January 30, 2024

The Aladdin Massachusetts: a Distinctly Original Type

2128 N. 76th Court, Elmwood Park. Capture from Google Streetview.
The Aladdin Massachusetts. 

First sold in 1913, the Massachusetts was described in the Aladdin Houses catalog as "a distinctly original type following Swiss lines..." The cobblestones were optional.

Elmwood Park was incorporated as a village in 1914, and the house was built around that time.

A photo of the house taken in the 1940's. The porch was already enclosed by this time. The house retained its distinctive "claw" brackets and the bay window in the dining room. Photo courtesy of Linda Tetzlaff. 

Aladdin heavily marketed the Massachusetts model. It was featured on the front of the 1914 Aladdin Houses catalog as well as in numerous national publications.

The floor plan of the Massachusetts. Note that the Massachusetts has access to the upstairs from both the living room and kitchen. There is billiard room upstairs in lieu of a fourth bedroom. Closet space is sparse in the Massachusetts!

The living room of the Massachusetts, as shown in the 1913 Aladdin Houses catalog.

The living room staircase matches the one shown in the catalog. Recalls Linda Tetzlaff: "My mom and dad got married in the living room, so I included a photo of mom and her best friend on the sprawling staircase, with a seated area added to the left of the staircase." Photo courtesy of Linda Tetzlaff.

A front bedroom of the Massachusetts, as shown in the 1913 Aladdin Houses catalog. The small window is one of the two diamond muntin windows.


The original owners were Henry W. and Medora Boerner. Henry was a saloonkeeper, and his father George owned the same Chicago saloon in the 1870's. 

Not only did Henry build the Massachusetts, he also owned land in the immediate area--including the entire block the house sat on. 

Henry made statewide news when he sued Chicago Mayor William Hale Thompson and the Chicago chief of police in 1916. Henry sought an injunction against the Sunday closing law of saloons. He said his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when the city took his license fee and yet refused to let him run his business on Sundays.

Henry took his case to the Illinois Supreme Court. This was when the media took notice--if the court ruled in his favor, all saloons in the state could be open on Sundays. The court ruled that the mayor and chief of police had the right to close saloons on Sundays. Boerner continued to fight and in 1917 went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately affirmed the decision. 

After Medora died, Henry sold the Elmwood Park house and four lots to the Einar Johnsen family in 1936. Einar's granddaughter, Linda Tetzlaff, recalls that: "Because of the size of our home, it took up the entire lot, so the empty lot behind us was used as our backyard.  Plenty of room for parties and lots of fun times!"

Article courtesy of Linda Tetzlaff.

1 comment:

SearsHouseSeeker said...

What an impressive view that is, from the side!

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