Re: North Lawndale
Date: April 30, 2010 03:43AM
These next shots are of a small Chicago landmark district called the "Five Houses on Avers."
I find these gray stone homes to be absolutely fascinating. They are located at 1942, 1950, 1952, 1958, and 2102 S. Avers Ave. on the west side of the street. The developer was a prominent Bohemian named Jan (John) Kralovec who immigrated from Domazlice, Bohemia in 1868. After the Chicago fire Kralovec developed many of the Bohemian areas of the city, including the area around 18th & Ashland in Pilsen. Kralovec was one of the founders of the Atlas Brewing Company on 21st & Blue Island Ave, and also served on Chicago's West Park Board for several years in the 1880s. In 1892-1894 Kralovec had these five homes built when Lawndale was still largely prairie. In all of my research on Czech Chicago, Kralovec's name comes up again and again. He was definitely one of the most well known and influential Bohemians in Chicago during his time. John Kralovec lived in the home he built at 2102 S. Avers until his death in February 1931 at 82 years old. John Kralovec had at least three children that I know of. One was a wealthy Oak Parker named Otto John Kralovec who lived in a mansion at 1001 N. Oak Park Ave., and another was Emil Kralovec who amazingly still resided in the home at 2102 S. Avers upon his death in October 1964. It amazes me that the Kralovec mansion stayed in the family for over 70 years in a neighborhood that changed ethnically over and over. The area went from Bohemian to heavily Jewish to African American in the 70 years the Kralovec's lived in the home, and all the while they stayed loyal to the neighborhood and home that had served them for generations.
Of the five landmarked homes on Avers, the Kralovec home and coach house 2102 S. Avers, which is the most elaborate, has remained in remarkably preserved condition. The others have also been well preserved. 2102 S. Avers currently belongs to Illinois State Representative Art Turner who has his offices across the street on Ogden Ave. Turner is a native of North Lawndale who grew up a block away from his home on Avers.
Five Houses on Avers.
2102 S. Avers, former home of John Kralovec.
1952 & 1958 S. Avers
1950 S. Avers
Non-operational fountain in the front yard of 1950 S. Avers.
Jewish Menorah in the top window of 1950 S. Avers. I find this particularly interesting because of the neighborhood's once large Jewish population.
1942 S. Avers
Neat street scene looking N. on Avers of the el going past the street.