August 20, 2013

A Sad Sears Osborn in Roseland

Chicago cops will tell you Roseland is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. The Far South Side community has problems with unemployment, poverty, gangs, and prostitution. There are frequent news stories about the gun violence in Roseland

However, the residential architecture speaks to the fact that at one time Roseland was a thriving area. Take, for instance, this Sears Osborn. It is a mess today, but as recently as 10 years ago it was an cozy Craftsman bungalow.


602 W. 115th St., Chicago. House in the mid-2000's. Still looking good! Photo courtesy of Jerry Pittman's Chicago.



Sears Osborn. Sears said that the Osborn "will appeal to the lover of nature" because of the three porches (one on the rear of the house).



This Sears Osborn was built in 1918 or 1919 by Henry Heath, a local carpenter, and his wife, Maud. The Heaths lived in the house until at least 1923. 

By 1928, the residents were Ralph H. and Isabelle Coe. When Ralph listed the Osborn for sale in 1943, the real estate ad called it "Roseland's most distinctive bungalow."

The house changed hands a few times in subsequent years. Dr. Angelo Ravasi, a noted surgeon, and his wife Rosa owned the house from the mid-1950's until 1976 when Rosa passed away.

Photo of the house taken during an architectural survey in the early 1970's.





Around 1979, Carolyn Glass moved into the house. She lived there until 2006 when she sold, fearing for her safety.

The house went into foreclosure in December 2012.

 The front porch today.


















View of the dining room door. The Osborn had two styles of pillars.







The living room today.


The living room of the Osborn as featured in the 1918 catalog.



Beautiful front door is still there.




The architect of the Osborn is Andrew F. Hughes.






2 comments:

Unknown said...

So sad. Such a solidly-built house with lovely features that are not utilized in today's modern structure, unless you pay a pretty penny to have them custom made. Not to even mention the fact that the home had seen better days in a thriving community neighborhood. Has the house been vandalized, or is the interior damage due to roof deterioration, do you know, Lara? In this day and age of such a great need for low-cost housing, just think of what could be done with these wonderful homes, if they are still structurally sound. Philanthropists could do so much good by repairing them, making them fit for use for one of the desperate homeless families. However, the criminal activity in the area would have to be completely eliminated before families with children could acquire these homes. Neighborhood stores would need to be repaired, cleaned up, and stocked with affordable goods, and would need to be situated within walking distance of homes. Neighborhood schools would certainly need to be structurally repaired, and the school district would need an influx of eager, young teachers plus experienced educators with excellent reputations. No nepotism like we have here in Luzerne County, PA. No hiring of incompetents because of connections. You might shudder to realize how many teachers and administrators in the school systems do not even like children! I think that we would need a total revamping of current educational and sociological systems to accomplish my dreams of creating decent homes and neighborhoods for those who would truly value them! This vision of mine could become a reality if the right folks put the future of the next generation, who are the very future life blood of our beloved country, at utmost priority! I did not intend to write such a lengthy message, but my heart is aching when I see photos of run-down, but once proud, Sears kit homes, and juxtaposed, photos of parents who only want a safe, decent life for their precious children! Thank you, Lara, for permitting me to voice my dreams. Peace be with you and yours! Fondly, Elaine P. Lessack

Lara Solonickne said...

Well, Elaine, here's the deal.

House has been owned by this owner since 2005. She bought it from Mrs. Glass, and things went downhill after that. This owner was in foreclosure in 2011, but I do not believe the house is currently owned by a bank.

In 2012, the house was boarded up, but homeless people were living inside and someone made a 311 call to the city. (So that's likely when the damage to the inside occurred.)

In March 2018, the city cited her for not registering the house as vacant. That means, the owner not only has to pay property taxes, but additional fees because the house is vacant.

The owner is not behind in paying property taxes.

I was wondering how the city has let this negligence go on for so many years, but it looks like the address is wrong in the city database as 604 rather than 602. That may have been how it slipped through the cracks.

I have no idea why this woman would not have sold the house years ago.

There is a new-ish organization called the Cook County Land Bank that uses public funds to fix up and resell abandoned houses. Unfortunately Roseland is not in the selected list of communities where the CCLB operates.

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