As an architecture student, I was disappointed to learn that Oak Park plans to demolish the 1923 Hoppe Building at 460 N. Harlem. The building is a pristine example of a Roaring 20's apartment building. Aesthetically, its sense of proportion, the alcove, the height, width, and depth, are appealing.
The building, with its unobtrusiveness, welcoming alcoves, and liberal use of limestone columns, banding, and decoration, is well-preserved. It provides a classic example of its era, of the Classic Revival style, and is one of the few buildings of its type, if any, remaining in the Chicago area.
The architect, H. Kramer, was well-known for his sensitivity to, and the integration of his buildings with, the environment. The abundant landscaping of the Hoppe Building is excellent, with the building built with alternating protrusions and recesses that embrace the landscaping. Many cities strive to develop an area of serenity adjacent to a downtown, but they usually are artificial in design.
The Hoppe Building garden, with its winding sidewalk, coolness in summer, abundant wildlife, and chorus of songbirds during the spring are a joy. One of Kramer's other works, a Tudor Revival home constructed in 1936 at 6185 N. McClellan Ave. in Chicago, has been given landmark status and would have been given historic status but for severe alteration by subsequent owners. I feel that the Hoppe Building, unaltered for more than 80 years, is deserving of this rare accolade.
It is an architectural and Oak Park treasure. I hope that the powers that be change their mind on the demolition.