Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Surface Parking Lot Next Door

At the southeast corner of Madison and Idlewild, between my building and The Vine (formerly, the Idlewild Theatre), is a surface parking lot (see lower portion of photo below).  Based on aerial photographs from the 1930s and 1940s, it appears this lot has been a surface parking lot for at least 80 years.  But, it appears there was a time that someone wanted to develop it as a "higher and better use..."

That't my building on the left hand side.  The subject site is at the bottom of this photo.
In 1928, plans for this retail building were presented to the Board of Adjustment.  As it was located directly along the sidewalk, it required a setback variance from the Board.

Note the building's proximity to Madison Ave.  Also note the narrow route cars were required to take to get to the garages in the rear!

The very decorative commercial block was designed by Joe T. Wallace.

This three-page letter was presented to the Board by the applicant.

And this one-page petition was presented to the Board by opposing property owners in the vicinity of the site.

This Sanborn Insurance map from 1907 reveals the current surface parking lot was not always a vacant lot.  A house occupied part of the lot, which is located at the southeast corner of Idlewild and Madison.  According to this map, Madison was not paved in 1907.

This Sanborn Insurance map is from 1927, one year before the Board of Adjustment application above.  It appears the house at the southeast corner of Madison and Idlewild carved out its northern side yard, which was the extent of the retail strip's site.  Both parcels are now occupied by the existing surface parking lot.  1927 also marks the year before my apartment building was built (across the street at the southwest corner of Madison and Idlewild).  Note the large house that sat on that lot.  The apartment building next door to me (to the west) had already been built in 1927.