Oct
29

From Roaring ’20s to the Rocking ’90s : The Architecture of Uptown

October 29, 2013

Uptown Theater

The Uptown community area on Chicago’s North Side was once the hopping place to be when it was developed in the roaring ’20s. The L had been extended north, and the neighborhood became a haven for nightlife. Today, it retains historic character, with a couple of unique pockets of notable works of architecture.

First stop is a calm, shady street called Hutchinson. On this residential street, in the Uptown neighborhood of Buena Park, you will find historic homes that make this a designated Historic District. Built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, these elegant houses display a variety of architectural styles.

On the west end of the street, you’ll see a Queen Anne-style house with its asymmetrical form, gables, wooden details, and overall, a mishmash of ornamentation. This building was designed by architect George Maher in 1896, and you can see from another one of his houses down the block how styles changed over a short period of time. Seventeen years later, in 1913, he designed the Claude Semoure House at 817 W. Hutchinson Street. This large home is Prairie School style, with its hipped roof, flat horizontal lines, and planters on the balustrades that further integrate the architecture with the natural environment. Looking at this house, we have to remember that Frank Lloyd Wright was not the only Prairie School architect. Maher became famous for his genius, yes, but also the mere fact that he had an eclectic character and lived a long life.

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