In January 1929 Chicago real estate developer Erick Nelson Linn put on the market 50 Hollywood Park duplex homes, more commonly known as two-flats. It must not have seemed like much of a risk. Linn had been putting up the same buildings in the area for nearly ten years:
[Linn] completed forty apartment buildings of similar size last year  and in the last seven or eight years has built up fifteen square blocks in bungalows and apartments representing an investment of some $5,000,000. (Chicago Tribune)
The 40 two-flats Linn built in 1927 were located on St. Louis and Bernard between Foster and Bryn Mawr and were priced at $15,900. From a distance you might think all Linn’s buildings look alike but, no, architect Carl Johnson came up with seven different designs and six different colors.
The apartments were described as having five or six rooms and hot water heating. All Linn’s North Park and Hollywood Park real estate ads emphasize the paved streets, clearly in efforts to dispel concerns about the area being undeveloped.
Of all the selling points in this ad for two-flats in Hollywood Park, this is the one I find most fascinating:
“Highest spot IN CHICAGO”
News to me. Besides unpaved streets, water must have been another major concern of home buyers. Was there any truth in Linn’s claim of high ground in Hollywood Park?
Linn’s office was located at 5200 N. Kimball, the northwest corner of Kimball and Foster. He also must have lived in the community because he served as the Republican 40th Ward Committeeman. I wonder whether he was the only Republican elected to office from the 40th. In my time, the ward voted straight-ticket for the Democrats.
Linn’s sales figures for the month of July, 1929 — $100,000. He must have felt confident about his $5 million investment in Hollywood Park going into the fall of 1929. His company survived the Depression and was still in business after World War II, though it’s not clear whether he built any more two-flats in Hollywood Park.
In the years following the war different types of housing went up–single-family homes, 4 +1’s and block apartment buildings–but to my eye these Johnny-come-latelies didn’t have quite as much impact on the look and feel of Hollywood Park as did Linn’s two-flats, in seven different designs and six different colors.
Source: Display Ad 8 — No Title. (1929, January 31). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963),9. Retrieved January 23, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1987). (Document ID: 479736542). Display Ad 39 — No Title. (1927, March 27). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963),p. B3. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1987). (Document ID: 433392672). ERICK N. LINN TO ERECT 40 FLATS IN NORTH PARK. (1927, September 25). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963),p. b4. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1987). (Document ID: 649138622).