Before 1912, the building permits were recorded in a format that looks like a spreadsheet, with each permit on its own row. Permits often traveled across two pages to convey all of the permit detail.
Pre-1912 ledgers may include:
1.) Identify key information in your index card
2.) Go back to the Digital Reel homepage
3.) Select the Chicago Building Permit Ledgers
4.) Select the appropriate ledger book
5.) Find your permit inside the ledger book
6.) Confirm the permit
The "Addition to Subdivision" area will often use both abbreviations and area designations that are not familiar today. In this case, "N.E. Div 17" is not an area that we use in Chicago's current neighborhood designations.
While the permit does not show the cost for construction, it does show the cost for the permit: $2.60. You can look at the relative cost for the other permits ($6 for a 3 story dwelling, $1 for a basement) to get a sense of how significant or expensive the construction was.
You may need to print a few different enlarged screen images to get a legible full permit from this style of ledger book. Because the permit travels across two pages, and you can't always see the headings, it can be hard to isolate a single permit with the print large enough to see. In the following example, the permit for the Auditorium Theater, issued June 25, 1887, has been pasted into image editing software to get the full permit and the page headings.
NEXT: Ledger Detail Post-1912