Cruise Up State Street Soon to Catch A Piece of History Before it Vanishes

1241 North State Parkway (via Google Streetview)

1241 North State Parkway (via Google Streetview)

Like any city with longevity, Chicago is a city of history. One way it communicates its history is through its architecture. Layers upon layers of architecture that overlap, overwhelm, and sometimes slip through the cracks of time.

One of those time capsules is going away soon. It’s a worker’s cottage at 1241 North State Street. Worker’s cottages are to Chicago in the late 1800’s what prairie bungalows were to the city in the middle of the 1900’s — Affordable, capable, and massively popular.

If you don’t know much about Chicago’s worker’s cottages, here’s a fine article from Moss Design gives you the basics and some sources for extra credit. It also paints a picture:

What happened to bring on this wave of cottages and other worker housing? Industrial growth across the country was changing America from a nation of pioneers and farmers to one of urban dwellers. Chicago’s population boom – tripling in size between 1880 and 1910 – was fueled by the railroads and the associated processing industries that grew up around them. The meat packing plants and heavy industry provided jobs to a huge inflow of immigrants who all needed somewhere to live. Many moved into the new Greystone flats – which were being constructed at the same time – and others settled in Worker Cottages.

In June of this year, an application was filed to tear down 1241 North State and its associated garage. Because of the age of the home (built just after the the Great Fire of 1871 according to the internet, or built well before the Great Fire, according to these things called “books”), it automatically landed on the city’s Holy Crap Let’s Take a Second Look List, also known as the Demolition Hold List.

Three months later, the hold has been lifted and crews from Mulroy Demolition are expected to show up soon to erase the building from the Gold Coast cityscape. Chatter on the interwebs is that this is the last worker’s cottage in the Gold Coast. Whether that is true or not, it’s worth cruising by, even pausing, to appreciate the form and function of this workhorse of Windy City architecture.


Location: 1241 North State Parkway, Gold Coast

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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