WHAT THE EASY STREET REVEALED

It’s always interesting that we drive past a building for years and never take as much notice as we should.  For instance, this was the Easy Street before the recent renovations began.

Then, one day after work began on the building, I took a good, long look at this view.

Wow.  The brick is completely different on the north face of the building.  It’s a yellowish, tan brick while the west and south facades are an actual red brick.  And, what about the east facade?  Well, it looked like this before the renovation.

On closer examination, it was obvious this side had been painted at some point in time.  But, what color was beneath that brick red paint?  As this facade was prepared for tuckpointing, it was determined that the brick was in severe disrepair–to the point that it crumbled very easily.  Also discovered was that the brick was not uniform but was an amalgamation of the two different types of brick that made up the building.  This brick discrepancy, and the 1976 fire that damaged the building, must have been reason enough for the previous owners to paint over the bricks.

Today, after much brick and mortar repair and replacement, the east and north facades look like this.  (The north facade is the one with the orange tube running alongside the building.)

But, the bigger question is why was this building originally constructed with two different types and color of bricks?  Having never really noticed buildings with varying brick types, I looked around and noticed that there was another building in Schaumburg that had the same dual brick scheme.  And it wasn’t far away.

This house is commonly known as the Quindel house and is adjacent to Lou Malnati’s on East Schaumburg Road.  You can see the red brick to the left that is on the front/north facade and the yellowish brick that covers the rest of the building.  

Besides the bricks, the thing that links these two buildings, is the name Quindel.  H.E. Quindel built both his home on Schaumburg Road that is now an office building, and the tavern/hotel that we know today as the Easy Street.

Mr. Quindel was quite the mover and shaker in Schaumburg Township in the early 1900s and always had a number of schemes in the works.  The home was constructed around 1909 and was built for his wife Caroline and their four sons,  Frank, Emil, Arthur, and Alfred.  The Easy Street was built in 1911 and was operated by Charles Krueger.

It was my presumption that Mr. Quindel used two different types of brick because of the cost of the brick.  The red brick was probably more expensive than the yellow brick.  Hence, the front of his house had red brick to greet and impress any guests, and to show its best side to Schaumburg Road.  The same would be said for the Easy Street.  Red brick was used on the south side where the main doors were located and on the front/west side that faced Schaumburg Road.  (This actually says a lot for where their traffic was coming from.  Obviously, people were coming up Roselle Road from the south, which meant they were coming from the village of Roselle or, possibly, from Irving Park Road.)

I still wanted to confirm that price was probably the reason for the two different color of bricks so I put the question out on a listserv.  Fortunately, Neil Gale with the Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal, confirmed my supposition.  The yellow brick is called Chicago Common Brick and was a less expensive brick that was used on the sides and backs of apartment buildings and larger buildings in Chicago where price was an issue.  Note this photo from his blog posting on that topic.  It looks familiar, doesn’t it–and it verifies my suspicions.

When renovations and reconstructions happen, not only do we get the wonderful finished result, but we also get to see what is uncovered along the way.  The Easy Street truly is its own little archaeological dig.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

Thank you to Neil Gale for helping me to confirm the rationale behind the two styles of brick!

 

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3 Responses to “WHAT THE EASY STREET REVEALED”

  1. Fred Luft Says:

    Great research and info Jane.

  2. Kenneth C Chase Says:

    Awesome stuff!

  3. Neil Gale, Ph.D. Says:

    Great post Jane Rozek. I thought I’d include the link to my Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ – http://DigitalResearchLibraryofIllinoisHistoryJournal.org

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