CHICAGO (CBS) — Ken Nordine was known internationally as a jazz poet, and now, preservationists are rushing to save his Edgewater mansion from the wrecking ball.
Nordine’s 7,300 square-foot mansion at 6106 N. Kenmore Ave., just north of Glenlake Avenue, was recently listed for $2 million.
It is the last single-family home on the block, just a few blocks south of the Loyola University Lake Shore Campus. And it was marketed for medium- or high-rise development.
Preservationists are lobbying the city, saying the Nordine mansion meets the requirements for historic landmark status.
“People say: ‘Oh, it’s a great place to live! We love Edgewater! We love all the history! And then people come in and start tearing buildings down,” said Bob Remer of the Edgewater Historical Society, “and we’re trying to prevent that.”
The Chicago historic survey already has the mansion orange-rated, requiring 90 days’ public notice before it could be torn down.
Nordine died in February at the age of 98.
He was well-known stream-of-consciousness, free-association poetry that he read aloud under jazz music backgrounds. First working in radio beginning in the 1940s, Nordine went on to release the albums “Word Jazz” in 1957, “Son of Word Jazz” in 1958, and “Word Jazz Vol. 2” in 1960.
Nordine was hired in 1966 to write and record 10 poems giving quirky personalities to 10 paint colors for a series of advertisements for the Fuller Paint Company, according to AllMusic.com. That project led to the celebrated 1966 album “Colors.”
Nordine’s syndicated radio show, also called “Word Jazz,” ran for more than 40 years – appearing every Sunday night at midnight on WBEZ for generations of creative-minded night owls.
Nordine also worked with members of the Grateful Dead in the 1990s and appeared at the High Line Festival curated by David Bowie in 2007, according to AllMusic.