Edgeville Buzz

Edgewater Showcases 7 Historic Building This Weekend At Free Citywide Architecture Open House

In what has become a yearly architectural event in Chicago, The Chicago Architecture Foundation is ready to open the doors to over 200 different sites this weekend throughout the city. Edgewater will be showcasing seven local buildings during the show, adding an additional property this year (the Lytle House) to the roster.

The 2-day event started in London in 1992 and has since grown to more than 30 cities worldwide attracting more than one million people. Since, Open House Chicago has become the largest of its kind gaining popularity and bringing additional tourism to the city.

The event gives the public a behind-the-scenes look into Chicago’s most iconic architecture sites located within multiple neighborhoods. Almost every type and style is accounted for. From mansions to high rises, architecture junkies will get their fill.

The event is free of charge and there is no registration or tickets needed. Open House Chicago will take place Oct. 14-15, with most buildings open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. However, do check the the online schedule as many sites times vary, and some may not participate both days.

For more info on the event, Click here.

The Edgewater Open Houses are:

1. Berger Park North Mansion (Gunder House) 6219 N. Sheridan Rd.

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9am – 5pm, Sun, Oct 15: 9am – 5pm

ARCHITECT: Myron H. Church, 1910

DESCRIPTION: The North Mansion in Berger Park was built for pharmaceutical company executive Samuel Gunder, who lived in the house from 1910 to 1919. The yellow brick American Foursquare home, with its restrained ornamentation, was used as a residence for many years by the Viatorian religious order. They sold the property to the Chicago Park District in 1981 for half as much money as private developers would have paid—hoping to preserve the mansions and open space for the community rather than see them redeveloped. The Park District originally intended to remove the North Mansion, but the Edgewater Community Council raised funds to rehab it for use as a cultural center.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Explore one of Chicago’s last remaining lakefront mansions.

2. Sacred Heart Schools, Driehaus Center (Conway House) 6200 N. Sheridan Rd.

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 10am – 3pm, Sun, Oct 15: 10am – 2pm

ARCHITECT: William Carbys Zimmerman, 1906

DESCRIPTION: The Richard F. Conway House was completed in 1906 for the owner of the paving company that constructed Lake Shore Drive. The enormous Tudor-Revival home is the work of architect William Carbys Zimmerman. He designed many nearby mansions on this posh stretch of Sheridan Road. In 1959, Sacred Heart Schools purchased the house, sparing it the fate that befell most of its neighbors. A $4-million restoration, completed in 2010, brought the house back to its original splendor. Highlights include beautiful oak and mahogany woodwork, ceiling beams in geometric patterns and 19 restored leaded-glass windows. The house now provides offices and event space for Sacred Heart Schools.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Take in the opulence of this restored and rarely-open mansion—one of the last survivors of Sheridan Road’s days as a millionaire’s row.

3. Colvin House 5940 N. Sheridan Rd.

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9am – 5pm, Sun, Oct 15: 9am – 5pm

ARCHITECT: George Maher, 1909

DESCRIPTION: Passersby on Sheridan Road have long wondered about this yellow brick, Prairie Style-inflected American Foursquare mansion. It had fallen into disrepair after years of neglect, but it is now being repurposed as a workplace, meeting place and small event space. While the exterior of the house is quite restrained, the interior features over-the-top plaster ornamentation that was most likely added in the 1920s—it resembles the décor found in the lavish movie palaces of the day. Colvin House was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1994.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Be among the first to tour this newly renovated historic Sheridan Road mansion, now a one-of-a-kind spot to work, meet or host an event.

4. Edgewater Beach Apartments 5555 N. Sheridan Rd.

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9am – 5pm, Sun, Oct 15: Closed

ARCHITECT: Marshall & Fox, 1928

DESCRIPTION: Edgewater Beach Apartments are the only remaining part of the Edgewater Beach Hotel complex, started by Marshall and Fox in 1918. This massive, Spanish-style “Pink Palace” was connected to the hotel by a three-block beach promenade for decades. The hotel was demolished in the late 1960s—a decade after the extension of Lake Shore Drive cut it off from the beach. The building became a co-op in 1949, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. It has a unique Maltese-Cross shape to give each room maximum natural light and views of Lake Michigan. An indoor terrace overlooks the original Beaux-Arts pool.

BEHIND THE SCENES: See the elegant two-story lobby, indoor terrace, Beaux-Arts pool, award-winning gardens and more.

5. St. Ita Roman Catholic Church 5500 N. Broadway

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9:30am – 4pm, Sun, Oct 15: Closed

ARCHITECT: Henry J. Schlacks, 1927

DESCRIPTION: St. Ita Parish was founded in Edgewater in 1900. The current French-Gothic church, which opened in 1927, was the capstone of Henry Schlacks’s distinguished career as an ecclesiastical architect. The open tower appears airy and delicate, yet it contains 1,800 tons of Bedford limestone and rises to 120 feet in height. Elaborate Gothic detailing marks the altar, but the medallion windows—containing more than 200,000 pieces of stained glass—are the real highlight of the interior.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Visit Henry Schlack’s masterpiece, the grandest church in Edgewater.

6. Chicago Filmmakers (Ridge Firehouse)

ADDRESS: 5720 N. Ridge Ave.

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9am – 5pmSun, Oct 15: 9am – 5pm

DESCRIPTION: Chicago Filmmakers recently completed an intensive rehab of a retired 1928 firehouse. The 43-year-old not-for-profit cultural group is continuing to raise the substantial funds needed to equip this ornate structure with a 75-person movie theater for screenings of independent films and documentaries. The space also includes administrative offices and sparkling new classrooms for an upcoming slate of public courses.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Explore this historic firehouse, retrofitted for film screening and education.

7. The Lytle House

ADDRESS: 5517 N. Broadway

HOURS: Sat, Oct 14: 9am – 5pmSun, Oct 15: Closed

DESCRIPTION: Built as a backlot tin shop in the early 1920s, this light industrial building was once tucked behind a residential two-flat. At some point the two-flat was demolished and the shop was expanded. It operated as an auto repair business from 1977 to 2015, when new owners stepped in to renovate the structure into a sublime private event space. The resulting product is almost unrecognizable: free-flowing indoor-outdoor space with high ceilings, exposed brick, concrete floors, modern lighting, and an immaculate courtyard with gardens and a mural. Set behind an enigmatic metal wall, The Lytle House is ideally suited to all types of private use, from weddings to workshops.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Sneak behind the mysterious metal wall to see the adaptive reuse of an old auto body shop into a quirky, secluded event space.

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