Want an open floor plan — and a brass pole? Buy an old firehouse


At this vintage Chicago firehouse conversion, what’s behind Door No. 1 is the same as what’s behind the other three doors.

For Chicago entrepreneur Ben Shipper, it was love at first sight when he saw her 20 years ago. “I wanted something unique, and I fell in love,” he said.

Shipper, now 49, is talking about the 1907 firehouse he bought with his wife, Cindy Perpich, in 1995 for $410,000. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Wrigley Field on Chicago’s north side. Behind its brick facade and bright-red double doors, this old structure on Ravenswood Avenue served as an insurance patrol station until 1933, with a private crew responding to fires in a Chicago-built open-cab Diamond T truck.

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