Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shambhala Saga - Built in the 1900's

When I heard about the plans for the Shambhala Meditation Center to become an unappealing parking structure that, in my opinion, would destroy the ambiance of this section of Rogers Park, I took the information to Autumn, who looked over the information that she could find to try and turn 7331 North Sheridan Road into a historical landmark. According to the information she found, which was limited, it didn't seem like it was possible. 

We took this information to the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce board, and there, things came into focus. Autumn Davids, the Secretary of the Chamber, put together a letter that was sent to Rogers Park Solutions, with attention to Colonel J.N. Pritzker.

The Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce proposed that 7331 N. Sheridan Road, instead of being razed and replaced, be converted into a business incubation program so that home based businesses and entrepreneurs could learn their way around the regular running of a business and it's associated fees before moving in to their own storefront.

After the submission of the letter, the Chamber then decided to take this idea to SEED Chicago, and gave them their goal of creating a business incubation program as well, trying to get funding behind the project.

When Mary Parthe contacted the Chamber, their was a bit of phone tag before any conversation occurred  Mary Parthe then suggested that one of their other locations would better benefit this end and then suggested the Chamber work with the Rogers Park Business Alliance

On Apri 23rd, both Autumn and myself, as representatives for the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, attended the Rogers Park Builders Group where Mary Parthe was speaking. Their, we waited while they went through the details of the parking structure, which should be made available on the Rogers Park Builders Group's website, until questions were asked for. 

Then, I stood up and mentioned the currently available and unused parking lots that were available, and some of the businesses that rent out spaces. I announced that the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce is against this structure before sitting and listening to the other inquiries. 

Since, at this point, there doesn't seem to be much that can be done, I would like to share over the next several days Susan Olin's well thought out article in excerpts. 

Excerpt from "7331 N. Sheridan Road" Mansion (the "Shambhala Meditation Center") by Susan Olin.

source: Stop the Lakefront Car Tower (Saturday, April 13th, 2013 blog post)

The mansion at 7331 N. Sheridan (currently the Shambhala Meditation Center) is a lovely, 95-year old, Prairie-school style home. It is constructed with cream-colored brick and now colorfully-painted, wood trim. This luxury home has large, lush green spaces for its front-yard and side-yards. In addition, the home is surrounded by many large, leafy trees. In fact, this is the last remaining Sheridan Road mansion in Rogers Park south of Jarvis Avenue.

This historic, beautiful home has a unique story and has served several uses over its lifetime which many people remember. So why are we throwing all this away? For an unsightly, 250-car, lakefront parking garage with no setbacks? To be built by a billionaire who claims to be a preservationist and who could readily re-purpose this beloved mansion given his other multi-million dollar projects? This makes no sense. More . . .

Like all the mansions on Sheridan Road in Chicago, the residence at 7331 N. Sheridan has a colorful and enlightening history. Truly, one mansion can provide great insight into history. To start with, like many pre-1920 Chicago residences, no building permit is on record for 7331 N. Sheridan, which would list the architect and construction date. By 1914 however, commercial insurance maps show the home where it stands today. Moreover, as early as June 1918, Chicago Tribune articles report about the home’s original long-time residents.

It appears then, that the 7331 N. Sheridan home was constructed about the same time as the nearby 1915 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed “Emil Bach home”. Indeed, the Shambhala mansion helps “tell the story” of the Bach house and why a Frank Lloyd Wright house is located here on the Far North Side. The Shambhala mansion, two blocks south, was also a part of, and helps illustrate the early 1900s era when this stretch of Sheridan Road was a posh locale like the North Shore is today."

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