Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Oldest House in Chicago's West Ridge Community, West Rogers Park neighborhood.

In 1871, Peter Schmitt Jr. (aka: Schmidt; Americanized to Smith when married to Elizabeth Phillip), built this stunning home at 6836 North Ridge Boulevard for a cost of $5,100.00. The home still stands and has been in the same family for 146 years. Today's value is $510,000.
The number of Chicago residence jumped from 50 in 1830 to 4,170 by 1837. Construction supplies never kept up with demand. The extraordinary demand for quick shelter led to Chicago’s first reputation for architectural innovation; balloon framing. In 1833 St. Mary’s Church was built on a new principal of construction – the substitution of thin plates and studs, running the entire height of the building and held together only by nails. The older and more expensive method of construction used mortised and tenoned joints. A house now could be erected in a week, but usually was not fixed to the ground. 

The Smith house was near completion but still under final construction at the time of the Great Chicago Fire. The house was much further north of the conflagulation and totally safe. There is no record of the building style, but one can assume, since it is still standing, lived in and owned by the same family, that it used “old school” construction methods.

Expense Record of Building the Schmitt House; recorded in 1871: 
Carpenter Work:........Cash......$750
Mason Work:............Cash......$600
Plastering:............Cash......$250
Lumber:..........................$750
Sash and Moulding:...............$150
Lime and cement:.................$125
Locks and Things:................$75
Paint and Painters:..............$100
Brick:...........................$675
Lumber at Evanston:..............$75
Freight:.........................$50
Tinsmith:........................$63
Stone Work:......................$50
Carpenter Cash:..................$50
Moulding Door:...................$50
Other Cash payments:.............$1337
Grand Total:.....................$5150


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