In 1837, Abram Gale bought 320 acres in Jefferson — near Chicago, and by 1870, the land was subdivided to form the suburb of Galewood.
Gale’s 1935 arrival from New York City, you see, had him ready to put down roots. When he purchased his acreage, he began to build a house, according to the Chicago Park District’s history of the Galewood neighborhood.
“I brought all my household goods along,” he said, “and among them was a Chickering piano, the second ever made. It was the first and only one in the village for a good many years, and it was a great card for me. The Indians would walk around the house mysteriously whenever my daughter played on it, staring in wonderment at the strange sounds.”
Gale also became a member of the fire company, the parks district said. “Every man was armed with two buckets, and we would all stand in a line with one end of the line at the lake and the other at the fire, and we would pass the buckets along,” Gale said.
But it also seems that the neighborhood almost didn’t happen.
“When one of his neighbors tried to take his land, Gale dug a ditch all around his claim,” the parks district said. “Gale’s heavily-wooded property proved hard to plow. He eventually quit farming, and the hamlet of Galewood emerged there.”
According to the book, “Chicago and Its Suburbs,” that subdivision also happened because of progress.
“It was cultivated as a farm until last year, when the Chicago & Pacific railway decided to run through its borders, and then Mr. Gale sold that road a half interest in the property,” the book said. “It was immediately subdivided and christened Galewood in honor of its old landlord, and in consonance with the character of the land, which lies in the middle of a fine grove, sixty to eight feet above, and overlooking Lake Michigan.”
The same book revealed that the first two houses in the Chicago neighborhood cost $4,000 and $8,000 to build, respectively, and were erected by Gale. Clothier C.P. Kellogg built a third for $25,000.
“Mr. Gale is realizing from $5 to $25 per foot for lots on his property,” the book said.
Today, Galewood is part of Austin, one of 77 officially designated community areas in Chicago.
We bring all this up because of this week’s historical shelter, a charming three-bedroom, two-bath Tudor in Galewood.
And while Mr. Gale wasn’t alive in 1933 when this house was built, we’d like to think he’d approve of this charmer, and in the way the current owners have updated it while keeping many of its original details.
At 1,520 square feet, on paper, this home may seem a bit diminutive. But thanks to clever finish and paint choices, as well as perfect use of the attic space, this home actually packs quite a bit of living into the space.
The first floor boasts living and dining rooms that still have the original fireplace, hardwood floors, and stained glass leaded windows, as well as crown molding and built-ins.
The main floor bedrooms have large closets and hardwood floors, and the kitchen has granite counters, a full pantry, and stainless steel appliances.
The partially finished attic has a bonus area that could be a playroom or hobby room (it’s even heated). The basement has a large office, big rec room, another full bathroom, and a guest room.
Outside, a fenced backyard provides plenty of room to entertain, with a brick paver patio and pergola.
The home is priced at $359,900. Want to see more? Click here.