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