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Portage Park Bungalow Belt One Step Away from Historic Designation

By Heather Cherone | September 16, 2014 5:40am
  The designation would free up grants, loans and tax credits for renovating homeowners.
Portage Park Bungalow Belt
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PORTAGE PARK — Federal approval — expected next month — is all that is needed to officially recognize a portion of Portage Park as a historic bungalow district. 

City and Chicago officials have approved from plans from the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association Portage Park to join 10 other Chicago neighborhoods — including North Mayfair and Irving Park Gardens — on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic bungalow district.

The designation could help owners of the homes, most of which were built nearly a century ago, get grants, loans and tax credits to renovate their properties, said bungalow association Executive Director Mary Ellen Guest.

"It is a point of pride to own a house in a historic district," Guest said. "Realtors tells us it boosts a home's values."

Heather Cherone says only a select area of Chicago's 80,000 bungalows would be affected:

The district would include most of the bungalows from Pensacola Avenue south to Berteau Avenue and from Lockwood Avenue west to Central Avenue. In that area, there are nearly 200 bungalows, most built between 1925 and 1926.

Once the Department of the Interior approves the designation, expected in mid-October, a community celebration will be held at Portage Park, Guest said.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks and the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council have approved the designation, which also has the support of Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th).

The designation won't stop owners of the brick homes — which are typically 1½ stories tall, trimmed in stone and feature low-pitched roofs with overhangs — from demolishing or changing the facade of their home, officials said.

There are nearly 80,000 bungalows in Chicago, instantly recognizable by their big windows and offset front or side entrances.

They make up nearly a third of all single-family homes in Chicago, according to the bungalow association.

For more Northwest Side news from Heather Cherone, listen here: