Did You Know Ronald Reagan had a Chicago Home?

February 06, 2011

Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 today, February 6, and many cities are hosting centennial celebrations around Illinois and around the country.

There’s even a tribute planned at the Super Bowl.

The 40th President of the United States is from Illinois. He was born in the central Illinois town of Tampico. He grew up in Dixon and Monmouth and went to college in Eureka.

Ronald Reagan lived in this Chicago apartment building at 57th and Maryland from 1914-1915 with his parents and brother.

And, from 1914-1915, the former president lived in an apartment in the Hyde Park neighborhood, where current President Barack Obama resides.

That Chicago apartment building, at 832 E. 57th Street, now stands vacant.

It was purchased in 2004 by the University of Chicago, which emptied the building of tenants last year. Apparently, the university has plans to demolish the iconic building.

Reagan was only three when he moved to the Chicago home, but he remembered the first-floor apartment fondly.

In a 1988 letter, he wrote about watching horse-drawn firefighters “come down the street at full gallop. … The sight made me decide I wanted to be a fireman.”

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the university is in private talks to demolish the entire block to expand its medical facilities.

A $700 million, 10-story University of Chicago Hospital Pavilion is currently being built across from Reagan’s old building and is expected to open in 2013.

Naturally, Reagan enthusiasts would oppose the razing of the former president’s boyhood home.

While the building does not have any landmark status, it is supposedly protected by zoning that gives opponents 90 days to object should the university announce plans to tear it down.

Happy birthday, Ronald.

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