Tuesday, March 3, 2015

William H. Lake House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [William H. Lake House (1904) George W. Maher, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

"The Imperial Suburb of Chicago." That's what the North Shore Suburban newspaper had to say about Buena Park in 1896. The suburb was in reality a mostly undeveloped section of land in what had been the City of Lake View until the city of Chicago annexed the massive township in 1889. When the newspaper dubbed the area bounded by Irving Park, Montrose, Lake Michigan, and the eastern boundary of Graceland Cemetery as "imperial," Buena Park was on the cusp of becoming a fully developed, upper-middle-class, suburb-in-the-city enclave.

  [William H. Lake House, 826 W. Hutchinson Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The name Buena had come from one of the first settlers in the area James Waller. In the late 1850s Waller purchased 53 acres of land far from the city of Chicago, west of the lake's shore, where he built a large, Greek Revival dwelling that he dubbed "Buena House." Waller slowly developed his acreage, and by the mid-1890s other investors began to take an interest in Waller's Buena Park neighborhood. John Scales, a wealthy commission merchant who traded in grain futures, purchased a subdivided parcel of land in the sand east of Buena House. He had high hopes for his investment. More and more businessmen like himself were looking to live within easy commuting distance of the city's bustling downtown commercial district, while having the benefit of living in a less congested arcadian setting.

  [William H. Lake House, National Historic District /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Scales got right to work. He had a street cut through the middle of his property that ran east to west from Halsted (today's Clarendon) to Kenmore (Hazel Street). And in tribute to a battle he had fought in during the Civil War in the Kenesaw Mountains, he called the street Kenesaw Terrace. In 1894 he hired architect George W. Maher to design a house for the Scales family on the northwest corner of Kenesaw and Kenmore, where it sat, all alone, for nearly 10 more years.

  [William H. Lake House, Hutchinson Street Historic District /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

By the time fellow commission merchant and agent William H. Lake purchased his 150-foot-long by 177-foot-deep lot from Scales in 1904, the area around Kenesaw Terrace had been slowly building up. George Maher had designed another home a block east of the Scales project, and Lake decided to hire the architect for his family's residence. Maher's style had evolved. The house he had designed for John Scales was much more in keeping with the Queen Anne traditions that were popular at the time, but by 1904 the architect had become a practitioner of what would become known as the Prairie Style. Maher had started his career as an apprentice draftsman in the offices of Joseph Lyman Silsbee who had designed several suburban Shingle-style homes in the nearby community of Edgewater. Another apprentice who got his start in the Silsbee atelier at the same time was a young man from Wisconsin named Frank Wright - before he added the Lloyd.

  [William H. Lake House, City of Chicago Landmark /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Lake house had Prairie hallmarks like broad eaves, a large cantilevered roof over the porch, art glass windows, and an open interior. The large entry hall looked directly into a very spacious living room which connected directly into well proportioned dining room. But the Lake's didn't stay long. After just 8 years they left their Buena Park neighborhood and Mr. & Mrs. Daniel F. Sullivan moved into 826 Kenesaw Terrace. The Sullivans had no children so Louise Sullivan began taking-in youngsters who were homeless and living in shelters. Daniel Sullivan on the other hand spent a majority of his time - like months at a time - away from home. In 1920 Louise had had enough and filed for divorce. She received alimony in the neighborhood of $15,500 a year, and the house. She told the Chicago Tribune that her future mother-in-law had warned of her sons penchant for wanderlust. "Louise you know my son is just like his father." Then in 1936 Kenesaw Terrace was no more. The street was renamed in honor of Charles L. Hutchinson, banker, philanthropist, and president of Chicago's Art Institute from 1884 until his death in 1926.

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