“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has approved a preliminary landmark designation of the Phoebe and John Gray House in Irving Park. Located at 4362 W. Grace, the 1850s home is a two-story wood-frame Italianate-style residence with a third-story cupola.
“Meeting Criterion 1 for its value as an example of city, state, or national heritage, the Gray House represents the Irving Park neighborhood’s early stage as rural farmland in Jefferson Township, prior to annexation by the City of Chicago. The Gray House’s proportions and large corner lot harken back to a time preceding the advent of suburban subdivisions. The juxtaposition of the Gray House with the repeating pattern of standardized house lots that surround it speaks to the development of Chicago’s ‘railroad suburbs’ in the 19th century.
“Also meeting Criterion 4 for its exemplary architecture, the home is an excellent example of 19th-century mail-order pattern-book architecture, a design and distribution method popularly used in suburban development. It is a great example of residential architecture in the Italianate style, an architectural style of great significance in the history of Chicago and the United States. It possesses numerous features distinctive to the style, including its asymmetric footprint, arcaded porches, arched-header windows, shallow-gabled roofs, overhanging eaves supported by cornice brackets, balustraded balconies, and a three-story tower with cupola.
“With the preliminary landmark recommendation approved, the building is shielded from demolition. The commission staff will prepare a landmark report before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks votes on a final landmark recommendation that would then send the designation to City Hall to get approvals from the Committee on Zoning and City Council.” (Kugler, Urbanize Chicago, 10/8/23)
Preservation Chicago enthusiastically supports the preliminary Chicago Landmark designation of the Phoebe and John Gray House in Irving Park. Preservation Chicago testified in support during the Commission on Chicago Landmarks hearing.
Irving Park has a wonderful stock of historic homes that deserve greater recognition and protection. Preservation Chicago advocated with urgency with neighborhood preservation partners for the John Nuveen House built in 1892 that was threated with demolition before being designated a Chicago Landmark in 2019.