This popular Chicago house style is dying out


While some modern-minded Chicagoans rush to demolish these humble mansions – often to build on two lots side by side the kind of spacious homes that today’s buyers desire – others think razing down historic homes is downright criminal. When you consider this magnificent specimen, embellished with lofty Victorian details, such as gingerbread crows and richly turned brooches, it’s easy to see why buyers and architecture enthusiasts want to preserve as many worker cottages as they do. possible.

One such curator is Eric Nordstrom, owner of architectural salvage store Urban Remains and avid amateur historian. Nordstrom visits cottages slated for demolition to explore them, study their construction, take photos, and collect any artifacts he can. By documenting the homes as they are demolished, he hopes to preserve their legacy. Nordstrom is also the founder of BLDG51, a museum dedicated to archiving the architectural history of the city.

Ronnie Frey, another cabin enthusiast, is a photographer and interior designer who manages the Doorways of Chicago Instagram account. Frey’s images have garnered nearly 20,000 Instagram followers.

Others who advocate for the workers’ cabins have pushed for the remaining homes to be designated as historic sites. More recently, the Claremont Cottages, a group of 19 Queen Anne-style homes in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood, achieved this status in 2019.

15 old houses that are now museums

Ronnie Frey, @doorwaysofchicago


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