an intensive study on materials and methods used in building the chicago workers cottage

the following collection of blog posts reflect my contributions to any and all facets of 19th and early 20th century chicago workers cottages. i've devoted several years researching, photographing, dissecting, and amassing a sizable collection of building fragments for my "deconstructing chicago" book. while the book continues to evolve based on the complexity of data i've gathered thus far, i hope to present this research on the academic stage through a doctoral thesis that sheds new light on the rapidly changing materials and methods used to improve upon the "balloon frame" used to erect tens of thousands of chicago cottages beginning in the 1830's.

MOUNTING FIELD DATA PORTRAYS BALLOON FRAME CONSTRUCTION IN A MUCH DIFFERENT LIGHT

 

 

DECONSTRUCTION OF 19TH CENTURY TWO-STORY FRAME STRUCTURE OFFERS RARE GLIMPSE AT ITS BUILDING METHODS AND MATERIALS

DATA COLLECTION FROM A PRE-FIRE CHICAGO ITALIANATE RESIDENCE DEMOLITION ENRICHES THE SALVAGE NARRATIVE

 

WEALTH OF ARTIFACTS DISCOVERED IN THE WALLS OF A PRE-FIRE CHICAGO WORKER'S COTTAGE

THE LOSS OF A SINGLE COTTAGE CAN BADLY DAMAGE THE HISTORIC FABRIC OF ITS NEIGHBORHOOD

 

WORKERS COTTAGE ON LEAVITT STREET DEMOLISHED THIS WEEK

 

2023 WEST ERIE STREET 1860'S WORKERS COTTAGE DEMOLISHED

TWO-STORY VICTORIAN ERA CHICAGO BRICK BOARDING HOUSE ON MARSHFIELD REDUCED TO RUBBLE IN A MATTER OF HOURS

TRADESMAN'S BEER BOTTLE DISCOVERED IN THE WALL OF A 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO COTTAGE UNDERGOING DEMOLITION

DISCOVERY OF FORGOTTEN PHOTO NEGATIVES FOUND IN ATTIC OF 1870’S COTTAGE SHOW ITS FAÇADE AND SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOOD AT TURN OF CENTURY

RARE EARLY 1870'S GOTHIC VICTORIAN CHICAGO COTTAGE ON SEDGWICK FACES WRECKING BALL EARLY THIS WEEK

PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDY OF 19TH CENTURY OBJECTS DISCOVERED IN STUD CAVITY OF POST-FIRE CHICAGO COTTAGE DURING ITS DEMOLITION

A POST-FIRE CHICAGO WOOD-FRAMED BUILDING WITH WESTERN FALSE FRONT FACADE UNDERGOING DEMOLITION

LARGELY INTACT POST-FIRE CHICAGO WOOD-FRAMED WORKERS COTTAGE RIPPED APART IN A MATTER OF HOURS

A CLOSER LOOK AT A CONTROVERSIAL OLD TOWN "ROTTED" POST FIRE 19TH CENTURY WORKERS COTTAGE

LATE 19TH CENTURY PRIVY FINDS FROM A CHICAGO WORKERS COTTAGE ON CLEVELAND

19TH CENTURY BRICK AND WOOD-FRAMED WORKER COTTAGES ARE QUIETLY DISAPPEARING FROM CHICAGO'S CITYSCAPE

POST-FIRE WOOD-FRAMED WORKERS COTTAGE SALVAGED DAYS BEFORE ITS IMMINENT DEATH

CLOSELY WATCHED 19TH CENTURY WOOD-FRAME WORKERS COTTAGE HANDED DEATH SENTENCE

RESIDENTIAL PRIVY PIT WITH DISCARDED REMNANTS UNEARTHED FROM A 19TH CENTURY WEST TOWN WORKERS COTTAGE

SEARCHING FOR, AND RECOVERING HIDDEN HISTORY BURIED DEEP WITHIN THE WALLS OF CHICAGO COTTAGES

DOCUMENTING AND DECONSTRUCTING THE 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO WORKERS COTTAGE

PARTS, PIECES, AND SYSTEMS OF 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO FRAME COTTAGES

CITY OF CHICAGO STOPS DEMOLITION OF POST-FIRE CHRISTOPHER BETTKER FRAME COTTAGE

POST DEMOLITION, EARLY 1870'S RICHARD MAURICE BIRDSALL COTTAGE JUST A FORMER SHADOW OF ITSELF

CIVIL WAR-ERA CIRCULAR PINE WOOD PRIVY VAULT UNEARTHED FROM BACKYARD OF A CHICAGO COTTAGE

CIVIL WAR-ERA CIRCULAR PINE WOOD PRIVY VAULT UNEARTHED FROM BACKYARD OF A CHICAGO COTTAGE

A PRE-FIRE CHICAGO WOOD FRAME COTTAGE THREATENED BY SALE OFFERING A "UNIQUE HOMESITE OPPORTUNITY"

