When Erle Rawlins Jr. and his wife purchased an old laundry business on Congress Avenue, his goal was to take the building and turn it from a cavernous commercial property and into a true townhome. This was in 1934, when most people were trying to find their financial footing after the stock market crash of 1929.
Rawlins was a business-savvy man — a Realtor, natch — and he knew a thing or two about architecture. So he set out on this project with the help of Earl Hart Miller, and what they ended up with is this amazing 3,000-square-foot home around which high-rises and a bustling neighborhood was built.
Even though 3610 Congress Ave. needs a lot of work, she’s still a beauty. There are three bedrooms and two baths, but the real stunners of this property are the living areas. There you’ll find amazing textures, parquet and tile floors, gigantic windows, and high ceilings. They’re rooms where just about anything seems possible.
There’s also a good-sized pool in the backyard, which would be great for garden parties as guests can look up through the canopy of trees and see the buildings of Uptown and the sky sparkle around them.
I’ve already mentioned this, but this historic home is in a desperate state of disrepair, with leaks in the tar and gravel roof endangering some of the architectural features that make this home special. The price of 3610 Congress — a mere $599,000 — takes these conditions into account.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but the listing says that the zoning could allow for this home to be razed and redeveloped. I hope that a caring person will make this townhome in the heart of Oak Lawn their labor of love. It seems all too special to become rubble.