More than a century old home on Leland to be demolished
by BRIAN NADIG
A house that is about 120 years old at 5334 W. Leland Ave. is about to have a date with the wrecking ball, as a developer plans to build two single-family homes on the 55-foot-wide lot.
When first built, the two-story structure was one of the most ornate homes in Jefferson Park, featuring a decorative roofline and a large front porch, according to the Northwest Chicago Historical Society.
At the time, the 10-room house was filled with modern luxuries, including plumbing, electric lights, a furnace and heated cement cellars, the society said.
In the early 1900s, owner Martin Stevers, a life insurance agent, listed the home for $5,500 but was unable to sell it and ended up living there for about 20 more years, the society said. While living there, Stevers rented a portion of the house to Lawrence Flanagan and his wife Grace. Stevers died on July 6, 1932, the society said.
In more recent years changes to the building’s facade resulted in the loss of its grandeur, and in 2018 the property attracted city inspectors following two shooting incidents on the block, according to the city Department of Buildings.
In one 2018 incident, a man was shot multiple times at about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the 5300 block of West Leland Avenue, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
Officers responded to a shooting and saw a man, who was age 28 at the time, being treated on a stretcher by paramedics for gunshot wounds to his left arm, chest, abdomen and legs, according to police.
A second man reported that while he was driving his vehicle with the man in the rear passenger seat, he heard gunshots at Long and Leland avenues and that his vehicle stopped operating on Leland, police said.
The officers reported that the driver started hyperventilating and he was transported to Community First Hospital for minor injuries, and that the wounded man was transported to Lutheran General Hospital in critical condition, according to police.
The officers reported that they discovered two bullet holes located in the driver’s side door of the man’s vehicle and that they located a handgun and shell casings, police said.
In 2019, inspectors issued a citation requiring the property to be registered with the city as a vacant building.
The property recently sold and a developer plans to build two houses on the parcel, according to a spokeswoman for Alderman James Gardiner (45th). A demolition permit is pending for the project, which does not require a zoning change, the spokesman said.