house in wilmette

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Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Notice in photos 2 and 3 (and Google Map) that the house is set back farther from the street than its neighbor, so the view from the back west side room, where the dining room is most likely placed, is of the neighbor's back yard, rather than the broadside of the house.

Also from Google, it can be seen from the map of the roof that the back extension is equal in width to the front of the house. That argues against the back extension being an add-on. The entry on the 6th Street side, under the stair landing, is obviously the service entrance, so that the ganged windows must be in the kitchen, and perhaps the octagonal space is either a breakfast room or a luxuriously proportioned maid's bedroom.

This is one big, fat house, with room for 4 (huge) to 6 (sizable) bedrooms on the second floor, plus 3 more on the third.

The ragtag landscaping and drooping porch roof suggest that the current owners may not be able to maintain the place. I hope it can be preserved.

outside in
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Post by outside in »

I'm inclined to think that the back "turret" is an addition as well. Maybe they salvaged brick from the rear elevation to extend the 6th street facade.

I'm also wondering about the purported 1889 date - seems a few years too early - I have an email into the preservation person at the Village asking for more info, but she won't be in until next week.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

If the back wing is an addition, that would leave only the modest space to the right of the front door or the back half of the living room on the left of the entrance for the dining room, and no room for a kitchen, which is obviously entirely enclosed by the extension. Given the size and grandeur of the house from the start, based on the monumental façade, it seems unlikely that the interior spaces would be of modest size. The back is not just a partial wing. It contains 1/3 of the square footage of the entire house.

Rood
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Post by Rood »

SDR wrote:Doesn't ring a bell. Google has a military pilot . . .?
You would have to be of a certain age ... but, remarkably, this Paul Barbour was a (fictional) pilot ... during WWI. Anyone in the family needing advice or comfort went up to his third-story suite to be consoled. Scroll down:

https://www.goldenageradio.com/2011/12/ ... amily.html

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

An easy way to find out if the back is an addition would be to consult old Sanborn maps if you can find them. They tell the story better than almost anything.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Meisolus. Good idea. Where do you find them ?

SDR

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

Where do you find them ?
I frequently don't, which is the problem. The Library of Congress has a website but I've had difficulty finding the maps I've been looking for in the past.

https://www.loc.gov/collections/sanborn-maps

I went to Kent State and they have a map library with an impressive collection of Sanborns. However, their hours are not conducive to a visit from someone who works a normal 8-5 (me). I've been meaning for some time to track down the relevant years for Midway Gardens and see exactly how and when the building was ruined by its additions, which the maps will clearly show.

Regarding our Wilmett house, I'm sure that the area with the railing between the two octagonal bays was originally open air. It would make it resemble the front of the Husser house a bit more, also. And yes, I'm probably grasping at straws for that one.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Good call on that last point -- I think.

I found this, at the Library of Congress site. I've looked at all 119 images for Cook County; I find no numbered streets !

There are two pages with Central on them, #s 53 and 54.

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4104cm.g017901894A/?sp=57

SDR

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

I hate to say it SDR, but it looks like that portion of the map only covers Chicago. If you look at the first page that has the overall map, it show the intersection of Lincoln and Peterson, as well as Rosehill Cemetery. Wilmette would be up by where the Chicago river meets the lake, which doesn't seem to be a part of this.

This has been my huge frustration trying to use Sanborn maps on the Library of Congress website. Wilmette is clearly listed as being on the map in the library's database, but it's not. I'm not sure the map for Wilmette has been digitized either.

PrairieMod
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Post by PrairieMod »

According to Tim Samuelson, Cultural Historian for the City of Chicago:

"W. Mead Walter was an architect who did a lot of Sullivan inspired stuff. Often quirky, but also fairly good."

A search of old newspapers from the era show W. Mead Walter did indeed design a variety of buildings in the city at the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Huh. Frustrating. The list of maps for the county includes Wilmette, with 119 pages. Those are the pages I looked at. (Would the town require 119 sheets ? Perhaps they are misfiled or misidentified ?)

Well, at least I'm now aware of these carefully-drawn (and colored) insurance maps . . .

SDR

Meisolus
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Post by Meisolus »

They're really fantastic. They show number of stories and the material of the buildings. All permanent outbuildings are included. They give you a wonderful picture of what the built environment used to be. For large buildings, sometimes additional information is given as well. I've even seen hints of interior floor plans before.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I was amused to see residential blocks, all divided into lots, with only a random sprinkling of houses on a block. I wonder what would inform a choice as to where to live; a nice street number ? All the lots on a block would presumably be identical . . .

SDR

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

I just noticed, by enlarging the image of the side, the flanking members of the Palladian window in the stair hall are art glass, in stark contrast to the double-hung windows elsewhere. In addition, the tiny third floor window above the Palladian is also art glass.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

There are two possible plans for the first floor, both of which require that the entire structure be built at one time:

1) To the right of the front door, a small den or library, north of which, the main stair on the right side of the entry hall, adjacent to which, a service stair up to a landing above the service entrance on the east façade. The room adjacent to the service door would be the logical place for the kitchen, and the octagonal room in the corner would fit as the breakfast room. In the NW corner, the dining room, north of the living room, which occupies the bulk of the west side of the plan.

2) Instead of the entry hall leading directly to the kitchen, or the door on the east façade a service entry, the room with the ganged windows could be the dining room, and the door on the east façade, easy access to a drive for a carriage (given its early date). In that case, the kitchen would be in the NW corner, with a butler's pantry giving access to both the dining room and an octagonal breakfast room. The service entry in that case would be on the north wall giving access to the garage and alley.

#1 is more likely, since it would explain the window to the right of the Palladian.

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