John P. Wilson & Joseph C. Bullock Houses
by: chicago designslinger
[John P. Wilson & Joseph C. Bullock Houses (1877) Edbrooke & Burnham, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Although this may appear to be one cohesive structure, it's actually two separate houses designed by two different architects for two different owners. What they do share in common, besides a wall, is that they were both built in 1877. The house on the left side of the photo belonged to a prominent Chicago attorney, one Mr. John P. Wilson, and the house on the right was owned and built by Joseph C. Bullock, of Bullock Bros. boots and shoes.
[John P. Wilson House & Joseph C. Bullock Houses, 1450 & 1454 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
When Wilson and Bullock decided to build on Dearborn avenue in 1877, the area was at the northern reaches of the built-up portion of the city. Until recently the Catholic cemetery had been across the street, where the Cardinal had the dearly departed disinterred and moved to a new graveyard even further north. His Eminence graded and divided the property and began selling house lots in place of grave plots. Wilson in the meantime, was on his way to becoming the lawyer-to-go-to in all matters related to real estate and would go on to draft the plan for a gigantic multi-decade strategy to clean up the lake and provide area residents with clean drinking water. The Metropolitan Sanitary District is still fulfilling the proposal originally laid-out by Wilson.
[John P. Wilson & Joseph C. Bullock Houses, Gold Coast National Historic District, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
The Mansard roof, which looks like one continuous band, plays a harmonizing visual trick giving the two separate structures all the appearances of a combined single unit. But a closer examination reveals that the Wilson house is a little larger, and its Second Empire detailing isn't quite as refined as the Bullock house next door. Unfortunately the Wilson's original front porch has been removed, while the Bullock's place looks just like it did 133 years ago. The reason for that may lie in the fact that the house was occupied by the same member of the Bullock family for over eight decades. When Bertha Bullock was 2 years old, her parents moved into this townhouse at the corner of Dearborn and Burton Place. Eighty-three years later, when Bertha Bullock Folsom died, she still resided at 1454 N. Dearborn Parkway.