Goose Island, North Elston house
Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: MamaHolly ()
Date: January 29, 2013 08:29PM

I'm from from out-of-state and attempting a historical a search on a house located at 1520 North Elston in the Goose Island neighborhood. Without access to a building permit record for this circa 1889 (now) apt house, I'm hoping for a miracle that someone might know something about this structure....builder, original owners, especially early photos of the bldg,etc.... other than what is in online real estate sources. It's among a dozen residential houses directly south of Stanley's Fruits & Veggies. Wondering if there were more residences around it in the last century? How did this residential enclave resist demolition? Etc.

I have the Comission of Chicago Landmarks info on how to do a proper search, but taking a shortcut by asking here.

Thanks in advance for any help, info, direction.

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: January 29, 2013 11:52PM

Hi Holly,
You might get some search direction with the online version of the 1929 Polks Directory. Of course, that's dated forty years after the building was constructed, but it would at least indicate who lived there, how the building was used, and the ethnicity of the neigborhood in that year. I find that Google Books is sometimes helpful, as well, either searching by name or address; photos usually only turn up by luck, especially if the building wasn't famous/infamous.

My father and his family lived one block east, at 1520 Throop, in the early '50s - there are still a couple of remaining houses on that block, too. I can ask them for details about the area at the time, but I do know that the area was far more industrial than it is now, and they probably wound up there because it was cheap.

I'd guess they were never demolished because nobody gave them much thought to begin with.

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: MamaHolly ()
Date: January 30, 2013 12:51AM

Thanks for the Polks Directory and Google Books tip!

I would deeply appreciate any details about the neighborhood your family can remember. Yes, the rents there, even now, are cheaper than in surrounding neighborhoods. It's such an odd little neighborhood and most of the houses/bldgs are quite old. Whoever has lived there, has always lived just north of a lot of industry, especially in the past.

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: shekaago ()
Date: January 31, 2013 07:40PM

Don't know if this will help or not....

I was able to find, from the Sanborn Fire Map (Vol. 5 - 1914), that the 1500 block of N. Elston was mostly residential at that time (there was, however, a bake shop located at 1538 N. Elston).

Before the street numbers had changed circa 1909, 1520 N. Elston was 459 Elston. I found one Tribune article which was dated August 15, 1891 which mentions a Patrick Benson living at that address.

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: shekaago ()
Date: January 31, 2013 07:52PM

Below are the links to the items I had mentioned in my previous post.

[url=]See... "Fell Into the Water While Asleep"[/url]

[url=]Sanborn Fire Map - 1914[/url]

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Posted by: querencia ()
Date: February 02, 2013 04:23AM

Google Earth shows trees in the way of 1520 North Elston so it's hard to see, but as I understand you, you are talking about an existing structure? There's a book that might be helpful to you, House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home. I checked just now and it's available used on amazon. And if you do come to Chicago on a research trip, two possibilities are 1) The Newberry Library ---card catalog for older materials, computer for newer stuff, and the gift shop for stocking books on how to do specific research, like on a house. 2) Chicago History Museum, which has a research library with city directories and so on. Otherwise, I checked the index of all of my Chicago books---history of city, old homes, streets etc---and what's interesting is that there is basically nothing on Elston Avenue. You've chosen an interesting project---good luck.

Re: Goose Island, North Elston house
Date: September 27, 2013 12:10AM

[b]My dad lived on Goose Island proper. There were some houses there but I think they are all gone now.[/b]

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