, Winthrop, or Sheridan in the 1980's due to heavy gang activity in the area. I heard that my building sat vacant for a period of time and was boarded up, to the point it might have been serving as a crack house. According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the City of Chicago owned the building in 1987, it was financed several times in some sort of a trust and sold to the previous owner (Bernd Kalski) in 1987 who ran it as an apartment building, then sold it to the developer in 2004 for rennovation. Mr. Kalski did spend some serious money to install the huge iron gate that surrounds the entire front of the building. I am not sure if it was for protection from the neighborhood or improvement sake. The building had a laundry list of violations during his ownership, from leaking radiators, lack of heat, malfunctional or inoperaable toilets.

As far as the neighborhood, I have used [www.historicaerials.com] to determine about when the surrounding buildings might have been torn down. The building that once stood at 5060 N. Kenmore (now townhomes) was taken down prior to 1973, since in 1973 the land was a parking lot until about 1993 when the townhomes were built. The building at 5060 N. Sheridan (drugs store building from pictures) must have been taken down around 1983 as well as the building across from it on the north west corner of Sheridan. Two 4+1's were built on Sheridan Road in the 1960's and a strip mall was built at 5060 N. Sheridan in the early 1990's.

This area must have been a very turbulent for awhile and might explain the tearing down of so many buildings. It has always intrigued me how this area went from the booming 1920's of the Aragon, Uptown Theatre, Rivera, Edgewater Beach Hotel, the Dunes and the Tides hotels at Sheridan/Foster, Tropicana, etc. Even in 2005, it wasn't great since Uptown hosts some of the most transient housing facilities in the City and contains the only two meth clinics on the northside of Chicago. I can report that is all coming back with extreme investment via the Admiral high-rise senior building, Kenmore Apartments rehab in 2009 at 5040 N. Kenmore, the new Dominick's at Foster/Sheridan, and the rehabilitation of so many old buildings, and building new buildings in what were vacant lots.

Definitely great to look back at this history as well as see a lot of the regentrification that is happening today!!!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/14/2012 02:58PM by kjforsha.

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Re: Kenmore & Winona @ Sheridan Corridor in Uptown
Posted by: StrayKitten (66.28.242.---)
Date: September 14, 2012 02:23PM

I remember driving down Kenmore around midnight in the mid-80's with my old boyfriend. Hookers as far as the eye could see. The area had been very turbulent in the 1970s and 1980s (maybe even the 1960s). It's good to see it turning around.

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