Brownstone Homes For Sale In Chicago

Brownstone Homes for Sale History of Brownstone Homes Sell Your Brownstone Home Your Home's Value

Explore all available Brownstone homes for sale in Chicago, IL using our comprehensive search tool. To narrow your search and find a Brownstone home in a specific location or price range, click the "Refine Results" button below.

Would you like to delve deeper into Brownstone-style houses, including their architecture, history, various types, and design features? Look no further than the information provided below the listings of Brownstone-style homes for sale in Chicago on this page.

Chicago Brownstone-Style Homes

Brownstone Homes For Sale April 23, 2024
29
Listed
80
Avg. DOM
$473.80
Avg. $ / Sq.Ft.
$850,000
Med. List Price
29 Properties
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History of Brownstones

Brownstone is a type of brown sandstone that held historical significance as a popular building material. The term "brownstone" is also commonly used in the United States and Canada to describe townhouses covered in this material or others with a similar aesthetic.

Varieties of Brownstone:

  • Apostle Island Brownstone: In the 19th century, Basswood Island, Wisconsin was home to a quarry operated by the Bass Island Brownstone Company. The brownstone from this and other quarries in the Apostle Islands was in high demand, including its use in constructing the first Milwaukee County Courthouse in the 1860s.
  • Hummelstown Brownstone: This brownstone variety is prevalent along the East Coast of the United States, used extensively in government buildings across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and Delaware. It originates from the Hummelstown Quarry in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, and is transported through the Brownstone and Middletown Railroad.
  • Portland Brownstone: Also known as Connecticut River Brownstone, it is popular and used in significant buildings in Chicago, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, New Haven, Hartford, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Quarries in Portland, Connecticut, and nearby areas supply this stone.
  • New Jersey Brownstone: Quarries from the Passaic Formation in northern New Jersey supplied much of the brownstone used in New York City and New Jersey.
  • South Wales Brownstone: Devonian aged sandstone is commonly used in Southern Wales.

Usage in Urban Private Residences:

Brownstones are a common sight in various neighborhoods of New York City, especially in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, and more. They are also found throughout Manhattan, Queens, and The Bronx, including historic districts. Brownstones often feature a characteristic stoop, a steep staircase from the street to the entrance, which was designed for hygienic purposes in the past.

The term "brownstone" has become fashionable to describe almost any townhouse from a specific era, even if they are not constructed from brownstone itself. Some neighborhoods, like Borough Park, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and others, feature townhouses built of brick with brownstone-like cladding or brownstone-built stoops.

In Philadelphia, the Rittenhouse Square and Fairmount neighborhoods also boast examples of brownstone architecture, with many converted into apartment buildings.

Colonial Country Homes:

Early Pennsylvanian Quakers used brownstone, also known as freestone, to construct stone mills and mill houses. Some 1700s-era structures, such as the Quaker Mill House, still stand in central Pennsylvania.

Tombstone Making:

Brownstone was prized by tombstone carvers in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic region during the Colonial era. It was easy to carve but less durable than materials like marble, which led to its decline in popularity among carvers in the 1800s. Brownstone used for headstones was usually quarried from the Connecticut River Valley and New Jersey.

Quality of Brownstone:

While brownstone was favored for its ease of carving and quarrying, it was not considered the most durable building material and could weather and damage over time. Vincent Scully, a professor emeritus of the history of art at Yale University, noted that brownstone was not particularly suitable as a building material.

What Sets Chicago Brownstones Apart from Chicago Greystones?

You may have heard the terms "brownstone" and "greystone" used interchangeably when referring to townhomes or rowhomes, but these distinctions are more about the construction materials than overall design.

Chicago Brownstone Characteristics:

Chicago Brownstone refers to a type of sandstone that was occasionally used in the construction of townhomes. Its dark color is a result of the iron content in the stone. Brownstones first emerged in the early 19th century in New York City, primarily as city rowhouses designed for the middle class. Brownstone was chosen as a cost-effective alternative to pricier materials like limestone or marble. Many brownstones featured Italianate detailing, which was typical for the era in which they were built. Some variations appeared later, especially on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It's important to note that a true Chicago brownstone is made of brownstone material and is often attached to neighboring buildings. If it's not constructed with brownstone, it's likely just a regular rowhouse.

Chicago Greystone Characteristics:

Similar to New York's brownstone, the greystone style began to appear in select Chicago neighborhoods in the late 1800s and continued to be built until the 1930s. Today, Chicago boasts thousands of greystones. Like its New York counterpart, it derives its name from the locally sourced stone's color. During the initial construction of greystones, some Chicago residents sought a unique architectural style for their homes. Greystone homes were built for both the wealthy and the working class, often featuring Neoclassical or Romanesque design elements. While brownstones were typically single-family homes, greystones were more commonly constructed as two-, three-, or even four-family homes. They could be either fully detached or semi-detached.

In summary, Chicago brownstones and greystones each have their own historical significance and architectural characteristics. Brownstones are known for their use of brownstone material and middle-class origins, while greystones come in a range of sizes and were constructed using locally sourced stone, often serving different housing needs.

 

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