Where do you go to find out about historic architecture when you live in a community outside of Chicago’s Loop?
Chicago’s innovative late 19th- and 20th-century architecture is well-documented and highly touted. The city’s local architecture, particularly historic buildings in neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs, receives far less attention. Chicago’s local architects and builders embraced design trends and technological innovations set by the city’s acclaimed architectural community, producing fine specimens in places far removed from Chicago’s Loop.
This site, and its related series of books, Local Chicago Architecture, uncover and celebrate historic architecture in Chicago’s unexpected communities. Local architecture includes the homes and buildings around us, often taken for granted. Many live among history in charming and walkable communities that are also vital and functioning. Historic places are everyday places; where we live, where we worship, where we work, where we go to school, and where we shop. Historic buildings are strong assets within a community giving each a unique sense of place among other Chicago towns and neighborhoods. They are worth continued recognition and preservation.
My goal with the series, to be created through individual volumes, is to acquaint neighborhood residents, newcomers, real estate professionals, and visitors with local history and architecture in the Chicago area. Each book will explain the architectural and historical significance of the community or region through an architectural style guide to the area’s residential, commercial, and other building types. Additionally, I hope to assist residents and owners in understanding the rare beauty of their building’s design and preserve distinguishing and character defining features. Each architectural study will help owners and residents recognize how history has shaped each community. I look forward to stimulating interest in local historic architecture and instilling a sense of stewardship that will lead to the continued preservation of the historic character of each community for future generations.
I have been blessed to be an historic preservationist, architectural historian and real estate agent in one of the greatest architectural cities in the world. I am a native Chicagoan who spent the last twenty-one years as a consultant studying, researching and documenting historic buildings in the Chicago area. I have immersed myself in the architecture of each community I have worked in. Thankfully, fate has given me the opportunity to finally immerse myself in promoting local architecture through the written word.
-Jennifer Reiter Kenny