Architectural sketches of South Shore

May 17, 2011

I took a photostroll recently through a section of South Shore.

The neighborhood has a wealth of fine residential and pre-war commercial architecture that goes largely unsung--at least by many of those who aren't from the area. The folks who live there know what they've got, but more on that later.

Let's begin at the top of the post with a two-story retail building--with second story apartments--on 71st Street.It is a handsome brick-and-terra-cotta structure. The rounded first floor store entrance is a welcoming presence on the wide intersection. The Metra Electric travels on the rails in the foreground. 

The home below is in South Shore's Jackson Highlands subsection, where the broad lawns and larger homes resemble the stuff you'd see in Oak Park, Beverly or other largely middle-to-upper middle class areas built before World War II. 

I'm digging that Dutch gambrel roof and the well-cut shrubbery (although depending on your monitor, you might be getting unfortunate moire lines across the brickwork):

 

Look at this Florentine beauty at 70th and Constance, also in the Jackson Highlands. The 84-year-old home boasts a Mediterranean tile roof and some traffic-stopping exterior brickwork.

Louis Richardson, vice president of the Rock Island Railroad, built the house in 1927, but died four years later. His widow, Mahala, died in 1934 at the age of 56:

 

The home is the work of architects Betts, Holcomb & Baron. Holcomb & Baron is a firm that also designed movie theaters.  Looks like the house suffered some interior fire damage. Workers were their either cleaning it or fixing it when I walked by.

Meawhile, gaze (because mere "looking" hardly suffices) at the home's main entrance:

I took the photostroll with South Shore residents who are newly-trained as neighborhood docents by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

It's a new program in which the organization partners with community leaders to raise up local experts--the folks who already know what they've got--and give them the docent skills to lead tours, identify and talk about the buildings and important places in their neighborhoods. In their own voice. And with their own stories.

The program soon will expand to include Chatham and other neighborhoods.