Monday, March 2, 2015

Ann Halsted Row Houses
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Ann Halsted Row Houses (1884-86) Adler & Sullivan, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Henry S. Halsted liked the feeling of being on a boat out on the water. He may have become aware of his affinity for sailing the open seas when, as a young man, he set-off for America from his native England. Halsted eventually made his way to the shores of Lake Michigan, settled in Chicago, sailed schooners across the Great Lakes, and purchased his own sailing vessel in the mid-1850s. The thirty-three-year-old mariner transported corn, wheat, lumber and iron-ore from lake-edge cities like Duluth, Minnesota, Milwaukee and Green Bay Wisconsin, Toledo and Cleveland Ohio, Detroit and Cheboygan Michigan, to the nation's central industrial, manufacturing and transportation hub, Chicago.

  [Ann Halsted Row Houses, 1826-34 N. Lincoln Park West, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

He worked hard and sailed his own boat. As the money poured in, Halsted bought another schooner, then another, and purchased real estate adjacent to his Chicago-based moorings. But, eventually Henry had to give-up manning the ship's wheel to concentrate solely on the oversight of his expanding enterprise. He had married a fellow Brit Ann Pinegar at the start of his career, and in 1865 the couple purchased a home for $5,000 on the outskirts of the city located on Franklin Avenue, which became North Park Avenue, and today is Lincoln Park West. Henry then purchased three empty lots just south of the house, which remained undeveloped. Their next door neighbor was Frederick Wacker, another up-and-coming and enterprising Chicagoan, whose son Charles helped implement the Burnham & Bennett Plan of Chicago in the early part of the 20th century. When Halsted died of pneumonia on April 24, 1882, the Chicago Tribune declared that 56-year-old former sailor owned "the largest amount of vessel property in the city." He left behind not only his 50-year-old wife and their grown children, but an estate valued at nearly $200,000. It doesn't sound like much today, but back then that 200,000 would be worth around $4.5 million in 2013 dollars.

  [Ann Halsted Row Houses, Lincoln Park, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Ann Pinegar Halsted was the sole executrix of Henry's legacy, and as she took over the reigns of his business she decided to change her living situation. In 1883 she began discussions with new architectural partners Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan about building a house on a piece of property she owned on Belden Avenue near Clark Street. She then got a conversation going about designing a group of townhouses for the vacant, unimproved portion at the family's current dwelling site. So although Ann was ready to move, she was as good a business person as her husband and understood that she had an income stream just waiting to be developed. When the drawings were done and the permits secured, construction began on the $4,000-per-unit townhomes.

  [Ann Halsted Row Houses, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Once the Belden Avenue house was ready to move into, the old Halsted house was demolished and two more row houses were added to the existing three. Ann must have been happy with her rental returns because she held on to the group until the early 1920s, when the 89-year-old matriarch began selling them off one-by-one. The last house was sold in 1928, and during the intervening years the row of conjoined homes went through several owners. In March 1962, Hjordie and James Garner purchased 1834 N. Lincoln Park West, the row house that sits on the site of the original Halsted dwelling, and sold their Ann Halsted Row House in the spring of this year.

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