“The Insider's Guide” Of Where To Go And What To Do In Chicago
If strolling down Alta Vista Terrace feels a little more like you’re in London, then Samuel Gross, a real-estate developer, accomplished his goal. At the end of the 19th century, he took a trip to the UK city and loved the rowhouse design in Mayfair (a specific region of London). He loved them so much he decided to recreate them in Wrigleyville with the help of architect Joseph C. Brompton in 1904.
This transporting effect is a beautiful sight on a sunny day with the homes being mirrored images of each other. Each of them—forty in all, twenty on each side of the street—has been carefully kept up to maintain the effect. However, the western half of the homes, when observed from the back, are somewhat drastically different from one another. Each house is a two-story single-family home and is around 24 feet wide and 40 feet deep. Despite their similarities, the rowhouses were built using many different architectural techniques including Gothic arches and Palladian windows. They are all made with Roman brick with the exception of 4 greystone houses in the center.
Alta Vista Terrace has two claims to fame. The first is that a variety of the rich and famous live on “the street of forty doors,” including models and socialites. These houses certainly are not cheap and are usually more than half a million but there are only a couple of listings a year, if any. The second, one that may last longer than the fame of its residents, is that Alta Vista Terrace was the first Historic District named in Chicago in 1971.
Of course, it is free to walk down Alta Vista Terrace and easy to find as the houses sit on an avenue named after them between Byron and Grace street. You will find a Chicago Landmark plaque at the end of the street mentioning its significance.