As Chicago grew from swampland in the mid-nineteenth century to one of the world's biggest cities in the 1920s, it became congested; the city exhibited the same urban problems found in other cities like New York and London. Hence, many people sought refuge, and Evanston proved to be a place for which residents migrated, notably due to a rapid transit system that connected Evanston to Chicago's downtown, created during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The transit system and migration coincided with a building boom, including several apartments such as the 1923-built Andridge Apartments and its two courtyards.
The strong U.S. economy not only helped Chicago enjoy its Bungalow Boom in the 1920s (100,000 single-dwelling cottages were built the Chicago metro region) but also led the tremendous growth in apartment construction nationwide; an average of 226,000 multiple-family dwelling units arose each year from 1924-1928. However, in Chicago and Evanston, as was the case in many places, apartments enjoyed features that would promote healthier living.
Progressive Jane Addams proved influential nationally, and certainly locally in her hometown of Chicago (and the suburbs) by promoting that healthy living led to healthy citizens, which meant for a better democracy. Much of that can be seen with apartments such a the Andridge and its unique S-type design. With one courtyard facing Church Street and the other facing Ridge Ave., residents enjoyed plenty of light and cross-ventilation, as well as outdoor space -- both features missing from must urban dwellings at the height of the Industrial Revolution.