Hedges and old fences


Questions and Answers (Q&A) Forgotten Chicago Forum
Explore Forgotten Chicago
Have a question about a specific element in Chicago's history? Ask Away! 
Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 04, 2013 02:09PM

Pre civil War Chicagoland is disapearing every year. Old barns, farm houses, pioneer roads, even family names are going fast. What these farmers planted sometimes lasts longer than what they built...case in point. I've been searching for decades to find info on the Periam Orchard, Cook County's first (128th and Michigan Avenue 1838-1860) and found a reference to the name Periam in a farmers periodical editted by our own Mr. Kennicott (of Chicago Acadamy of Science fame)wherein he comes down south to relax and chat with Jonathan Periam the family's youngest son who was running the farm after his Dad and older brother died..on the way back to the Kensington IC station (2 miles north of the farm/orchard) Kennicot talks to Periam's neighbor Mr. Buhl and tells him he ought to trim his hedges. These hedges were 3 years old and too wild for Mr. K But he does say that the hedge is A MILE LONG, so I look for it along Michigan Aveue near the Buhl House (which was torn down 2 years ago) but don't see anything, then I remember that this part of Michigan Ave was "straightened" in the 1860's so I go looking east of the current street and there along the alley are a buch of hedges growing intertwined with an ancient fence! Score!Any old hedges or fences in your part of town?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 04, 2013 02:14PM

Osage Orange was one of several bushes used as a fence substitute in pre civil War times. They are prevelent still in Indiana, I haven't seen any in Illinois though...

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: b.a.hoarder ()
Date: December 04, 2013 05:47PM

There are still plenty of Osage Orange rows in the Southland Paul, in particular there is a row at Silver Lake Golf Course along 151st. St. and another on 82nd. Ave. near the entrance. In the south suburbs they may be a little hard to find but for sure you will find some out in the farms of the area. We had friends with a farm in Momence and were told to take some of the fruit home and put it in the basement to control spiders. Apparently the fragrance is death to small critters, but I'm not sure if it worked or not. Also, some call the fruit "horse apples".

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Deejo ()
Date: December 05, 2013 05:06AM

Paul - That is fascinating about the hedges still being there! Where was the Buhl house located? Was it in disrepair when it was torn down? And where exactly did you find the hedges? I would love to check them out myself.

Incidently, looking at that area on Google maps, it seems to have some really quirky details and you can see how the ancient and the modern can mix/coexist down there. One interesting feature I found is that within the square block between 123rd and 124th, between Indiana and Michigan, there appears to be an entire area undeveloped IN THE MIDDLE of the square block, with houses on all sides. In other words, they built houses all around the edges of the block, and cut alleys through, but just didn't bother with the middle square - it appears to be woods. I don't know of any other wooded areas in the city that are both (a) completely surrounded by residential development; but (b) are not parks or forest preserves.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: December 07, 2013 12:37PM

According to the city's plat maps, that middle square is subdivided into house lots fronting on the (never built) Edbrooke Avenue. My attempts with the clumsy Cook County Assessor's website didn't turn up any ownership information, though.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: December 07, 2013 09:54PM

Paul Petraitis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Pre civil War Chicagoland is disapearing every
> year. Old barns, farm houses, pioneer roads, even
> family names are going fast. What these farmers
> planted sometimes lasts longer than what they
> built...case in point. I've been searching for
> decades to find info on the Periam Orchard, Cook
> County's first (128th and Michigan Avenue
> 1838-1860) and found a reference to the name
> Periam in a farmers periodical editted by our own
> Mr. Kennicott (of Chicago Acadamy of Science
> fame)wherein he comes down south to relax and chat
> with Jonathan Periam the family's youngest son who
> was running the farm after his Dad and older
> brother died..on the way back to the Kensington IC
> station (2 miles north of the farm/orchard)
> Kennicot talks to Periam's neighbor Mr. Buhl and
> tells him he ought to trim his hedges. These
> hedges were 3 years old and too wild for Mr. K But
> he does say that the hedge is A MILE LONG, so I
> look for it along Michigan Aveue near the Buhl
> House (which was torn down 2 years ago) but don't
> see anything, then I remember that this part of
> Michigan Ave was "straightened" in the 1860's so I
> go looking east of the current street and there
> along the alley are a buch of hedges growing
> intertwined with an ancient fence! Score!Any old
> hedges or fences in your part of town?

Paul,
You may be interested in reading several comments regarding Jonathan Periam in the book Chicago Gardens: The Early History by Cathy Jean Maloney


http://books.google.com/books?id=lR86c3Ssk7wC&printsec=frontcover&dq=chicago+gardens&hl=en&sa=X&ei=lryjUpHJGLGayQGuv4DYBw&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=periam&f=false

Search: Jonathan Periam

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: PKDickman ()
Date: December 08, 2013 12:39PM

Mr Downtown Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> According to the city's plat maps, that middle
> square is subdivided into house lots fronting on
> the (never built) Edbrooke Avenue. My attempts
> with the clumsy Cook County Assessor's website
> didn't turn up any ownership information, though.

