William P. Henneberry House
by: chicago designslinger
[William P. Henneberry House (1883) Furst & Rudolph, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
As Heidi Klum says on every episode of Project Runway, in fashion, "one day your in, and the next day you're out." The same could be said about architectural styles and fashionable city neighborhoods, although their moments at the top of the popular culture heap usually last a little longer.
[William P. Henneberry House, 1520 W. Jackson Boulevard, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Such was the case when William Henneberry built his house in 1883. The Jackson Boulevard lot was located in one of Chicago's smart, swanky neighborhoods, located about 2 miles west of the downtown business district; while the Second Empire style chosen by architects Furst & Rudolph had been all the rage with the city's upper crust since the mid-1870s. But ten years later the Henneberrys decided that the near west side was no longer the chic side of town and they relocated to a much more chichi address on south Michigan Avenue's Millionaires Row, and Second Empire was considered old-fashioned and dated.
[William P. Henneberry House, Jackson Boulevard Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
By the 1930s, this stretch of Jackson Boulevard had changed from a neighborhood of posh city dwellers to working class laborers barely holding on. And the house had been transformed from a single family mansion into a rooming house for nightly renters. Then in 1974 a enterprising young man named Bill Lavicka looked past the peeling paint and crumbling plaster of the 90-year-old structure to the underlying old-world craftsmanship which no longer existed in contemporary architecture. Over the next few years, bit by bit, Lavicka restored the old house, and joined his neighboring urban pioneers in saving the remaining 19th century house that lined the block. Today the landmark historic district along the 1500 block of Jackson Boulevard looks much like it did when William Henneberry's horse-drawn carriage pulled-up to the front of his new house, 129 years ago.