PHOTO-DOCUMENTING A CHICAGO TWO-STORY BRICK COTTAGE UNOCCUPIED SINCE 1939

TWO-STORY MID-1880'S BRICK WORKERS COTTAGE ON MARSHFIELD STREET DEMOLISHED

QUINTESSENTIAL 1880'S CHICAGO COTTAGE ON MAUD STREET HANDED DEATH SENTENCE DESPITE WELL-MAINTAINED FACADE

EARLY WALL PAPER, MUMMIFIED RAT, AND "PLEASURE CLUB" INVITE FOUND RESTING ON WILLIAM SCHMIDT'S POST-FIRE COTTAGE SILL PLATES

THE DEATH OF A WOOD-FRAMED POST CHICAGO FIRE COTTAGE THROUGH SEQUENTIAL PICTURES

SALVAGING 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO COTTAGES AND THE WORK OF GORDON MATTA-CLARK

LATE 1870'S COMBINATION BRICK AND FRAME TWO-STORY BOARDING HOUSE PUNCTUATED WITH INCISED KEYSTONES REDUCED TO RUBBLE

REASSEMBLING FULL-SCALE 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO COTTAGE "SYSTEMS" AS STAND ALONE ART AND INFORMATIONAL EXHIBITION

YET ANOTHER HURON STREET WORKERS COTTAGE IN WEST TOWN SUCCUMBS TO THE RUTHLESSNESS OF THE WRECKING BALL

EXCAVATION OF TWO MID-19TH CENTURY WOOD FRAME COTTAGES ON ABERDEEN YIELDS HUNDREDS OF ARTIFACTS

ONE OF CHICAGO'S OLDEST COTTAGES, REPLETE WITH HEWN BEAMS, DISCOVERED THROUGH ITS UNTIMELY DEMISE

HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT MID-19TH CENTURY CHICAGO ABERDEEN STREET WOOD-FRAMED COTTAGE HIDDEN UNDER COUNTLESS MODIFICATIONS

IMPENDING DEATH OF A POST-FIRE COTTAGE COULD MAKE FOR A POP UP MUSEUM AKIN TO THE "RELIC HOUSE"

19TH CENTURY BRICK WORKERS COTTAGE ON PIERCE STREET STRUCK DOWN BY WRECKING MACHINE

LARGELY UNALTERED RICHARD MAURICE BIRDSALL POST-FIRE DOWNTOWN CHICAGO COTTAGES FACED WITH DEMOLITION

HIDDEN EPHEMERA IN A PARTIALLY DEMOLISHED 19TH CHICAGO COTTAGE'S RIDGE BOARD ASSISTS IN DATING STRUCTURE

DOCUMENTING 19TH CENTURY TIMBERS AND TRASH PITS SHORTLY AFTER DEMOLITION OF A CHICAGO COTTAGE

1860'S TWO-STORY GABLED FRONT WOOD-FRAMED CHICAGO COTTAGE CONSTRUCTED WITHOUT THE USE OF SHEATHING

DEMOLITION OF 1880'S RESIDENCE REVEALS EXTENSIVE USE OF SILL PLATE TENONS AND MORTICES REINFORCED WITH CHAMFERED WOOD PEGS

WALL CAVITY "INSULATION" GREATLY ASSISTS IN IDENTIFYING AGE OF 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO COTTAGES

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND METHODS CAREFULLY DOCUMENTED BEFORE AND DURING DEMOLITION OF 1860'S CHESTNUT STREET COTTAGE

A DEEPER ANALYIS OF THE LUMBER INDUSTRY AS IT PERTAINS TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF 19TH CENTURY WOOD-FRAMED CHICAGO COTTAGES

TROVES OF DATA PERTAINING TO MATERIALS AND METHODS COLLECTED FROM FIVE 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO COTTAGE IN NEARLY A WEEK'S TIME

THE IMPORTANCE OF CEDAR POSTS USED IN RELOCATING 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO STRUCTURES TIME AND AGAIN

