6836 N. Ridge Boulevard
The house was owned by Joseph Fortman.
2013 Annual House Tour Booklet
Built in 1871 by Peter Schmidt, Jr., the house is owned by David Fortman, who is a fifth-generation descendant of Peter Schmidt. Schmidt was an immigrant from West Rhine, Germany. It is one of the oldest intact examples of Italianate architecture in the neighborhood that has been called a “textbook example of its type.” The Italianate Style is typified by elaborate window and door surrounds, bracketed eaves, and ornamental porches. This style soon became a signifier for a successful homeowner, who had the means and taste to follow the latest architectural trends.
David Fortman has done extensive remodeling, including replacing the front porch and the original 12-foot-high wooden columns and the old porch light. The front parlor has the original oak floor; ornate plaster ceiling medallions made from hand-carved molds; 7-foot-tall cathedral windows, a “Parisian apartment” fireplace made with Michigan marble, and an antique secretary.
A second parlor was later made into a dining room. One of the windows became the entrance to a sunroom added in 1910. The doorway to the kitchen originally led to a farmer’s porch. The kitchen was created in 1873 using bricks from the Great Chicago Fire.
The second floor originally had a long narrow hallway, four bedrooms, and a dressing room where female guests could change from their riding clothes into dresses. Immediately to the west was one of the original Fortman greenhouses. This is now the location of a large apartment building constructed in the 1950s.
Historic Name: Fortman family House
Community: West Ridge (02)
Address: 6836 N. Ridge Boulevard
Constructed: Started in
Type: Single-Family Residence
Color Code: Orange
National Register? N