The president of Logan Square Preservation says that a barn at 2934 N. Wisner Ave. that dates back to the earliest days of Logan Square may have been demolished without a permit.
“It was an orange-rated structure identified in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, meaning that had the owner applied for a permit to demolish it, it would have been placed on the demolition delay hold list while its historic merits were evaluated,” says Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation.
Records from the city of Chicago’s historic resources survey said that an orange rating means the building “possesses potentially significant architectural or historical features.”
A search of Chicago building permits shows that no permit has issued for the barn’s demolition since 2006, which is as far back as the records go. Though Schneider says the barn may have been built in the late 19th century, records from the Cook County Assessor’s office say the barn is 96 years old, meaning it would have been built in 1918. The value of the land, according to the Assessor’s records, is $3,600 while the barn itself was most recently valued at $203.
Author Discovered Barn Was Gone
Jacob Kaplan, editor and co-founder of Forgotten Chicago, says he and two others are working on a book about the history of the neighborhood and one of his co-authors, Rob Reed, discovered the barn wasn’t there about three weeks ago. Kaplan says Reed called him and when he went to where the barn should have been, it was gone.
“All traces of it are gone,” Kaplan says. Kaplan adds that he was last in the alley where the barn was about a year ago and the barn was still standing. “I don’t know when it was last used.
A spokesperson for the city’s buildings department could not be reached for comment.
Barn Was A Window Into The Past
Kaplan and Schneider both say the barn dates back to the very beginnings of the neighborhood.
“It’s kind of reminiscent of the early days of Avondale,” Kaplan says. “It was probably built before the area was annexed into the city in 1889.”
Schneider agrees. “It’s a substantial loss to the shared history of the area,” he says.
“The barn was perhaps one of the oldest structures in the neighborhood, dating back to a time when Logan Square consisted of a few scattered residences and the early community of Avondale was the historical center of an area dominated by hay farms outside the limits of the city of Chicago,” says Schneider. “To see it demolished without any public notification, awareness or opportunity to document is very unfortunate. Given the right circumstances, the barn could even have been relocated nearby rather than demolished.”
Photo: Gabriel X. Michael