I took a look The east side of Edbrooke is wholly owned by the city. Granted to then in 2007.

The west side is a little more confusing. The 4 north west parcels are in private ownership. The remaining parcels seem to belong to the city, but the county recorder doesn't show any transfer to them.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Deejo ()
Date: December 08, 2013 03:01PM

Very interesting re: the Edbrooke ownership situation. There appear to be other blocks in the area with other "islands" of undeveloped land in the middle of otherwise developed blocks too. It seems as if the City took a haphazard approach to approving devleopment in that area.

Does anyone else know the location of the Buhl farm/hedges that Paul mentions at the beginning of this thread?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: December 09, 2013 12:05PM

To clarify: the "City" had nothing to do with how the area developed, other than accepting and approving the plats as they were recorded. Land speculation was a huge industry in Chicago through the mid-20th century, and subdivision of farmland into house lots often happened many decades before any houses were actually built. This area was platted in the 1920s, but the houses date from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Deejo ()
Date: December 10, 2013 12:47AM

Mr. Downtown - Great illustration of the development approach that I referred to.

Incidentally, some of the houses date from the 1950's to the 1970's, but others appear to be from the 1920's or 1930's (e.g. bungalow just west of Edbrooke ROW on 124th) and still others appear to be frame houses from even earlier).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2013 12:50AM by Deejo.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 14, 2013 02:13PM

Welcome to my neighborhood! The 123/124/Michigan Ave/Indiana block has been a conundrum for me since I first started sorting out my neighborhood's early history. In the 1830's when the first pioneers began homesteading (just as the US Land Office on Lake St was opening-theSpring 1835)the area around 123rd and Michigan was William Andrew's turf. The brother of david Andrews, these two Pennsylvania brothers arrived in Cook county ready to buy up land. According to the family David worked "downtown" at a surveyors'engineer's office while William (possibly the older of the two?) lived in a log cabin. After thinking about this for 40 years (yeah I know)I believe his cabin was SE of the current intersection of 123rd and Michigan for two reasons, one that Michigan Avenue was moved westward to its present location in the 1860's (see the various Flower real setate maps 1860-62) so that the crooked alley just east of the present Michigan Ave. was its original route, and two a mighty windbreak running for about half a block directly E/W from that little alley towrds the edge of "the hill" east of the crooked alley. At 124th there are several old alleys, roads that were probably seasonal variants of what we now call Michigan Avenue. In the 1830's it was called either The Thorton Road or the Michigan city Road. North of the windbreak east of the crooked alley there's been a "community garden" for decades. Is this the site ofWilliam Andrews' garden?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 14, 2013 04:35PM

Buhl's house @ 11950 Michigan was there in 1849 when the Roseland Hollanders arrived in July 1849 so he put some up in his big barn (where? maybe east of the house?)apparently the Fishers owned it by 1858 when they homeschooled the neighborhoods English speaking kids (the Hollanders learned in their native tongue at the local church under the tutelage of "Meester" Kuyperwho lived @ 103rd and Michigan) The little house that we assume was the Buhl/Fisher's stood until I think 2011. It was abandonned with the front door opened but I did not have the nerve to go in. Sigh.For those who might not know the "Roseland Hollanders" (who called their settlement High Prairie an altogether evocative name if you ask me!) bought a parcel of land 1'4 mile wide that stretched for a mile along the ridge between 111th and 103rd st. Maybe one little house exists from that early settlement (mislabeled "the German settlement" on Ress' 1851 map of Cook County) there were three of 'em in 2008 but the Building Dept's aggressive campaign of tearing down old abandonned houses saw to it that their days were numbered. But practically speaking what do you do with an abandonned 150 year old frame house in the ghetto? Buy it and haul it to another (suburban?) location? Start a petting zoo of pre civil War homes?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 14, 2013 04:40PM

The remains of the hedges are along the west side of the alley on both sides of 120th east of Michigan Avenue. e mail me at [email protected] and we called those osage oranges "brains" cause they looked like "Mars Attacks"!!

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Date: December 14, 2013 05:09PM

[b]I was looking at google street view and don't know what kind of fences you are talking about. Can you give me an address?[/b]

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 15, 2013 01:13PM

It's the alley behind an empty lot at the NE corner of 120th and Michigan, it would be 11951 Michigan, or the alley behind 12001 Michigan.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: December 15, 2013 01:21PM

If you check the Cook County Assessor's site with the Buhl house address, there's a photo of it (abandoned and boarded up) from 2007.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Date: December 15, 2013 06:56PM

