Seminary Townhouse Association records
Scope and Contents
The Seminary Townhouse Association records contain a wide variety of materials, many of which are related to the conception of and first five years of its existence, but they also span into the 1980s and 1990s.
- Creation: 1969-2016
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use.
Biographical / Historical
The Seminary Townhouse Association (STA) was formed in 1974 by residents who occupied the townhouses owned by the McCormick Theological Seminary after the decision was made to move the campus to Hyde Park. In an effort to preserve the close-knit community that had developed over the years, residents combined their connections and resources to purchase the property on the west side of McCormick’s campus. This property comprised fifty-four townhouses and two freestanding houses in the 800 and 900 blocks of south Fullerton Avenue, the 800 block of Chalmers Place, and the north side of Belden Avenue.
In January of 1975, the Board of Directors developed a game called “STA-Put” so individual purchasers could be chosen for each of the townhouses. This game had two parts: the lottery, where numbers were randomly assigned to members to determine the order of turns for the second part of the game, the draft. This initial group who played the game became charter members, people who presently occupied townhouses and wished to remain a part of the neighborhood. During the draft, they could decide to purchase their current homes, select a different townhouse that hadn’t already been chosen, or decide to pass. The game was played in multiple rounds until twenty-seven of the fifty-six total homes had committed buyers. The remainder of the buyers were found from two groups of general members; “Group 1” and an alternate list. “Group 1” included those who had turned in their membership applications before December 23, 1974. The alternate list consisted of those who had turned in their membership applications after December 23, 1974, along with charter members and members of “Group 1” who had passed during their turn.
The initial Board of Directors that managed the Seminary Townhouse Association was made up of Bob Berkoff, Kathy Zartman, Carol Rosofsky, Rosemary Tegano, and Sylvia Smith. Bob Berkoff, with experience as a mortgage banker and an attorney, was an obvious choice for STA’s first president. His actions and contributions were instrumental in the founding of STA and its ultimate success. Three committees were formed to begin to divide some of the necessary work up between members. These included the Research Committee, Membership Committee, and the Buildings and Ground Committee. As time progressed, more committees were created to account for different circumstances that arose such as the Architectural Committee.
In 1976, DePaul bought the west side of the McCormick Theological Seminary campus and just a year later, they bought the east side as well. In 1977, the homes were officially designated a Chicago Landmark District. In the years since, the closeness of the community has been maintained through a variety of neighborhood traditions such as the “Wheel House Parade” in the spring and the “Lighthouse Parade” in the fall. Additionally, new traditions like a bi-weekly food co-op have been created. In 1985, a large 10th anniversary celebration was held in the neighborhood. Photographs from the event show that activities included a potato sack race, face-painting, a bicycle parade or race, a piñata, and live music.
The townhouses remain private residences nestled among DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus and are commonly known as the McCormick Row Houses.
2 Linear Feet (7 boxes)
Language of Materials
This collection is organized into five series: 1. Publications; 2. Governance and administration; 3. Townhouse sales; 4. Subject files; 5. 10th Anniversary photographs.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession records were not created for some of the materials in this collection which may have been separated from Lincoln Park Conservation Association files. Telephone directories and event flyers were donated by Liz Ware, Accession 2000.09; Accession 2017.010 was donated by Liz Ware and these materials were added in 2022.
SPCA staff 2000; A. Oberweiser 2022
- Lincoln Park (Chicago, Ill.)--History--Archival resources
- McCormick Rowhouse District (Chicago, Ill.)--History--Archival resources
- Architecture--Conservation and restoration--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago
- Citizens' associations--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago
- Historic districts--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago
- Neighborhoods--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago
- Row houses--Preservation--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago
- Guide to Seminary Townhouse Association records
- A. Oberweiser
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English