Update: I reexamined this house in 2016; read about it here.
I find it endlessly fascinating how the perceived proper location for a house on its plot of land has changed in this city over the centuries. Also, it’s interesting to see how the “early birds” in neighborhoods, often decades before the primary settlement of a neighborhood, so often differ from their much later companions. Take this beautiful Second Empire house in Benton Park West; it faces a street to the north, but sits almost all the way back on the property line to the south. Supposedly German settlers liked having a big garden in the front yard in the Nineteenth Century, and then later houses moved to their current location, about ten feet from the sidewalk, in the early Twentieth.
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I love seeing these center-hall houses sprinkled around the South Side.
That is a great urban history lesson. I say that because all to often I see an older structure that seems completely out of kilter.