Bungalows Get Historic Status in West Ridge

You may say Maribeth Brewer and Jo Stavig are bonkers for bungalows.   These two West Ridge residents (friends and neighbors) are intent on gaining National Register Bungalow Historic Status for the majority of the bungalows in the West Ridge neighborhood.   In gaining Historic Status, bungalow owners who spend at least 25% of their home’s value in rehabilitation are provided property tax relief.   To accomplish this and with the help of volunteers, Brewer and Stavig had to photography over 240 homes and garages in the area, as well as comb through endless data on microfiche at the UIC library.

Both women restored their own West Ridge bungalows almost to their original glory.   They agree that it was not for the faint of heart.   First they had to undo the restoration efforts that owners during the 60’s had done.   “In doing so, they removed the jewelry of the house,” says Brewer.   Three stained glass windows had been removed and replaced with Lannon Stone filling.   Then they had to remove a non-working fireplace and the work just continued from there.

In Spring of 2003 the pair decided to create a grass roots movement to get area bungalow owners together to discuss bungalow renovation, plants, masonry, plumbing and preservation.   Sixteen residents attended the first WRBN (West Ridge Bungalow Neighbors) meeting.   The result was a commitment from all to assist each other in preserving and appreciating these homes.

In their work getting the West Ridge bungalows registered, they discovered that the National Register requires a number of bungalows per block.   Ironically, that eliminated their homes.   That did not stop Brewer and Stavig though, who are committed to helping others get their historic district designation.

Reprinted from WRBN Blog

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