Lost Houses of Lyndale
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2903 W Lyndale

Smallest House on the Block

The 37-foot wide lot at 2903 W Lyndale was first purchased by Edward Moe in 1882, but it seems likely that the house was not built until after he sold the land to Elizabeth Johnson three years later, as Moe is listed in city directories at a different address at that time. The house was a simple workers cottage with a basement and a walk-up entry, quite small for its large lot at about 600 square feet per floor.

Any woodwork trim or ornaments which might have decorated the little house were stripped away long ago, but one charming detail which remained was a round Gothic window which provided light to the attic.

Photos of the next-door house at 2869 from the 1930s show a bit of the little house at 2903. At that time the wood siding was painted a dark color, with white trim around the windows. Some time after the mid-1930s the house was covered in grey asphalt shingle siding.

Charles and Jeanette Ifland purchased the house in 1906 from Elizabeth Johnson and raised their children Jack and Martha here.

Jack & Martha Ifland posting a letter at the Logan Square L Terminal, ca. mid-1910s, courtesy of Jean B.

Charles worked as a leather worker making instrument and camera cases. In October 1933 the Chicago Tribune's "Our Town" column noted Charles & Jeanette's 50th wedding anniversary:

Our Town

After her parents passed away, Martha Ranson inherited the little house at 2903. Her grand-niece Jean notes that Aunt Martha "worked for many years at the Chicago Club in the business department. Since it was men only, she had to enter the offices through a back entrance, so she wouldn't be seen."

Martha Ifland

Martha Ifland portrait by J.L. Rivkin studio, ca. mid-1910s, courtesy of Jean B.

Martha Ranson lived in the house until passing away at age 84. In her will, she gave her home to her neighbor Virginia Martinez, who grew up in the house at 2857 Lyndale and Martha would have known since birth.

In 2016 the little house was sold to developer Volo Holdings along with four other nearby houses. The tree in front which once overshadowed the house was preserved but now stands next to a tall 3-unit condo building.