Saturday, February 21, 2015

Francis R. Dickinson House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Francis R. Dickinson House (1911) Mundie & Jensen, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

It's hard to know who made the decision to design this house in a Georgian Revival style - the    architect or the client. The architects - Mundie & Jensen - had designed a similarly-styled house across the street, and the client - Francis R. Dickinson - would have known that his house would be among a cluster of four similarly designed houses rising in the 1500 block of North Astor Street since all built within a year of each other by members of Dickinson's business and social circles.

 [Francis R. Dickinson/Betrand Goldberg House, 1518 N. Astor Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Maybe the Georgian decision was made for them. As the 19th century turned into the 20th, home style choices were changing for some members of the city's upper crust. The less ostentatious and less pretentious looking London townhouse of the Georgian era was emerging as a popular way to display your wealth in a more restrained architectural manner. The Dickinsons were members of that class and enjoyed living in their sedately facaded 20-room house until deciding to downsize to a nearby Lake Shore Drive apartment in 1940 and sold their house to the Walter Meads for $50,000.
By 1954 the Meads were ready to sell and found a buyer in Nancy Florsheim Goldberg - daughter of Irving Florsheim chairman of the Chicago-based Florsheim Shoe Company - who also just happened to be married to the soon-to-be-famous architect Bertrand Goldberg. It wasn't long after the Goldbergs set-up housekeeping in their Astor Street mansion with kids and servants in tow, that Goldberg - the architect - designed one of Chicago's iconic landmarks, Marina City.
The house is still in good hands, owned by another famously named Chicago family who have lovingly maintained its simple, yet elegant, Georgian heritage.

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