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Decision 2006: Graystone? Or Greystone?

By Alicia Dorr in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 21, 2006 7:11PM

Because we just can’t get enough of the architectural beat this week, we bring you our third installment: Save the graystones!

Advocacy groups in the city will soon be announcing their intent to actively do just that with their Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative. Using the Historic Bungalow Initiative’s approach, the project will partner with the city to make it worth homeowners’ while ($$$) to renovate and keep up historic graystones, which are 04259815.jpgcharacterized by “ornately carved Indiana limestone” (Blair Kamin says it best, of course) and birthdates around the turn of the 20th century.

The initiative will also aim to rehab rundown graystones, because, as historians are saying, most graystones are still salvageable even when they are completely rundown because they weren’t shoddily made in the first place. You know, like the crappy condo buildings sprouting up like a virus all over the city nowadays (well, it’s true).

But don’t be concerned that this means they will be giving money to already affluent homeowners in Lakeview or anything like that. The initiative will be targeting North Lawndale first, which has about 1,700 graystones still intact, despite being a tougher neighborhood. The director and co-creator could have said that he knew this initiative could help the area bounce back, but instead he said, "I want North Lawndale to be known not for bad heroin but for exquisite graystones." We don’t think that means that he would want the area to be known for good heroin either, but we digress.

There are really no details available on how this will all work or play out, but, either way, we figure it’s a step in the right direction. We’re all for saving graystones; we just wish someone would tell us how to effing spell it.