THE LOSS OF AN 1860'S-1870'S WOOD COTTAGE ON HUBBARD STREET HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY

PEGGED MORTISE AND TENON JOINERY DISCOVERED IN TWO PRE-FIRE ERIE STEET WOOD FRAMED COTTAGES

AN AFTERNOON DOCUMENTING TURN OF THE CENTURY TRASH FOUND BENEATH A DEMOLISHED COTTAGES

POST-DEMOLITION INVESTIGATION OF WABANSIA STREET WORKERS COTTAGE AND A HISTORY OF ITS STRUCTURAL CHARACTERISTICS

EXCAVATED 19TH CENTURY SODA BOTTLES GREATLY ASSIST IN DATING A NON-EXTANT CHICAGO COTTAGE AND ITS PRIVY PIT

HIDDEN AND LARGELY ABANDONED CHICAGO WOOD-FRAMED WORKERS GABLEFRONT COTTAGE FACES DEMOLITION

REVISITING 19TH CENTURY RESIDENTIAL STUDS AND SILL PLATES HARVESTED FROM WORKERS COTTAGES ACROSS CHICAGO

DEMOLITION OF A BRICK WORKERS COTTAGE AT 1111 N. CAMPBELL REVEALS SILL PLATES, SUMMER BEAMS AND FACETED PEGS

LAST MINUTE DEMOLITION YIELDS HAND HEWN BEAMS, INCISED STONE AND BURIED BOTTLES

 

 

2454 W. THOMAS STREET BRICK WORKERS COTTAGE DEMOLISHED

USE OF WOODEN PEGS OR "TREENAILS" IN 19TH CENTURY CHICAGO BALLOON FRAME CONSTRUCTION MUCH MORE PREVALENT THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

DISCOVERY OF A MID-19TH CENTURY CHICAGO WOOD FRAMED COTTAGE WITH PEGGED LAP AND MORTISE AND TENON JOINTS

GROWING FRUSTRATION OVER ANOTHER WELL-MAINTAINED CHICAGO WORKERS COTTAGE BROUGHT DOWN BY THE WRECKING BALL

MORE MID-20TH CENTURY CHICAGO FRAMED WOOD COTTAGES DISCOVERED - THEN WRECKED

THE CHICAGO BALLOON FRAME: INTEGRATING HEAVY TIMBER AND DIMENSIONAL LUMBER IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN 1880'S RESIDENCE

REVISITING A TRANSPLANTED 1850'S CHICAGO WOOD-FRAMED BOARDING HOUSE ON OHIO STREET

ANOTHER TRANSPLANTED 19TH CENTURY WOOD-FRAMED HOUSE ON MOZART REDUCED TO RUBBLE IN A MATTER OF HOURS

DOCUMENTING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND METHODS OF A TRANSPLANTED 19TH CENTURY WORKERS COTTAGE

A TRANSPLANTED 19TH CENTURY VICTORIAN COTTAGE HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT: PART ONE

LATE 1880'S RED BRICK RICE STREET CHICAGO WORKER'S COTTAGE DEMOLISHED EARLIER THIS WEEK

HARVESTING HISTORIC BUILDING MATERIALS FROM YET ANOTHER 19TH CENTURY WOOD-FRAMED HOUSE DEMOLITION

ANOTHER MODEST PRE-FIRE CHICAGO BOARDING HOUSE HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT DEMOLISHED

DEMYSTIFYING THE HISTORY BEHIND A TWO-STORY WOOD FRAME COTTAGE DURING ITS DEMOLITION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOLITION OF HEAVILY MODIFIED 1885 CHICAGO BRICK WORKER'S COTTAGE WELL UNDERWAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALVAGING BUILDING MATERIALS FROM AN 1870'S CHICAGO TWO-STORY WORKER'S COTTAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A CHICAGO BRICK TWO-FLAT (1897) AND 1880'S WOOD-FRAME WORKER COTTAGE SALVAGE COMPLETED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEMOLITION OF THE JOHN KENT RUSSELL RESIDENCE IN PHOTOGRAPHS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN AFTERNOON OF EXPLORATORY SURGERY AT THE JOHN KENT RUSSELL (1855) RESIDENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

URBAN REMAINS ACQUIRES SALVAGE RIGHTS TO THE HISTORIC C. 1855 JOHN KENT RUSSELL HOUSE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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