A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

From Speakeasies to Stripp Joynts

Back in the roaring ’20s and early ’30s, Morton Grove was notorious for its roadhouses and speakeasies. It’s reputed that one of the bungalows on our block was a speakeasy. I’ve tried to find out the history on our house, but the only information I have so far is that a Leo Milke lived here in the late ’30s and early ’40s, and that he was a Village Trustee for Morton Grove during that time. Based on what the PO told us we’re the third owners, so Mr. Milke would have been the first.

I have also heard that the builder lived in our house and built the other 5 bungalows on the block, so that would make Mr. Milke the builder, but this is just hearsay, I think. So if that’s true, would Mr. Milke have specifically built the bungalow across the street as a speakeasy? (As I’ve mentioned before, the basement there has booths carved out of grotto-like walls.) It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a local politician was less than upstanding (this is Chicago, after all!).

So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ve welcomed a Stripp Joynt into our home.

Yes folks, that would be the very same Stripp Joynt of House in Progress fame. I have to give Jeannie all the credit, once again (but technically we saw them first — Pete used them back in the ’70s when they were in Evanston). I’m thankful that she was willing to share them, nonetheless.

I can barely contain my excitement. In just one short day, they have transformed the living room windows from this

to this

Of course there’s a lot more work to do, but you can already see what a huge difference this is going to make. They will be completely restoring the windows, including reglazing, just in time for winter.

Lots of things happening here over the next few weeks, including the delivery of our new sofa from Room & Board on Saturday. You’d think that tomorrow was MY birthday and not Pete’s!


  1. HPH on September 29, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Hmmm, Speakeasy across the street… Maybe the ‘martini glass’ design of your really cool front windows has a secret meaning? Hmmm.

  2. denise on September 29, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    Good point HPH! Maybe there was a special light that went on in our house to illuminate the martini glass window indicating when the Speakeasy was open for business?! (BTW, my mother contends that those are Manhattan glasses because of the “red cherry” in the bottom—you can tell what she prefers!)

  3. Jay on October 6, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    Are you using Frog tape around your windows? If so, is it the miracle it declares itself to be? And where did you find it? Great blog!

  4. denise on October 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Hi Jay—The window guys brought that tape so I’m afraid I don’t know what it is. I’ve never heard of Frog tape. Sorry I can’t help, but thanks for the compliment.

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