Hulbert Architectural Survey

  • 625 Clinton Ave
  • 620 Clinton Ave
  • 508 S Kenilworth Ave
  • 839 Clinton Ave
  • 615 S Kenilworth Ave
  • 511 Clinton Ave
  • 809 Clinton Ave
  • 805 S Kenilworth Ave

The Hulbert Subdivision was developed by Thomas H. Hulbert between 1905-1913. Thirteen of the original lots were sold off and developed by others between the period of 1909-1928. Hulbert used aggressive advertising techniques to attract middle-class families to Oak Park. The subdivision of “Hulbert Houses” is one of the most prominent subdivisions in south Oak Park, and features large homes in a number of styles, most prominently the American Foursquare, but also including Queen Anne, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Mission Revival, Craftsman and Bungalows. Many of the homes were repeated throughout the subdivision with variations in the siding, bays, dormers, gables and porches. The majority of the homes were on deep lots with generous setbacks, paved streets and concrete sidewalks.

The Hulbert Subdivision was constructed as a new suburban neighborhood which catered to the growing middle class at the turn of the Twentieth Century. It was designed to provide affordable opportunities for homeownership in an attractive and safe environment with easy access to downtown Chicago. Transportation to Chicago was a major theme in Hulbert’s advertisements for the subdivision, and Mr. Hulbert even constructed a new Metropolitan elevated station at Oak Park Avenue to serve the neighborhood. Another feature which Hulbert stressed in his advertisements was the restriction of flats from the development.

The variation in appearance and style of the "Hulbert Houses" differentiated it from the purely American Foursquare-focused Gunderson Subdivisions (now Gunderson Historic District) being developed further south and east in Oak Park during the same period, and was another feature he promoted in his advertising. During the construction of the first 20 houses on Clinton Avenue in 1905, he emphasized that the homes were being built by “day’s work – not by contract” and of the best materials that can be bought. “The striking feature of the 20 houses now being built is their entire dissimilarity. No better results could have been obtained if each house had been designed by a special architect for an individual owner.” (Oak Leaves, August 12, 1905) The houses were noted as being from plans drawn by architects in four different cities; however, the identity of the architects is not currently known.

The houses were large, yet affordable for the growing middle class, and were sold for $4,300 to $7,000. He boasted that his “Built on Honor Houses” incorporated beauty and artistic perfection, “which can hardly be told in an advertisement. But seeing them you will realize that to the property and to the houses have been given the continued care and thought and effort necessary to the perfecting of every detail and which has left nothing in beauty or utility to be desired.” (Oak Leaves, October 19, 1907) No lots were sold without a house already on it, in order to maintain its high standards of excellence and attractiveness.

Architectural Styles
Queen Anne 85
Prairie School 62
Craftsman 18
Building Types
Foursquare 158
Bungalow 6
Rectangular 4
Ernest Braucher 2
George Pearson 2
Drew Nelson 1
Single-family residence 176