Elmhurst is made up of many different neighborhoods, some developed over a century ago. Our fourth in the “Elmhurst Neighborhoods” series explores a more recently developed, yet iconic, neighborhood that was featured in a book published in 1995 by Alan Ehrenhalt, The Lost City: The Forgotten Virtues Of Community In America.
Brynhaven was the second development in Elmhurst during a time of rapid growth. With the population of Elmhurst growing from 21,273 in 1950 to 50,547 in 1970, housing was desperately needed. Following the success of the Emory Manor development in the northern part of Elmhurst, the developer purchased 132 acres of land along St. Charles Road between County Line and Poplar for a slightly more expensive housing experience. Designed by A.J. Del Bianco, the development was to contain over 400 homes and cost $12 million to produce ranch and new split level homes with price tags between $17,500 and $25,000.
Advertised as “customized construction” in an “exclusive community,” Brynhaven homes featured cathedral ceilings, balcony bedrooms, patios and paved driveways, and custom landscaping, along with Brynhaven’s easy access to the new “Congress St. Superhighway.” Barbecue grills on the patio were all the rage so Soukup’s Hardware offered barbecue lessons and free steaks for anyone interested. Kitchens included General Electric appliances in all the popular colors of the day with the ability to mix and match. An advertising brochure boasts, “Located in an exclusive residential area… You can be proud of your surroundings…beautiful homes, curved streets, large mature shade trees, elegant landscaping…everything you’ve ever wanted in a fine neighborhood.”
The first set of homes in Brynhaven lined Fair Lane, Huntington Lane (previously called Adela Street) Linden Avenue and Church Street. There were five different models of homes with 16 exterior designs in the subdivision ranging from 1143 sq ft in the split level Hampton series to 1436 sq ft in the ranch Winston Series. Basements and garages were included in most models with a fireplace optional in all. The final selling point were the schools that were within walking distance, with the high school the farthest at 10 blocks. Indeed Brynhaven nestled around the new Elmhurst Junior High, now Sandburg Middle School.
The properties in this area of Elmhurst still reflect the friendly neighborhood advertised in the 1950s with good neighbors and large back yards. If you are interested in viewing homes in Brynhaven, use LW Reedy’s new MLS Mapping Search tool or contact a LW Reedy Agent for information on this, or any of Elmhurst’s wonderful neighborhoods.
Residents of this neighborhood are in the award winning Elmhurst School District 205 and would attend Edison Elementary School , Sandburg Middle School and York High School. Click here for more information on those schools and links to school reports and more.
We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy WIlson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided in our research. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series.