LOGAN SQUARE — Neighbors can learn about Logan Square’s historical workers cottages during an upcoming tour led by a local historian.
The Chicago Workers Cottage Initiative, a group formed to promote the preservation of workers cottages across Chicago, is hosting a series of free Logan Square tours in October to highlight workers cottages in the neighborhood and their ties to the city’s history.
The first two tours — Oct. 9 and 15 — sold out. To meet the demand, the group’s co-founder, Matt Bergstrom, added a third tour date.
The tour, led by Bergstrom, kicks off 2 p.m. Oct. 22 and will last about 90 minutes. To reserve a spot, email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workers cottages were built for working-class Chicagoans between the 1850s and late 1910s. The narrow, gable-roofed homes dot neighborhoods across the city, including Logan Square and Avondale.
Many workers cottages in gentrifying Logan Square have been torn down in recent years and replaced with modern condos or single-family homes.
Bergstrom documented the changes on Lyndale Street with a project called Lost Houses of Lyndale.
For the tours, Bergstrom is taking neighbors to Albany Street and Whipple Street, where there’s a solid collection of workers cottages that are still standing, he said.
The aim of the events is to educate neighbors about the history of workers cottages in Logan Square and Avondale and push for the preservation of the 19th century homes.
One of the featured homes was occupied by an impressionist painter, and another was home to an alderman and state senator, Bergstrom said. Many people who lived in workers cottages around when they were built weren’t “anybody famous … but they were interesting characters in their time,” he said.
Last year, the Chicago Workers Cottage Initiative teamed up with students in the historic preservation department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to document the loss of workers cottages in the Logan Square area. The preservationists hope the city will use the data to craft policies that protect against teardowns.
The tours are an extension of that work.
“It’s a good way to show off what the houses are like, and get people excited about them,” Bergstrom said.
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