House of the Day #74: 806 W. Belmont
Belmont near Halsted seems an unlikely place to find a fine Victorian home, yet here stands this house from 1895, sandwiched in between charming but newer commercial and mixed-use buildings. Lovingly painted woodwork and the lance windows at the top are outstanding features. The addition to the right tries to blend in, but it's basically a box built to fill in the remaining lot, and it's not very attractive.
Somehow, sandwiched between funky clothing stores and a gay dance club, this seems to remain a single-family home. It's unclear if it was at some point a business, but it doesn't seem to be today. Just how livable it is late at night with drunk passers-by and low dance beats thumping is a question, but visually the house hearkens back to a less crowded and more genteel past in Lakeview.
It does surface in one unusual historical event. In February 1922, a James Cassidy, who gave this home as his address, was arrested during a riot touched off by a speaker denouncing the Knights of Columbus at a nearby venue known as the Viking Temple. Presumably this was an anti-Catholic speech, but the hall was packed with people who turned out to be members of the infamous Ragen's Colts, an Irish street gang. In all likelihood, however, the name (and possibly address) was fabricated, and the arrested man was a South Sider and Colts member.