The lovely historic red brick Carbit Paints building at 2942 W. North Avenue built around 1910, just east of Humboldt Boulevard and across from Humboldt Park, was demolished in early January, 2018.
With its original red brick, arched windows and clay tile roof, the North Avenue building was a “beautiful example of the craftsman buildings all around Humboldt Park,” according to Andrew Schneider, President of Logan Square Preservation.
When news of the impending demolition broke, the preservation community mounted an earnest, rapid response effort to prevent the demolition, or at least, to save the historic façade. The developer, Wilmot Properties, had little interest in considering an alternate approach to their plans. In place of this highly decorative, historic building will be built a non-descript six-story apartment block.
“Why should we demolish an existing building with a great amount of character when there’s vacant land less than a block away?” asked Schneider.
No zoning change was required and the building had no historic protections. 1st Ward Alderman Joe “Proco” Moreno supported the development. He cited asbestos related issues as a primary reason that adaptive reuse or saving the façade was not possible.
Though the building was never designated as a Chicago Landmark, it was considered historically significant by the National Register of Historic Places and listed as a ‘contributing building’ in both the Logan Square Boulevards National Register Historic District and the Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District. This listing clearly established its architectural significance and importance to the surrounding National Register District.
Additionally, this building was originally included in the “Logan Square Boulevards Chicago Landmark District” that would have provided protection against demolition, but the final Landmark District boundaries were adjusted to more closely conform to aldermanic ward boundaries which left the Carbit Building without the protection it deserved.
Carbit Paints was founded Lester Westerman in 1925, and manufactured and sold paint at the North Avenue building between 1942 and 1955. Then Carbit Paints expanded to a new location at the Chicago River and Blackhawk Street, with sections of the building designed by Louis Sullivan for the Euston & Company Linseed Oil Plant and the Chicago Linoleum Company. Carbit Paints continued to use the North Avenue building as a wholesale factory outlet until 2015.