1770 W Berteau

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1770 West Berteau Avenue

Architect F. E. Davidson designed this building at an estimated cost of $150,000 in 1919. Is a beautifully designed commercial building. Window bays articulated in a variety of ways, including stepped brickwork, cut stone and terra cotta. Note carved limestone detail, especially over the entrance, and copper detail of string course, clock surround tower. Note also contrasting brown brick in spandrels. Cornice removed? This building, particularly its south facade when seen from a distance, has a monumental articulation of the classical order of base, column and capital. Unusually fine industrial design.
Note the concealed water reservoir located in the tower and topped with the clock. Looking up Ravenswood Avenue you can see a number of other industrial buildings that do not conceal their water tanks with similarly elegant design.


The Progress Company, the original owner, was a publishing house. The Deagan Company appears to have bought the building in 1912 after the bankruptcy of Progress. The Deagan Company manufactured tubular chimes and orchestral instruments for theater pipe organs for clients throughout the world and Chicago. Deagan chimes are in local churches, such as the Ravenswood Presbyterian Church we visited earlier in the tour., as well as in the Wolford Memorial Tower in Lincoln Park near Waveland Golf Course. The company’s orchestral instruments are in the pipe organs of the Chicago Theater, the Granada Theater and the Uptown Theater.
In the 20th Century East Ravenswood, especially Ravenswood Avenue, became the site for a number of factories, but it did not start out that way. The first factory in Ravenswood was the Cubley Musical Instrument Factory opened on the southwest corner of Ashland and Sunnyside in 1872. But residents of East Ravenswood, led by Robert Bennett, complained about a factory in their fashionable residential neighborhood. Finally in 1880 Bennett arranged what Guy Cubley called a “double trade,” and Cubley moved his factory to Wolcott Avenue on the other side of the railroad tracks.
By the 1870’s and 1880’s East Ravenswood Avenue was the local business district with grocery stores, a meat market, a post office, and a drug store, among other shops and offices. But even in the 1880’s the street had lumber yards and commercial stables above Wilson Avenue.


CCL Survey; Recorder of Deeds Office. Permits are #11600 (5/21/1909; 13543 (7/29/1909); 9579 (3/5/1909; and 19272 (3/25/1910).


Continue the tour to 4147 North Ravenswood Avenue.

  1. Continue west to the corner, about 136′.
  2. Cross Berteau, heading south. The next building with an entrance on Ravenswood is your destination, about 121′.
  3. Click the ‘Continue the Tour’ button below when you’ve reached your destination.


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