Edgewater’s Ken Nordine Mansion became a city landmark after a preservation effort

EDGEWATER – The home of the late oral creation artist Ken Nordine became a Chicago landmark on Wednesday, a year after it was demolished and a community effort was launched to save the mansion.

City council voted on Wednesday to grant historic monument designation to the majestic Edgewater Mansion, successfully ending efforts to save the home from redevelopment.

Nordine, a famous jazz poet and voice actor, lived in the corner house at 6106 N. Kenmore Ave. until his deaths in 2019 at the age of 98. The last single-family home in a mid-rise building, the Nordine Estate put the mansion up for sale and, in early 2020, sought to demolish the house.

Because the house was listed as “potentially important” in the city’s historical survey, the demolition permit application triggered a 90-day deadline to see if its demolition would be appropriate. The action also caused Edgewater’s neighbors to rally around the house’s preservation.

RELATED: Edgewater Mansion, home of late jazz poet Ken Nordine, at the heart of the struggle for preservation

The city extended the house’s preliminary landmark status in March, preventing attempts to demolish it. In July, the house was sold for $ 1.375 million to Richard Logan and Angela Spinazze.

The Logan Family Foundation supports jazz, the arts, and preservation efforts. The owners have signaled their intention to preserve the Edgewater home, the Block Club previously reported.

“We are thrilled,” said Bob Remer, president of the Edgewater Historical Society, when the house was sold. “The community really came together to make this happen. “

Credit: Word Jazz
Ken Nordine

The house was built in 1902 by architectural firm Pond and Pond, home to some of the most notable architects in Chicago history. It was built for industrialist Herbert Farrington Perkins.

Built in the arts and crafts style, the house is one of the last first generation mansions to be built in the early years of Edgewater, according to a municipal assessment of the house.

Nordine purchased the house in 1951. He used an in-house studio to record some of his most notable works of art, including Grammy-nominated “Stare With Your Ears,” a spoken word album that features evident Nordine’s unique blend of rhythmic poetry and jazz music, called “Word Jazz”.

Although it is said to have some maintenance issues, the house is a holdover from the once pictured Lake Edgewater mansion bedroom community, conservation advocates have said.

“This building helped me understand what this neighborhood was like before its rapid change,” Maurice Cox, commissioner of the city’s planning and development department, said at a meeting of the committee on the fate of the House.

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