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Chicagoist Wayback Machine: City of Immigrants

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 7, 2007 2:00PM


This week, we're taking another visit back to our childhood stomping grounds on the Northwest side. But we're going way back, waaayyy back to 1917. Our father's side of the family immigrated to America from Greece four years earlier, settling in Greektown. Our mother's side of the family was at least a decade away from moving to the East Village from Virginia. The photo you're looking at at the top of this entry is a shot of the home of Laughlin Falconer on the 3000 block of North Cicero Avenue in 1917.

Falconer was a Scottish immigrant and farmer. The land around him was prairie when he decided to plant roots there in the mid-1800s. By the early part of the 20th century that prairie was transformed into a blend of industrial, commercial and residential parcels as part of the Northwest side's "Bungalow belt." Between 1915 and 1925 a total of 341 bungalows were built around Falconer's home, centered around the 4900 block of West Oakdale.

Today the Falconer Historic Bungalow District is listed as a historical district by both the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois and the National Register of Historic Places. The district's boundaries are Wellington, Diversey, Laramie, and Lamon Avenues. Falconer also has an elementary school named after him at 3020 N. Lamon. As for the location of his old homestead at Cicero and Wellington, you'll find some gas stations, a used car lot, a corner tavern, a gigantic meat market and some mom-and-pop businesses. It's a far cry from what it looked like in Falconer's twilight years, not to mention when he first settled the land.

Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum.