November 15, 2010

Early Description of Edgewater, Chicago, 1893.

From John J. Flinn's book Chicago, the marvelous city of the West: a history, an enyclopedia, and a guide, originally published in 1893.

Edgewater. Situated on the Evanston division of the Chicago, Milwaukee
& St. Paul railroad, XX miles from the City Hall, on the north shore of Lake Michigan, and within driving distance from the business center. Edgewater is one of the prettiest suburbs in the country. Its situation is charming. Commencing at the shore of the lake the land rises by a gentle and almost imperceptible slope till it reaches an elevation of from ten to twenty-five feet above the lake. Before the country was opened up the land was covered with a dense growth of trees. The ash, the elm, the white birch, the oak and the maple alike thrive and grow beautiful, nourished by the fertile soil.

Its founders bought 250 acres of land there in 1884, and gave the future town the name of Edgewater. It was at that time a wilderness of woods and underbrush. For nearly two years the work went on. Just enough of the original forest was cut down to admit of building and laying out streets. The streets were laid out sixty-six feet wide, and every one of them was macadamized. Between the street and the sidewalks, a broad space was left and sodded. Stone sidewalks were laid throughout and between the street and the walks, at distances of thirty-three feet, additional trees were set out. The matter of drainage was especially attended to. Competent engineers superintended the laying of the pipes underground, and every joint and connection was made tight before being covered up. Besides this care the system has been so devised that no objectionable encroachment can be made to the injury of the service. The matter of lighting was not neglected. A company was formed and an electric light plant put up at a cost of $60,000. It is the most complete for its size in the country. When the improvements were completed, one hundred houses were erected, costing from $5000 to $16000 exclusive of the lot. The architecture is varied and pleasing, Queen Anne and Colonial style being frequently used. The material used is brick, stone
and wood. An effort was made to avoid building any two houses alike, and hence a pleasing variety and contrast was obtained.

Edgewater has two handsome church structures. The Church of the Atonement is said to be the only correct Gothic church in the country. The material is red sandstone, and the interior decorations are both elaborate and elegant. The Epworth Methodist Episcopal Church is the handsomest structure of the denomination outside of the city. There is also a finely equipped and
graded school, to which educational facilities will be constantly added for
the benefit of the community. The public stable is one of the suburb's

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