Landmark Status Approved for Till and Perkins-Nordine Homes

January 27, 2021

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The former Woodlawn home of civil rights catalysts Emmett and Mamie Till and the former Edgewater home of spoken word artist Ken Nordine were designated as official Chicago Landmarks by Council today.

Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House, 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave.
The brick two-flat was the home of 14-year-old Emmett Till when he was brutally murdered by racists while visiting rural Mississippi in 1955. Upon his body’s return to Chicago, Till’s mother, Mamie, held an open-casket funeral to show the world the horrifying violence her son had suffered. Though two men were acquitted on murder charges, Till’s death became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement. Mamie Till-Mobley continued to live in a three-bedroom apartment on the home’s second floor until 1962 while she worked to honor the legacy of her only child by devoting her life to eradicating racism and improving the quality of life for people of color. The 2,400-square-foot structure was constructed in 1895.

Perkins-Nordine House, 6106 N. Kenmore Ave.
Completed in 1903 for industrialist Herbert Farrington Perkins, the Arts and Crafts home was the residence and home office of voice-over and recording artist Ken Nordine from 1951 until his death in 2019. Nordine used a studio in the home to record a series of spoken word albums highlighting a unique mix of poetry and jazz called “Word Jazz,” including the Grammy-nominated “Stare with Your Ears.” Designed by the architectural firm of Pond and Pond, the three-story building is one of the last surviving mansions from the area’s nascent years as a suburban-style residential neighborhood. The designations will protect the exterior elevations of both structures, including rooflines, from significant alteration or demolition.

 

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