Address: 5760 S. Lafayette Ave.
Year Built: 1870; major alterations
1894 / Architect: Thomas Wing
Date Designated a Chicago
Landmark: April 16, 1996
Color photo by Eleanor B. Hall June 1967
Raber House
One of the city's few remaining pre-1871 Chicago fire residences.
This is a rare surviving example on the edge of the Englewood community of a multi acre estate.
The Italian style brick residence, which is capped by a wooden cupola, was built for John Raber, a prominent area businessman, real-estate developer, and politician.

The residence's original 6 acre grounds were so vast that the house's original address was 5700 south plank road (State Street), which is one block to the east.
Jerry Pittman's ; Pittman's Chicago, By whO did a external photo documentary of the Raber House and the surrounding property.   
Shortly afterwards By whO was contacted by the great great great grand daughter of John Raber Ms. Hol Hartman.
Ms. Hartman revealed a historical account of the Raber house that contradicts the Chicago landmark's published records. She also supplied never before published photographs
taken by a one time resident of Raber House, her Grandmother Eleanor B. Hall in the summer of 1967
Color photo by Eleanor B. Hall June 1967

Raber House By Hol Hartman great great great
grand daughter of  John  Raber

"Contrary to common belief,  John Raber did not
build the house. It was built by Rudolph Walenta,
a doctor, around 1860 and purchased by Raber
in 1862. I think Rabers name stuck because of a
drawing made of it in 1874, while Raber owned
it; He sold it not long afterward. Around 1894 the
house was enlarged ( a third floor and bay
windows were added ) and turned into an
apartment house. Even while Raber lived there
there were about as many lodgers as family
menbers at the house, so the house has a long
history of being very full of people. The Rabers,
the Walentas, and the Rosenmerkel family who
owned the land before the Walenta were all
German-speaking immigrants, as were some of
Rabers lodgers".
All but forgotten an
erroding time capsule
of the past. The Raber
House has seen many
changes in life and
lifestyles. It began its
existance as a grand
house sitting on a
enormous plantation
size lot.
Today it has been reduced to a
eyesore and safety hazard. It has
however been designated as a city
landmark. The question now is,
when is it going to get landmark
treatment and restored to its
original design? This area, once
vacant land, was sold lot by lot and
filled up with private residences
and businesses. Over the years
these homes  have also been torn
down and abandoned.
The rear of the Raber house from one   block away. Like a wounded animal waiting to be put out of it misery The structure sits abandoned......for decades
Time is non discriminating. It slashes across all economic levels with equally devastating effects. The
difference is  "whO cares". If no one cares memories and lessons of the past will be forgotten.
Someone cared enough to
make it a landmark now the
question is, "whO cares"
enough to restore it ?  
From 58th and Wabash the view across State street. An entire block separates State street
from the front door. Lafayette street was added years later after the land had been cut up
and sold to developers.
This view along Lafayette
is in actuality a very
revealing story about the
entire neighborhood in
general. Lack of jobs and
opportunity created an
environment where
poverty and crime
flurished,
From a time of plenty
to a era when whole generations were
decimated by the extremely harsh living
conditions that begin in the late 20s with the
over-crowding of the neighborhood with the
erection of massive housing projects in and
around Bronzeville.
The CHA was the kiss of death to
Bronzeville.
Photo  documentary by Jerry Pittman
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