4447 North Hermitage Avenue
Excellent shingle style house, employing a variety of different shingle and clapboard materials. Also note the stained glass and the delicate, restrained front porch. The elegance and sophistication of this building’s design suggests that it was designed by an architect, but we have not been able to identify him.
Although an upstairs wall was signed by a painter in 1890, this house appears to be one of seventeen Levi C. Pitner built in Ravenswood between 1884 and 1886. Pitner was a real estate developer from Evanston. A local newspaper recorded the prices for Pitner’s homes at $3,000 to $5,000, but Pitner charged more for this elegant home: $5,400. He sold it to Albert Sinclair, a depot master of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad, in November 1884.
The local train depot was just south of the firehouse on Ravenswood Avenue between Wilson and Sunnyside. In the 1870’s the trains were the most efficient transportation to Chicago, but not the only transportation. A small steam engine with a single car ran on Clark Street between Graceland Cemetery and Fullerton Avenue where passengers could transfer to a street car. If residents had a carriage, they could drive down Lincoln Avenue or Clark Street to Chicago. By 1887 the North Chicago Street Railway had laid a double line of street car tracks on Clark Street from Diversey to Lawrence. Other improvements followed, but it was not until 1907 that what is now called the Brown Line was opened.
In addition to his work at for the railroad, Sinclair found time for politics. After Lake View became a city in 1887 he ran for and was elected alderman of this ward.
A long-time owner was A. Melville Hudson a dentist with offices in the area. Owners of the house still had signs for Hudson’s office in the 1990’s.
The kitchen (little changed since construction) was used in the 1992 film “The Babe,” for which outdoor filming was done on the 4100 block of Paulina Street.
Recorder of Deeds Office; 1900, 1910 Censuses. No permit. Historical records.
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