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A bit of history: 5432 N. Winthrop

Credit: Jeremy Bressman

To the casual passerby, this dual townhouse building may not seem especially remarkable. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the symmetrical brick structure holds a special place in Edgewater’s history. In 1886, developer John Lewis Cochran purchased land in the immediate area, which was at the time part of the town of Lake View. Cochran began developing and advertising a subdivision he called “Edgewater.” Sidewalks, sewer systems and streetlights were all notably modern features of the community, and were impressive for the era. Opulent mansions sprung up along Sheridan Rd.’s prime lakefront property, while more modest homes were erected to the west. Multi-unit buildings and apartments were to follow, as Edgewater became more accessible and desirable with the extension of the L and addition of a station at Bryn Mawr.

Architect J. Lymen Silsbee penned many of Edgewater’s early structures for Cochran, though 5432 N. Wintrop’s architect is unknown. It was built in 1892, which makes it one of the oldest structures in the community.

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