Berwyn’s Central Bungalow District Has Made it Into The National Register!

According to a press release from the City of Homes Organization:

The Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District, roughly bounded by Cermak Road (north), 26th Street (south), Ridgeland Avenue (east) and Home Avenue (west), has been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service effective August 18, 2015.

bhs-riverside-drive-2013-sabine-kraussThe district is distinguished by its high architectural integrity and for its size. Homes within the district have maintained the historical character that dates to its development in the 1920s-1930s.  Of the 1,506 residential structures inventoried within the district, 1,360 are designated as “contributing,” making the Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District the largest such district in Illinois and one of the largest in the United States. This designation recognizes Berwyn as the location of one of the metropolitan area’s highest concentration of Chicago-style bungalows. In addition, the district is notable for its numerous variations of bungalow subtypes. Over 40 variations have been identified and documented in the district.  These characteristics are the basis upon which the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council unanimously recommended the district’s nomination at its June 19, 2015 board meeting.

The quest to pursue the National Register nomination began with the establishment of the City of Homes Organization (CoHo) in 2010. CoHo is an independent non-profit organization started by community members committed to advancing the idea that Berwyn is well positioned to become the primary destination in the Chicago area for families and individuals seeking an affordable, livable, walkable, location-efficient and transit-oriented community. Promoting and preserving Berwyn’s historical housing stock is a cornerstone of CoHo’s mission. With donor support and volunteer commitment, CoHo created the Berwyn Bungalow Preservation Initiative (BBPI) and completed the initial survey of Berwyn’s housing stock that was a catalyst to nominate the district.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places recognizes the historical and architectural significance of the district. It is meant to encourage preservation of the district through tax incentives to developers and property owners who rehabilitate their “contributing” property within the district. The incentive includes an eight-year freeze on property assessment for qualifying rehabilitation projects that total at least 25% of the property’s assessed value. An additional four-year period of adjusting assessments follows. In order to qualify for the incentives, Berwyn residents meeting the criteria must receive an approved Certificate of Rehabilitation request with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA).

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources deemed worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a federal program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect the country’s historic and archaeological resources. Listing on the National Register affords properties a measure of protection from the possible impact of federally funded projects. National Register listing does not automatically come with restrictions or design review requirements.  To learn more about the National Register of Historic Places please visit www.nps.gov/nr/

The Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District is Berwyn’s seventh entry to National Register of Historic Places, and its first district. Preceding this entry are the following properties:

  • Berwyn Suburban Station (680l W. Windsor Ave, also known as the Burlington Suburban Station, added 1982)
  • The Arthur J. Dunham House (3131 Wisconsin Avenue, added 1982)
  • Berwyn National Bank (6801 W. Cermak Rd, current home of Big Hurt Brewhouse, added 2000)
  • Berwyn City Hall (6700 W 26th Street, added 2001)
  • Berwyn Township Public Health District building (6600 West 26th Street, listed as “Berwyn Health Center,” added 2002)
  • The Mr. Robert Silhan House (3728 S. Cuyler, added 2007)

Our friends and neighbors in Berwyn are invited to join us for a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct 1, 2015 near Grove Ave. and Riverside Drive.  The ribbon cutting ceremony will be immediately followed by CoHo’s annual fundraiser at Big Hurt BrewHouse.  Additional details and CoHo fundraiser ticket availability will be posted on our website.  Connect with us at www.cityofhomes.org or www.facebook.com/cityofhomes.

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