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South Lakefront Tour: Site M
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Site M
Turn right on 57th Street and go one block west to Harper Avenue. Park if you can. This section of Harper, from 57th to 59th Street, was originally known as Rosalie Villas. According to historian Jean F. Block, this development was Hyde Park's first planned community. In 1883, Rosalie Buckingham purchased these two blocks and called upon Solon S. Beman, the designer of Pullman's model town, to create a series of elegant homes here. There is evidence that many of these houses were originally conceived of as summer homes. The railroad ran at ground level at the time they were built, so that originally the homes looked out over the lagoon and prairie which stood between them and Lake Michigan. This is a good place to stop and take a leisurely walk up the street to get a look at the houses. While Beman supervised the project, he did not design all of the houses. W.W. Boyington, the architect who designed the Water Tower on Michigan Avenue, drew up the plans for 5752, which Charles Bonner, a brick manufacturer, built in 1889. The house at 5736, "Villa Armour," was originally built for M.C. Armour, an iron merchant, and is unaltered. A large building, formerly on the southeast corner, once housed the Cafe Red Roses. The singer Mary Garden made her debut in this building at the age of seventeen. A small park, Sylvia Court, serves Harper Avenue just south of 57th Street.

The above photograph shows the Rosalie Inn and Café at the southeast corner of 57th and Harper around 1910. This building marked the entrance to Rosalie Court. The apartment building behind the inn was the first in the area when it was built in 1889. It still stands, but Powell's Bookstore now occupies the corner lot. The photograph at right shows the Rosalie Court residence in 1985. This house has been restored to resemble its original appearance as one of the homes on Rosalie Court.

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