Glendale Park Historic District
The Glendale Park Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2016, The Gombach Group.
Glendale Park was platted on August 10, 1905. It is situated between Hohman Avenue and the Illinois state line, about a mile and a quarter south of the commercial center of Hammond. When the addition was platted it was located just inside the southwest corner of the city limits. The areas to its west and south were still rural farm land with the small German farmer community of Saxony located about a mile to the southeast. The entrance to Glendale Park was located at the southern terminus of a two mile long street car line that had been established in 1892 providing transportation into the cities commercial center.
Glendale Park incorporates many of the concepts of the City Beautiful Movement that grew out of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. American cities, due to industrialization, had grown very fast in the early nineteenth century increasing in population by 700 percent, from around 500,000 in the 1830s to 3.8 million by the time the Civil War started in 1861. The growth of these cities was haphazard at best with residential, mercantile, and industrial structures intermixed on the landscape. No one could escape the squalor. Seeking a solution to these problems the suburban movement began. But even the new suburbs often over time followed the same established pattern. Because of this suburban movement the cities feared they were losing their central position, power, wealth and significance to the suburban growth taking place outside their city limits. At the turn-of-the-twentieth-century the City Beautiful Movement was a nationwide trend in urban planning with the hopes of rectifying the decay and demoralization of communities through the beautification of the city. Its proponents believed that the use of high aesthetics in the design of their cities would imbue the city dwellers with a moral and civic virtue. They believed that by beautifying an urban area with wide, elegant avenues, carefully planned landscape designs, and opulent buildings, the pride of the city would be restored, and inner cities would maintain their central position within the expanding community.
Glendale Park was the first suburban addition to the city of Hammond not to use a rigid right angle grid. The planners of the district platted large, spacious lots as opposed to the narrow width city lots that were common throughout the rest of the city. This addition was laid out with an oval parkway built around a large central plaza with wide and deep residential lots giving the suburb a more relaxed and open atmosphere. Its layout was designed and constructed with limited access with a main entrance on Hohman and a secondary entrance, until 1941, at the west end opening onto Stateline Avenue. In many ways Glendale Park resembles an extra wide boulevard. The addition's limited access provided it with a great deal of privacy and exclusivity, setting the district apart from any previous developments in Hammond. Glendale Park was not laid out using the natural contours of the land to create a "picturesque" landscape as promoted by early suburban advocates such as Andrew Jackson Downing and later by Frederick Law Olmstead and used in residential developments such as Llewellyn Park, New Jersey, and Riverside, Illinois.
The region surrounding Glendale Park was primarily flat with a shallow undulating landscape created when the area was under the ancient Lake Michigan. The Northwest Ordinance in 1787 eliminated the troublesome metes and bounds system of survey that had been in use in colonial America and earlier in Europe which had relied upon landmarks to develop and measure a property's boundary. The Northwest Ordinance introduced the linear method of survey from which all properties could be measured using navigational and mathematical techniques primarily using the east/west and north/south compass points that created the grid on a map. This linear method of surveying simplified the process. It helped prevent overlapping property claims and boundary disputes. But, it made easier the introduction of a grid pattern onto the landscape. This often made a picturesque landscape more difficult. In the cities the linear grid with its right angles did not provide for much in the application of aesthetics without major adjustments.
The layout design of Glendale Park follows closely a train of thought put forward by landscape architect Maxmillian G. Kern. Kern believed the linear grid system could be improved providing many of the aesthetics created by Downing and Olmstead using their curvilinear picturesque. Kern was a midwestern landscape designer who continually came into conflict with the linear gridiron system of survey that had been placed upon the Midwest by law. In 1884 Kern put forward his ideas in a book entitled, Rural Taste in Western Towns and Country Districts and then applied his concepts to the Forest Park Addition to St. Louis in 1887. It used limited access, private streets and landscaped boulevard medians to create an exclusive upscale neighborhood. Glendale Park applies the same layout except on a smaller scale.
The two-and-a-half acre central park/plaza within Glendale Park was designed as residential communal property. Though it was deeded to the city of Hammond, the chore of its maintenance was to be divided up by the district's residents. When originally laid out the district had entrances on both Hohman Avenue, at its east end, and onto Stateline Avenue at its west end. The west entrance was closed in 1941 due to frequent automobile crashes at the intersection. When platted in 1905 Glendale Park was at the southern terminus of the city streetcar line and to accommodate the residents of the development a small brick waiting station was built. [See: Streetcar Suburbs: 1888-1928] This structure had been removed by 1915. With the exception of the sealing off of the west entrance and the removal of the street car waiting station the layout of the addition remains today as it was first laid out in 1905. Glendale Park was and is an exclusive and private enclave for its residents. The property on which Glendale Park is situated was purchased from the Zachau estate in 1903 for $10,000. It was platted on August 10, 1905, by Gostlin, Meyn and Company, a real estate firm created a couple of years earlier by combining the individual real estate interests of W. H. Gostlin, Peter W. Meyn and Alexander Murray Turner, all of whom would buy lots, and two would build, within the addition.
