Tragedy Strikes!

February 24, 2010

Ok- maybe not tragedy, but disappointment.  Apparently local burglars aren’t buying into the green movement yet, as some person (persons) broke in and tore out the copper plumbing that was already in the walls.  Not only do we have to replace the copper, and also redo the labor of sweating the pipe and re-installing it, but they also damaged some of the walls in the process.   They might have gotten a couple hundred bucks for the brand new copper as scrap.  Such a waste.  If they had only asked, I might have just given them some money.  Still – not a big setback and their situation is probably way worse than mine to need survive in this type of fashion.

Also- for like the 1st time since the building has gone up, I left my tool bag with drills, measuring tape, utility knife, bits and CAMERA- and they got that too.  So no new pictures for a while- I’ll post some old ones soon and then new ones once I replace the camera.

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A brief history of 1610

February 9, 2010

Map of 'the old neighborhood'

As seen from the above survey of the bucktown neighborhood, our building was built sometime before 1886. Originally called Girard Street, it was renamed Honore after Chicago Businessman Henry Honore  sometime in the 20th century.  1610 can be seen as property number 48 in the map below:

1610 listed as property 48

1610 N Honore St (formerly Girard St), otherwise known as lot 48 of E. R. Smith’s subdivision of Block 35 of Sheffield’s Addition to Chicago was (apparently) originally part of a plot of land once owned by Charles G Wicker (as in the Charles Wicker, of Wicker Park, the small park located one half-mile southwest of the property, general name of the neighborhood and title of the Hollywood feature film starring Josh Harnett).   Somehow property #48, which was once a combined lot with #49, made its way into the hands of Nathan Corwith.  And so our story begins:

1868 (yes 3 years after the end of the civil war)-  Nathan Corwith sold the property along with another dozen parcels to Richard Hurd for $5,400.

1870 -Hurd dies and wills the property to his daughter Anna who marries Richard Folsom from Cincinati.  (To his wife he leaves their Ohio home, $3,000, household goods, and ‘all his horses, carriages, and harnesses’)

1883 (August) – Anna (Hurd) Folsom sells the combined property (#48 & #49) to Henry Holpe for $700

1883 (November) – Holpe (along with his wife Hanna) divides the property and sells #48 (1610 N Honore) to Tollef Tollagsen and #49 to Amalie Schmragh (a spinster) for $450/each, pocketing a healthy 28% profit in just 3 months

1883 – 1890 – during this time Schmragh seems to have borrowed money from Tollagsen as well as a ‘bagman’ named George Coombs, using the #49 property as collateral.

1890- Tollagsen (and his wife Hilda) sell #48 to Wenzel Majeski for $3500- a 90% annual profit for Tollagsen (though as suggested by the map from 1886, Tollagsen may have been the person who built the home which stands there today)

1894- Majeski sells #48 to Alexander Wiedenhoft for an unknown amount of money (Majeski appears to have financed the deal for Wiedenhoft)

1924 – Wiedenhoft dies.

1925 (Feb) – Wiedenhoft’s heirs sell #48 to George Smegeil (a bachelor) for an unknown amount of money.

1925 (April)- Smegeil sells to William F. Ludwig by allowing Ludwig to assume a debt of $1800 that dates back to 1910 when Wiedenhoft borrowed against the property from a guy named Neuman. (Neuman!)

1925 Ludwig also buys #49 once again consolidating the two properties

1929 (March)- 7 months before the ‘Black Tuesday’ crash of the Wall St, the Ludwig family (operating under the trust ‘Ludwig & Ludwig’) sells the combined property to William and Helen Balrig.

1930s- the Balrigs seem to get in a bit of jam, having a mechanics lean placed on the property by the General Accept Company, and borrowing money from Seymour Marks, and the Noel State Bank, posting both properties as collateral.

1938 – the Balrigs quit their claim to the joint property and it goes to Jean Leibowitz (a spinster) who later marries a man named Diamond and takes his name.

1939 -1942 At the end of the great depression, there is a rapid series of transfers of the property.  Diamond (Leibowitz) splits the property again and quits her claim on #48 to Erwin Klenn, who then quits his claim to Sarah Owcarz, who then quits her claim to Josephine Owcarz who then quits her claim to Sarah Carmst

1949- Eventually there is a real sale again and Sarah and her husband Edward Carmst sell to John Schaeffer and his wife Ellen, who take out a $4,000 mortgage.  Shaeffer  pulls the only building permit listed for the property which interestingly enough is for a 20 x 20 garage which (per the permit documents) is estimated to cost $460.  (60 years later we’ll rebuild the garage at a cost of $115,000).

1956 (June)-Schaeffer sells to Peter Nikolich

1956 (October)-Nikolich sells to George Owcarz Jr and his wife

1974- Owcarz sells to Manuel Ramirez for an unknown amount of money.  Ramirez takes out a $10,000 mortgage to purchase the property.

2008- Ramirez sells the property to Thomas McGrath (bachelor) for $565,000.

2010- stay tuned. . . . . .

(special thanks to the staff at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office- Pat, Michelle, Sam, Lawrence, and Rich, for their education and help in navigation)


New Things from Old things

February 3, 2010
Playing with the 120 year old wood from the original structure has been one of the more rewarding parts of the project.  Oxidized and dark brown today, once the rough cut wood is run through the planer the golden hues of the underlying material are released to be seen again.

120 year old rough cut lumber

the same board after its been run through the planer

The following few pictures show a nearly 100% recycled bed made from material on the site.  The old fence posts were cut down to 10″ and the paint was ground off and used to serve as the legs of the bed.  The lath board planks that have been made (see the earlier Dust to Diamonds post on this blog) became the decorative sides and shelves of the bed.  Even the mattress supports came from old maple hard wood floors that were salvaged from the house.  Some nuts, bolts and washers were purchased to hold the thing together but that is about all that was new.

Old fence post

old lumber center and side rails with flooring supports

The final product

To see more pieces fabricated from the old material at 1610, see the Furniture page on this web site.