Chicago has long been known for its spectacular and innovative architecture. From the skeletal framework designed by Holabird & Roche that enabled buildings to rise to new heights, to the flowing concrete forms of Bertrand Goldberg, to the pared down elegance of Mies van der Rohe – Chicago stands apart.
Yet this excellence in architecture is not restricted to the city center; it can be found in the simplicity of a workingman’s cottage, the interplay of light and shadow of a Queen Ann frame, or seen in the sweeping cantilevers conceived by Frank Lloyd Wright. And one neighborhood has them all.
Nested along the shores of Lake Michigan and surrounded by parks designed by Olmsted & Vaux are the historic communities of Hyde Park and Kenwood. Served by excellent schools, enhanced by University of Chicago, one of the world’s great learning institutions and located a mere ten-minute drive from downtown – these communities have undergone a renaissance.
Chicago’s Historic Hyde Park is the definitive book on the history of these neighborhoods, and their story is told through the development of the American home. Author Susan O’Connor Davis is the realtor who understands the depth of these communities and their housing stock.
A resident of Kenwood for fifteen years, the house the Davis’s constructed was the recipient of the American Institute of Architects Distinguished Building Honor Award. In addition to being keenly aware of the construction process, Susan is familiar with zoning and landmark issues. With a degree in Interior Design, she offers guidance on preparing structures and marketing properties in their best possible light.
In addition to her passion for history and writing, Susan serves on the Board of Governors for the Smart Museum of Art, is a member of the Arts Club of Chicago, the Beverly Golf Club, and a founding member of the not-for-profit Kenwood Improvement Association. She has chaired numerous fundraising events for the University of Chicago Lab Schools, the Hyde Park Art Center and the Smart Museum.
Hyde Park Legends
The ground level of the house at the southwest corner of 48th and Greenwood just always seemed too high. Not in the sense of the ridges that once ran diagonally across the landscape of Hyde Park, but specifically and oddly too high just in one place. The driveway at the back of the lot was cracked as the land shifted over time, and the garage had weeds growing from its gutters. That all changed last month as excavation began for a foundation for a shiny new garage. What came up with the backhoe was the lost history of one Kenwood family.
The huge pieces of limestone dredged up were the buried remnants of the house built for Charles Hosmer Morse, a 19th century industrialist. Morse began his career as a salesman in New York and moved up the ladder quickly. He came to Chicago to establish the first branch of an enterprise that became known as Fairbanks, Morse & Company.
Toni Preckwinkle | Cook County Board President
“Susan O’Connor Davis’s work draws well-deserved attention to Hyde Park-Kenwood’s beautiful buildings and details their history. These architectural gems are a lasting legacy for future generations.”
Dominic A. Pacyga | author of Chicago: A Biography
“Few city neighborhoods have been as studied as Chicago’s Hyde Park. Susan O’Connor Davis has created an extraordinary guide to a remarkable place. Chicago’s Historic Hyde Park is a compelling visual account that introduces the reader not only to a complex local history, but also to one grounded firmly in the larger currents of both architectural change and urban development. Davis’s account ranges from Paul Cornell’s early Hyde Park through the still controversial urban renewal era and right up to current preservation efforts. This meticulously researched, wonderfully illustrated, lovingly written, and well-documented book is an important contribution to the history of Chicago and urban America.”
Interview With The Author
5748 S Kimbark Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
5748 S Kimbark Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Sophisticated urban living in the heart of the University of Chicago community. When Davis Swan designed this residence on Kimbark Avenue in 1985, his Post-Modern house replicated the rhythmic quality of other older houses on the block. However Swan used a series of geometric solids and voids to do so, that today blend beautifully into the streetscape. The home he created is a jewel, with broad windows encompassing the surrounding landscape and interiors that provide sizable volumes for each member of a family to find their own space. Situated in a coveted location, the house is contemporary yet malleable to a number of styles within. 5748 has been beautifully transformed by the current owner; windows have been replaced, Pella doors are new, hardwood floors redone, while a continuity of color palette and design flows through each of the four levels. The stunning high-end kitchen opens onto a family room, providing a space that is perfect for entertaining, with vistas out to the lushly landscaped patio and BBQ area. On the second level there are four bedrooms with high end and ingeniously designed custom closets in each, two new bathrooms and a large laundry. Sun porches and decks add additional welcome and private areas for summer enjoyment.The master suite encompasses the entire third level, with a separate office and fabulous bath - truly a room with a view. A dressing area and two walk-in closets add to the amenities. Full finished basement and, a necessity for this location, the requisite garage and parking pad. Meticulously cared for and a fresh departure from the surrounding Gothic structures of the University of Chicago, this house is move-in ready. A home where you can write the next chapter of it's extraordinary history.