Paul Petraitis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Pre civil War Chicagoland is disapearing every
> year. Old barns, farm houses, pioneer roads, even
> family names are going fast. What these farmers
> planted sometimes lasts longer than what they
> built...case in point. I've been searching for
> decades to find info on the Periam Orchard, Cook
> County's first (128th and Michigan Avenue
> 1838-1860) and found a reference to the name
> Periam in a farmers periodical editted by our own
> Mr. Kennicott (of Chicago Acadamy of Science
> fame)wherein he comes down south to relax and chat
> with Jonathan Periam the family's youngest son who
> was running the farm after his Dad and older
> brother died..on the way back to the Kensington IC
> station (2 miles north of the farm/orchard)
> Kennicot talks to Periam's neighbor Mr. Buhl and
> tells him he ought to trim his hedges. These
> hedges were 3 years old and too wild for Mr. K But
> he does say that the hedge is A MILE LONG, so I
> look for it along Michigan Aveue near the Buhl
> House (which was torn down 2 years ago) but don't
> see anything, then I remember that this part of
> Michigan Ave was "straightened" in the 1860's so I
> go looking east of the current street and there
> along the alley are a buch of hedges growing
> intertwined with an ancient fence! Score!Any old
> hedges or fences in your part of town?


The ancient fence is just a cyclone fence and not that old as I can see. Thanks for the instruction. I have seen hedges like this around in Chicagi old areas.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 15, 2013 07:31PM

No the fence is not from the 1850's the hedges are! Maybe the Buhl's barn was between the house and the hedge? Before the Buhl's had the property it belonged to a Mr. Smith, an englishman who thought he'd raise some sheep on the grassy lands just west of Lake Calumet. He bought some land from David Andrews in 1841 or so (he was the original owne)and bought himself some sheep. But for some reason Andrews neglected to mentio the ah, erm "wolf problem" in the woods east of the Buhl/Fisher house so when Smith failed to build a barn for his flock the local wolves quickly decimated his flock...a huge flock numbering in the hundreds. By 1843 Smith was gone. His house supposedly had a brick fireplace in it that was dissassemmbled and used for something else. Was the Smith house where the Buhl/Fisher house was? Dunno. Maybe further south in the woods.The Andrews Woods, a 10,000 year old forest stood between State and 123rd and State and 119th and Wallace was also known, tellingly as Wolf Ridge, the wolves living in the sandy soil west of the woods near 115th and Sangamon. Andrews and his neighbors killed all the local wolves in the 1860s. Somewhere there's a pit probably along Wallace St (the private road through the Andrews vast land holdings) in someone's front yard filled with wolf carcasses

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: December 18, 2013 04:27PM

"Start a petting zoo of pre civil War homes?"

Now that's a grand idea!

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 18, 2013 04:32PM

Why not? The nouses can be had for a song, don't wigh much to move, maybe a Cook County Forest Preserve site? But they're going quickly! Who's got a sponsor in mind?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: davey7 ()
Date: December 19, 2013 04:42PM

Domino's pizza guy? Used to be into FLW and was building that modern subdivision outside Ann Arbor.

Actually, there is plenty of land around Washington Park for a "house zoo". Or we could just sell them off cheap and give loans to rehabbers or something. Lots of ideas which will never work (unfortunately).

Paul Petraitis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why not? The nouses can be had for a song, don't
> wigh much to move, maybe a Cook County Forest
> Preserve site? But they're going quickly! Who's
> got a sponsor in mind?

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Date: December 19, 2013 10:00PM

[b]Can you show me or tell me where pre civil war homes are?[ like an address?/b]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/19/2013 10:03PM by Richard Stachowski.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: December 19, 2013 11:16PM

davey7 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Domino's pizza guy? Used to be into FLW and was
> building that modern subdivision outside Ann
> Arbor.
>
> Actually, there is plenty of land around
> Washington Park for a "house zoo". Or we could
> just sell them off cheap and give loans to
> rehabbers or something. Lots of ideas which will
> never work (unfortunately).
>
> Paul Petraitis Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Why not? The nouses can be had for a song,
> don't
> > wigh much to move, maybe a Cook County Forest
> > Preserve site? But they're going quickly! Who's
> > got a sponsor in mind?

It's unfortunate that he died in 2012, but an idea like this could have been right up Bill Lavicka's alley.
He was working on a plan to renovate the Raber House (57th & Lafayette) and turn the surrounding land into a vineyard.

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Posted by: Paul Petraitis ()
Date: December 20, 2013 11:46AM

In my neck of the woods the oldest houses are along 103rd Place west of Michigan Avenue. 116th street east of Indiana in the Kensington neighborhood, along Vermont Ave west of Racine in Cal Park, and again along Vermont west of Greenwood in Blue Island. The old buildings along canalport may also be of this vintage, also in that old neighborhood around 19th and Jefferson. I always look on back lots...many are covered with "modern" siding and don't look very old, the roofline and the small size of 'em give 'em away as to their age...can't blame the chicago Landmark Commission, they have enough on their hands!

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:

Re: Hedges and old fences
Date: December 20, 2013 11:52PM

[b]I looked up some of the buildings on Canalport and 18th st and foud most were built in the mid to late 1800's. Thanks.[/b]

Options: ReplyQuote

AD:



Home | Columns | Articles | Features | Links | Forum | Mission Statement | Staff | Media & Press | Maps | FAQ | Contact