Saturday, February 21, 2015

William H. McDoel House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [William H. McDoel House (1910) Arthur Heun, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

We're going to spend the week on Astor Street. Not a large part of Astor, just around 60-feet on the east side, and 30 on the west. If you visit this little stretch of the 1500 block, you can stand in the middle of this small section and see 5 homes, built within 18 months of each other, all of similar style, but each with a different owner and 3 of them with different architects. First up is the house built by William H. McDoel which was designed by architect Arthur Heun. It appears that this was the first one completed.

  [William H.McDoel House, 1511 N. Astor Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

McDoel was a railroad man like so many of Chicago's other business titans, who made his fortune as the president and general manger of the Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad. In 1910, when he built his Astor Street residence, McDoel chose one of the city's prominent society architects, Arthur Heun. Heun had started out as a practitioner of the Chicago-based Prairie Style, but soon abandoned the Frank Lloyd Wright-made-famous design for an eclectic multitude of historical stylings, which better suited the fashionable needs of his ever growing upscale clientele.
Huen's roster of clients read like a page from the city's Blue Book, and he became known for designing exquisite "farm" estates for the city's blue bloods in north suburban Lake Forest. Although McDoel got to spend just a scant 6 years in his trend-setting home - he died there in 1916 - one wonders, did his soon-to-be neighbors build their Georgian influenced mansions the following year because of Arthur Heun's stately design? Or was the trend already underway for this class of home builders who wanted a bit of an 18th century, London, terraced, townhouse feeling on Astor Street? Only they know for sure.

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