I became involved with the renovation to “The Women’s Building”, a bungalow located at Byron and Hamlin in Independence Park at the request of 39th Ward Alderman Marge Laurino. For years she has thought about heading up a committee to get this bungalow renovated and needed some of the community residents to take it on as a project. I was new to the neighborhood, both of my parents grew up in bungalows and this particular bungalow just oozes with charm and possibilities. So I agreed.
The first thing I did was give the project a name, Independence Park Bungalow Renovation Project, and get it registered as a 501(c)(3) paving the way clear for donations. Since our first community meeting in July of 2006, we have been able to stir the interest of local architects, the Historic Chicago Bungalow Assn., the Chicago Park District, the Department of Housing and Department of Environment and our community. I soon learned that the building is a wonderful example of Arts and Crafts architecture. It is considered a “grand” bungalow. It is unique in that it is the only city-owned bungalow (owned by the Chicago Park District). With the emphasis on the bungalow initiative in the city as well as the greening of Chicago, this bungalow, once restored, will be able to serve as a model for bungalow owners throughout the city, state, entire mid-west. There are no models available to the public today.
The history of the bungalow is also interesting. It was given to the then Irving Park District in 1929 to be used as a Women’s Building. For many years it did function in that vain. Today, the building is used as a community center by many women’s groups, including our very own weavers, in addition to other activities such as music lessons and scouts. We hope to increase its use as a community center.
Having attended numerous planning sessions I have heard the many exciting possibilities that are possible for this renovation. But this will take a lot of money. So far, we have held several fund raisers and have received grants from some private donors. We continue to look for sources of funds or like/kind gifts of materials and labor. If this project is of interest to you, you can call the Independence Park Field House (773/478-3538) for a tour. To make a donation, make your check payable to IPBRP and mail it to me at 3854 N. Central Park, Chicago 60618. You will be added to the e-mail list and receive regular updates of our progress and invitations to our functions.
Independence Park Bungalow Renovation Project