A newspaper article dated February 7, 1907, indicates that some form of covenant was to be entered into by the property owners stating that the individual owners will be responsible for their own property's landscaping as well as for a portion of the cost of the central park/plaza and setting guidelines as to how this is to be done. A review of the Lake County deed records shows that the first lot, lot 17 or address 60, was sold to William F. Brid9e, the Lake County Surveyor, on January 5, 1906, but he would never build or reside in the development. It was he who had signed off on the original plat six months before. A year would pass before anymore lots were sold. The largest group of sales took place in March of 1907, when six lots were sold, three more would be sold by October, 1907, and all of the original lots had been sold by May of 1915.
The Glendale Historic District was created for the Hammond elite. The homes in the district are large and set upon spacious lots all sharing a wide common set back. They surround a large landscaped central plaza and the houses constructed around it reflected the prominent position that their owners held in Hammond. The district's houses are representative of several styles popular in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Several are the works of local master architects J.T. Hutton and A.G. Berry. The homes in the district are unique and individual in their construction. There are other examples of these styles located within the city of Hammond. Individual examples can be found placed throughout the city. Many of these today, however, have been altered over the years and are not representative of their original construction and their original historic neighborhood settings are gone. However, the ones located within the Glendale Park Historic District have been well maintained as has the central park/plaza. The district provides a cohesive presentation of how the addition would have appeared during its era of significance.
The first house in Glendale Park was built at #57 by John N. Beckman in 1907. Three others were built in 1907 at #'s 17, 45, and 51 Glendale Park. Their sequence of completion is not known. The next houses built were at #'s 18, 22, and 21 were all built in 1910. In 1912 the house at #44 was built. Its date of construction is not recorded but the 1911-12 city directory shows it occupied by the property owner at its time of publication. The house at #41 Glendale Park was built according to the tax assessment records in 1915. This can also be seen in the 1915 Sanborn Fire Insurance map in Appendix B. The next house built was at #38 in 1916. This would be the last house built in the addition until after WWI was over. In 1921 construction began again with construction at #64 and #60; they were completed in 1922. Also in 1922 #50 was constructed. The last house built in Glendale Park before the 1960s would be at #33 which was built in 1926. This left only three undeveloped lots in Glendale Park and they would not be utilized for almost forty years when a home was built at #30 and a four unit apartment house/condo was built on #63. The thirteen contributing houses represent Glendale Park during its era of significance from 1907-1960.
During its period of significance Glendale Park was an upscale residential district that housed many of the people that had a direct effect upon the growth of Hammond in the area of commerce and social history. When George Hammond moved his entire operation from Hammond in 1903 after a fire destroyed it the business and financial association of many of the residents formed the organizations and alliances that would help Hammond survive into the future. Many of these men would eventually reside in Glendale Park. A review of the inhabitants of this period demonstrates this interconnection. Most of the pre-World War I occupants were associated with each other in banking and real-estate and legal activities. Belman, Turner, and Meyn were all officers in the First National Bank of Hammond. Turner, Beckman and Meyn were partners in Gostlin, Meyn and Company, and L.L. Bomberger was the attorney for the organization.
Their efforts attracted the Standard Steel Car Company of Lyndora, Pennsylvania, to open up a Midwest manufacturing operation in Hammond in 1906. This became the city's largest employer eventually creating 5000 jobs. Without these men pulling together their finances Hammond may not have survived too far into the twentieth century. Two of the lots in the neighborhood during this period were sold to the Lyndora Land Improvement Company, a subsidiary of Standard Steel Car who built homes for its management team in the district in 1908. The district filled out between 1914 and 1926 attracting several other bankers such as Frank Hammond of the Hammond Savings and Trust, Julius Meyn, Peter Meyn's son, of the First Trust and Savings Bank, Benjamin Strong of Maywood Trust and Savings. During this time it became the home of several owners and officers of industries located in Hammond: William Wilke, president of Hammond Lead Products; H.A. Poppenhusen, engineer at Hammond Lead Products; John F. Beckman, president of Home Lumber Company; William Tangerman, president/owner of Keith Railway Equipment Company; Alfred Wilcox, treasurer of W. B. Conkey Publishing Company; Taylor E. Winthrop, vice president of Taylor Chain Company; Emil Eislet, manager of Standard Steel Car. Glendale Park was also home to several of the early officers of the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO): manager W.D. Ray, vice president B.S. Walters, and CEO Dean Mitchell, all lived within the district during the first half of the twentieth century. The district also housed many professionals such as the doctors Kuhn, Howard and Gillis. The district also housed three members of the Crumpacker family, all attorneys and related to Dean Crumpacker the United States Congressman from Valparaiso, Indiana. Many of these families remained in the district into the 1950s, 60s and beyond.
† Gregg Abell, Partners in Preservation, Inc., Glendale Park Historic District, Lake County, Indiana, nomination document, 2011, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.