News

National register marks N. Mayfair bungalow district

December 15, 2006

By Matt Schimtz
Staff WriterSTAFF WRITER
Even after two years of sifting through innumerable property records
and bounding through bureaucratic hoops, the news somehow caught Lou
Krueger off guard.
Earlier this month, Krueger, a half-century resident of Chicago's
North Mayfair community, saw his and many of his neighbors' hard work
come to fruition when the North Mayfair Bungalow Historic District took
its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Krueger, who had
spearheaded the all-volunteer push to have hundreds of neighborhood
homes listed on the register, was confident the good word was coming,
but "we really didn't expect it until March."
After passing muster at the city and state levels in December, the
nomination was sent to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.,
where officials would render a decision within 45 days of receipt. But
with the holidays nearing at the time, Krueger doubted the deliberation
for final approval would begin until at least after New Year's.
Then on Feb. 9, he received a phone call from Emily Ramsey, the
project manager with the Chicago Historic Bungalow Association who had
worked closely with North Mayfair residents in completing the arduous
research-and-application process, telling him the district had been
approved and listed as of Feb. 1 on the national register.
"Quite frankly, I was elated," he said. "I was like a kid, like 'Whoa!'
"It was just a good feeling to know we were able to do it. That was pretty much the way I felt."
The district comprises more than 700 historically significant homes,
the majority of which are Chicago bungalows, a federally recognized
architecture style since 2003. The district is bounded roughly by West
Foster Avenue, North Pulaski Road, North Kilbourn Avenue and West
Lawrence Avenue.
With the designation officially in place, residents of the North
Mayfair district now have the opportunity to apply for a state property
tax freeze when completing home renovations equal to at least 25
percent of a property's market value, according to the Historic Chicago
Bungalow Association. If projects are approved by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency, property tax levels are frozen where they are for
eight years, then gradually adjusted to current rates over the
subsequent four years.
Alderman Margaret Laurino, D-39th, said she hoped the North Mayfair
district's national distinction would serve as an example to other
Chicago neighborhoods and homeowners. "The listing ... not only brings
prestige to our community, but a great incentive for neighbors to
preserve and restore their homes," she said in a news release. "We are
confident that the designation ... will inspire other communities to
follow through with the application process as well."
North Mayfair's listing on the national register may be viewed
online by going to www.cr.nps.gov/nr/nrlist.htm and scrolling down to
the "Illinois, Cook County" listing.
'We are confident that the designation ... will inspire other
communities to follow through with the application process as well.'