Monday, April 18, 2011

Business Encroachment on Prairie Avenue

A newspaper clipping from the Chicago Daily News dated July 8, 1914 was recently “rediscovered” in the Glessner archives.  The article reflects the changing character of the street from residential to business and cites the blocks immediately around the Glessner house as holding out against the encroachment of business.  That would not last long however.  Less than a year after the article was written, the palatial home of the late banker and meatpacker Samuel W. Allerton at 1936 S. Prairie Avenue would be sold, razed, and replaced with a factory for the Hump Hairpin Manufacturing Company.   The drawing above shows the 1800 and 1900 blocks of Prairie Avenue as they appeared at the time, Allerton’s home is at far left in the bottom row.

Here, in part, is the Daily news article:


Personal Property Tax Lists Show Encroachment in Residence District.


Portion of Street Between East 16th and East 22d Still Has Many Palatial Homes.

Encroachment of business on the Prairie avenue district has resulted in enormous increases in the personal property valuations in that section, though there are many names missing from the list of home owners.  It is said, however, that that part of Prairie avenue between East 16th and East 22d streets has offered more resistance to breaking up as a center for palatial residences than probably any other section of Chicago.

This assertion is substantiated by the following list of personal property assessments placed against individuals along the part of Prairie avenue referred to.

Prairie Avenue Assessments. (only those with an assessment of $90,000 or more are shown in this blog posting)

Mrs. Philip D. Armour, $150,000
Estate of Samuel W. Allerton, $882,736
Mrs. Henry Corwith $112,000
Mrs. Edna N. Fish, $140,000
John J. Glessner, $90,000
Mrs. Charles M. Henderson, $90,000
Mrs. Elbridge Keith, $180,000
Mrs. William W. Kimball, $250,000
Mrs. George M. Pullman, $250,000
Byron L. Smith, $150,000
James Ward Thorne, $94,995
Henry H. Walker, $100,000

Levy Taxes on One-Third.
Taxes will be levied on one-third of the above assessments.
The board of review will meet Monday at according to law, to arrange for the hearing of persons who believe they have been unjustly assessed.  This is the Supreme court in tax matters and the only relief for those who wish to have their assessments reduced.  Occasionally some one appears and complains of too low an assessment and there have been instances in the past where men made indignant protest because the assessors had ignored them.  The notices of assessments have been in the mails only a short time and comparatively few complaints have been received.  The rush is expected to begin to-morrow.

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