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CHICAGO: LINCOLN PARK HOME WALK

Chicago is a world-class city: groundbreaking architecture, Michelin-rated restaurants, 5-star shopping and The Wiener’s Circle! But, best of all, Chicago is a walking city. Here’s one of the The Windy City’s best treks: a one-hour (at 4 miles per hour, excluding cocktail stops) tour by foot past some of the most interesting homes in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

LINCOLN PARK

Lincoln Park Map

Fuel-up for your archi-trek with a slice of cracker crust pizza from Amato’s Pizza at W. Willow Street and N. Sheffield Street. Forget what you’ve heard about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: it’s overrated. This stuff is the best.

922 W.  WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Head east on W. Willow Street — not far — and check-out 922 on the opposite side of the street. This is one of my favorite properties in the neighborhood because it’s so unprepossessing at first glance, second glance, one-hundreth glance. Then, at some point, you realize that there’s an amazing space hiding behind that unassuming, industrial, street level front. This place is currently valued at $1,628,500 on Homes.com although it sold for $2,312,500 in 2006. It was under construction back then, and the workers allowed me to walk inside. The interior of the front section, which was built in 1910, had remained unchanged inside, down to the original signage of the company that occupied it. So unique and just un-ostentatiously fabulous.

922 West Willow Street Lincoln Park

737 W. WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Continue east on W. Willow two blocks. This two-year-old spacious addition to the area was formerly a German Lutheran Congregational School. The owners obviously possess an eclectic taste and sense of humor, as you’ll notice by the ghost lamps flanking the entryway and the massive door — with multiple peepholes for all ages and species – beneath it. I don’t know who owns this place, but I like them. They do their own thing, buck convention.

737 West Willow Street Lincoln Park

1727 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

1727 Burling is directly across from 737. Some days I like this gothic place, some days I don’t, dependent upon my mood, kind of like how I waffle between agnostic and atheist depending upon whether or not I had my morning coffee. Today I like it, and appreciate how they incorporated the design of the building next door. However you feel about it, you’ve kinda gotta respect that they did something so completely gutsy and different.

1727 North Burling Street Lincoln Park

1864 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Take a left onto N. Burling Street and head north. 1864 will be on your left. It’s an interesting structure, slightly soulless, although I do applaud the rounded roofs. Yeah, I could live here just fine. Homes.com values it at $2,495,900.

1864 North Burling Street Lincoln Park

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CHICAGO: LINCOLN PARK HOME WALK (part 2)

1879 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Continue north on N. Burling Street (from W. Willow Street) and 1879 is on your right. I have a special affinity for this house because I’m a sucker for tall ceilings, bright patches of color and concrete block. I love the simple, modern style and wood accents. A quick online search shows that it sold for only $657,000 in 1994 while Homes.com now values it at $2,757,400.

1879 North Burling Street Lincoln Park

1917 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Keep walking up a few houses. 1917 N. Burling Street is interesting because it didn’t look like this six months ago: it got a total makeover! That flashy exterior belies a much older interior. You can see the former infrastructure through the new if you look closely. Homes.com values it at $1,603,900.

1917 West Burling Street Lincoln Park

1932 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Not even a block down, on your left, is this little place (inspired by the Rodin Museum in Paris). It’s not for me. I mean, exercise some restraint, people.

1932 West Burling Street Lincoln Park

If you look across the street from 1932 you can see where the owners of that manse tacked-on an addition (the red brick doesn’t quite match) the same time that 1932 was under construction. A case of keeping up with the Joneses? The owners replaced the city sidewalk with their own custom sidewalk — I wonder if it’s heated?

Also across from 1932 is 1955 N. Burling Street, which is listed as “Chicago’s Most Expensive Home” and, as of May 8, 2014, is on the market for $18.75 million. It is not Chicago’s most expensive home, it’s Chicago’s most expensive home on the market.

1970 N. BURLING STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Just a few doors down, 1970 N. Burling Street is a one-of-a-kind gem with a story. The blue sculpture, Chevron by the famed artist John Henry, has been removed from the property. I hope it found a good home — it would look fabulous on the grounds of Denmark’s Louisiana Museum.
1970 West Burling Street Lincoln Park

Someone more knowledgeable in architecture than I has explained this property to me, and the details and thoughtfulness that gone into it will likely escape the casual observer. But don’t take my word for it.

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CHICAGO: LINCOLN PARK HOME WALK (part 3)

1875 N. ORCHARD STREET, LINCOLN PARK

You’re now at the corner of N. Burling Street and W. Armitage Avenue (the bold line marked 2000N on the map). Walk one block east to Orchard and turn right. 1875 is not far down on the opposite side of the street. It may look plain from a distance, but Chicago Magazine recently named it a modern masterpiece. If the gate is open you can see inside to what you know is some major art. The fence is very clever.

The owner, Penny Pritzker, is one of The Pritzkers, the super-rich family famous in Chicago for owning the Hyatt Corporation and their knock-down, drag-out fight over inheritance. She purchased four lots for $7 million on which to build it (annual taxes are a mere $87K).

1840 NORTH ORCHARD STREET, LINCOLN PARK

Look just across the street for 1840 North Orchard Street. This property is one of a handful of recently built contemporary homes in the area of a certain unique style incorporating horizontal panels, red wood, metal and lots of rectangles. I love the garden on the roof.

1840 North Orchard Street Lincoln Park

636 W. WILLOW STREET, LINCOLN PARK

When you reach W. Willow again, turn left and walk one block to 636. I’ve never seen anything like this place, which appears to be a series of long wings joined together around an open courtyard (with a big tree in the middle). I would give my left little toe to see inside it. Homes.com values the residence at $2,529,800 and displays an aerial view that helps to make sense of the property.

636 West Willow Street Lincoln Park

550 W. DICKENS AVENUE, LINCOLN PARK

Now turn left at Howe and walk back north back past Armitage Avenue — there are plenty of beautiful homes along the route, but no show-stoppers — all the way to W. Dickens Avenue (it’s actually just a sidewalk at this point). Turn right and continue down the sidewalk until it becomes a street again and proceed past N. Larrabee.

Voila! Your reward! 550 W. Dickens, which, like 1932 N. Burling Street, seems out of place in this neighborhood to me: it overpowers the lot (but the inside is gorgeous). I would prefer to discover it surrounded by a green rolling lawn somewhere in Bordeaux.

p.s. Does this house remind you of an iconic Lincoln Park building? It should.

550 West Dickens Avenue Lincoln Park

ARTICLES ON LINCOLN PARK’S “DUELING MANSIONS”

Chicago Now: The Biggest Homes of Lincoln Park

Chicago Tribune: Flaunting It

Town & Country Travel: Communities with Charm

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