7440-7455 N. Hoyne Avenue

From HistoryWiki

7440-7455 N. Hoyne Avenue is about an entire block, albeit a short one.

On the short block of Hoyne between Fargo and Birchwood developer, Emma Kennett, created her probably most notable project. These six buildings are roughly the same size and shape, but their facades were given to the high-style eclectic treatment popular in the 1920s. And of course nothing said taste and luxury quite like French and Spanish Revival.

According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune on March 31, 1929, these buildings represented a $480,000 investment on behalf of the developer. That's nearly $6.5 million adjusted to 2012. An ambitious undertaking. And as a side note, just a few months away from the onset of the Great Depression.

East Side (7441-7455)

On the east side of the block are the Spanish Revival styles. They all have various types of wrought iron balconies and a pale cream brick, which was seen as appropriate to the style. There are casement windows and French doors on the upper floors, and double-hung windows with similar pane divisions at the ground level. The casement windows alone are worth a visit. So few original casements survive from the 20s, and this block has an impressive number of them. Imagine how much these buildings would lose with simple double-hung replacements.

Not only is the door on 7451-7455 an arched door in a rounded tower, but the door itself is curved to match the tower radius. The door on 7447-7449 is set within an ornamental stone surround that can only be described as Art Deco. The simplicity of the door on 7441-7443 is off-set by a complex portal window, which reflects some of the arched windows treatments on the block. Two have elaborate copper kick-plates and decorative hinges attached with rivets.

West Side (7440-7454)

The west side of the block is even more elaborate. Curved towers and complex roof forms anchor these buildings, which have random-cut limestone veneers at the lower floors and brick above. The half-timbering designs are works of art in themselves. The false mansard roofs on this side of the street are large, making them easier to read than the Spanish Revival-style roof forms across the street.

The doors are great, each with a unique design and window pattern. They all have the same copper kick-plates and hinges seen on the east side of the block. And It's rare to see a window pattern quite like the one found on the 7446-7448 door.

The Tribune article indicates that Emma Kennett designed these buildings with the help of Herbert J. Richter. A casual internet search couldn't turn up the identity of Mr. Richter. It can be assumed that he was the architect, but according to the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, the architect of record is Arthur Bucket. This would make sense, since Arthur Bucket's name is associated with the corner apartment building at Farwell and Oakley. So who's Herbert Richter? No idea--yet!

It was great to find these buildings included in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, and it gives me an opportunity to illustrate the value of a good survey sheet. In addition to a site map and small photograph the surveyor also creates a narrative of the architectural significance of the building. The account below explains why architectural historians are in constant danger of walking in front of cars while wandering through the city:

7451-7455 N. Hoyne Avenue

Symmetrical facade centers on semi-circular plan bay/stair tower with portal at base and topped with a hexagonal roof and finial. Romanseque casement windows on either side of door topped with six-paned fan light. All windows in sets of threes except baseement of simple Roman arch. First floor fenestration repeats casement-fanlight treament with a colonade of counter-spiralled pilasters.

Third floor bays have pairs of French doors opening onto balconies flanked by smaller windows.

Stylized Italianate eave brackets lead the eye to small windows on 2nd/3rd floors, one with ornamentally carved limestone surrounds and pilasters.

Door is carved, paneled oak with semicircular leaded overglass with peep windows at eye level. Keystones, sills, brackets and spiral columns rendered in stone. Limestone coping on south corner gate repeats brackets at roofline. The lion finial weather vane atop tower, false hinges on doors and kickplate are hammered copper.