Preserving Beverly/Morgan Park’s Historic Homes

By Kaitlyn McAvoy and Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois 

Beverly/Morgan Park/Morgan Park is a picturesque example of a late 19th century neighborhood and remains one of most desirable communities in Chicago. It is a place with rich history, unique architecture and local and nationally recognized landmark districts, as well as Chicago landmarks. The historic homes, for large part, define the identity of Beverly/Morgan Park. The neighborhood features houses designed by noted architects like Edward Dart, Howard Van Doren Shaw, George Maher, Walter Burley Griffin and Frank Lloyd Wright.  

People flock to Beverly/Morgan Park to see its historic homes. They take part in BAPA’s historic Home Tour to get a glimpse of these increasingly rare houses, to marvel at their distinctive design features and to learn about the community’s past. People love old buildings, their design and materials, and they enjoy seeing how people live modern life in historic spaces.  

Beverly/Morgan Park residents, especially those who own or occupy one of these unique, historic homes, may wonder how they can be good stewards of their house and preserve the architectural integrity and uniqueness of their neighborhood. Below are tips and suggestions: 

Get to know your home
What is your home’s story? Find out the year the home was built, as well as when additions were made, to understand its design. Learn about the materials and construction techniques used in its construction. What architectural and social history does it have? You’ll come away with a greater sense of pride for the place you call home. Find research guides by searching online at the Art Institute of Chicago or visiting the Ridge Historical Society. 

Preserve your home’s character
The little (or big) things that make your home unique should be preserved. Celebrate these features and make sure they stay put. Not only will this maintain the individuality of the home and the community, but it will maintain the curb appeal of the home, which in turn helps to sustain property values.  

General maintenance
While maintaining your home seems obvious, too often we hear that a place is “too far gone” — when a home or structure has been neglected for so long that demolition seems to the untrained eye as the only option. By regularly maintaining your home, you also protect its value. 

Be active in your community
Don’t just live in Beverly/Morgan Park, be a part of the community. Know and understand your community or city plan and join a neighborhood association like BAPA. By playing an active role in your neighborhood and its future, you will be a part of preserving what makes your community vibrant, livable and desirable. 

Get to know your alderman and community leaders
Understand what issues they are most focused on, and make sure they understand that preservation is a priority for you!  

Share the love
Share your love for your historic neighborhood. Post pics of your home or favorite Beverly/Morgan Park buildings on Instagram, post selfies enjoying your community. Spreading awareness about what makes Beverly/Morgan Park special is an effective way to get people engaged in preservation and to value local history.   

Reach out to Landmarks Illinois
Landmarks Illinois works every day with residents in communities all over the state, helping connect them with resources they need to preserve the places that matter to them. Visit Landmarks.org and check out the Resource Directory for comprehensive list of resources to help you maintain and preserve your unique, historic home.
 

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