Category Archives: Elmhurst Neighborhoods

The View from 101 York – October 2016

Halloween fun is popping up all over in and around Elmhurst. Here’s what we see from our perch in the heart of downtown Elmhurst.

Trick-or-Treating

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Boo-tiful Saturday
October 29
Downtown Elmhurst

Trunk or Treat
October 29
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Elmhurst





Haunted Walks

Whether you are looking for a truly scary experience or a cute Halloween adventure with the kids, you’ll find it with one of these two Halloween walks.

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Haunted Forest
October 14-15
Oak Brook Park District

Halloween Night Walks
October 21- 22
Fullersburg Woods







Halloween Theater

The Addams Family: A New Musicaladdams-family1
October 13-15
Elmhurst College

Don’t miss the creepy and kooky Addams Family as they pay a call on Elmhurst just in time for Halloween.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
October 14-16
Bryan Middle School

The tale as old as time comes to Elmhurst just in time to join the other beasts running around town this Halloween season.


More Halloween Fun

Boo! At the ZooScreen Shot 2016-10-12 at 1.11.25 PM.png
October 22-23, 29-30
Brookfield Zoo

Pumpkin Fest
October 1-31, 2016
Cosley Zoo, Wheaton

Spooktacular
October 28
Cosley Zoo, Wheaton

Glass Pumpkin Patch
October 12-16
The Morton Arboretum



LW Reedy has been serving the Elmhurst community and surrounding areas since 1951. As the largest locally-owned real estate agency in Elmhurst, we have a passion for local news and events.

If you have questions about Elmhurst and especially real estate in Elmhurst, we’re your go-to people. Contact us today!

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The Queen Still Reigns in Architecture

We are starting a new series looking at popular architectural designs. Our first foray into the world of architecture will be the Queen Anne style.  Richard Norman Shaw popularized it in England from 1860 to 1900. A type of Victorian design, this style has nothing to do with Queen Anne who died in 1714, but instead builds on the styles of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.

Watts Sherman HouseH. H. Richardson brought the Queen Anne style to Rhode Island with the Watts-Sherman House in 1975. The British government extended that introduction with many more Queen Anne homes built at the Philadelphia Centennial that same year. The Chicago area got its own monument to Queen Anne in 1891 with the William J. MacDonald House, which still stands in Oak Park. With ornately carved oak woodwork, two fireplaces, original murals and stained glass, the house is currently listed for 1.2 million dollars.

The William J. MacDonald House

The William J. MacDonald House

The Queen Anne style includes a host of eccentric features including elaborate trim, deep colors with unusual textures, towers, dormers, slate shingles, copper finial ornaments, multi-paneled stained-glass windows and large wrap-around porches with columns. Some of the more enduring features are the asymmetrical facades with front-facing gables, often cantilevered beyond the wall below with overhanging eaves, second story balconies, pedimented porches, interesting and patterned textures on the walls and Terra-cottar tiles or wooden shingles.

The interiors boast large tiled entryways, prominent wood staircases and paneled walls, inglenook tiled fireplaces, built-in China cabinets and back staircases with outdoor sitting rooms and smaller back service porches.

As the style grew in popularity, factory-made pre-cut architectural parts traveled around the country, ordered from widely-published pattern books. While not happy about it, even Frank Lloyd Wright, early in his career, included Queen Anne characteristics in his homes. One of his first projects was the Walter Gale house built in 1983 in Oak Park. While there are characteristics of the Queen Anne style outside, the inside departs from it with an open floor plan. Here is a more thorough discussion of Frank Lloyd Wrights’ homes, both Queen Anne and his classic Prairie Style.

Commercial buildings also showcased the Queen Anne style. We have several examples right here in downtown Elmhurst. The G. Weber Building at 110-112 York Street is one of the oldest buildings in our town. It was built for Gottfried Weber in 1906 and retains many of its Queen Anne features including ornate decoration and the turret corners topped with pointed tile roof. Starting as a bakery, this building now houses Tannin’s Wine Bar and Boutique. (Photo courtesy of the Elmhurst Historical Museum.)

270 N walnut 1923

Built in 1923, 270 N Walnut.

By the turn of the century, traditional Queen Anne homes, which were expensive and difficult to maintain, were replaced with homes that had less ornamentation, but certain aspects of the Queen Anne endure to this day. Homes with wrap-around porches, bay windows, gables, turret entryways and steep, multiple roof lines still wear the title Queen Anne. Here is a look at homes labeled Queen Anne in our own neighborhood.

 

 

Built in 2000, this house stands at 318 S Fair.

Built in 2000,  318 S Fair.

Built in 1948, 354 Elm Ave.

Built in 1956, 183 N Berteau.

If you are interested in learning more about Queen Anne homes, please click here and here to visit in-depth discussions about this beautiful building style. If you are interested in purchasing a Queen Anne home, please call a LW Reedy Realtor to explore your options. They are always ready to help.

Parades aren’t the only reason to visit Spring Road

John R Robertson & Co was responsible for developing the Spring Road Development in 1919. TheSpring Road Dev Map development runs from St Charles Street on the North to McKinley on the North, and from Rex Boulevard/West Avenue on the west to Spring Road on the east. Spring Road was named after a spring on the Talmadge Farm which provided Elmhurst’s water from 1889 to 1916.

An 18×15 foot structure on the corner of Vallette and Spring Road was the sales office for the land developer in the early 1920s. That building became the original office of LW Reedy in 1951, founded by Larry Reedy, Sr., “The Old Pro,” and grandfather to the current LW Reedy President, Larry Reedy. Between 1970 and 1975, Larry Sr. planted over 1,000 trees, most of which took root in the Spring Road Development. The LW Reedy ofice  eventually moved uptown, but the original building still stands.

Spring Road BrochurThe railroads were a driving force in Elmhurst’s development. By 1900, over 100 trains chugged through town every day. Railroad advertisements promoted half and full acre lots in the Spring Road Development for $500 and up with financing plans available. Terms were $25 down and $10 per month. The lots’ selling points were location, taxes much lower than Cook County, city water, gas to cook with, electric lights, sidewalks, stores and 200 good neighbors. Also advertised was plenty of space for a vegetable garden and chickens. Developers encouraged city dwellers to take a free excursion on the Aurora -Elgin Electric to Spring Road in Elmhurst, and bring the wife.

With the added families in Elmhurst, the school system needed more room so they opened Lincoln School in 1916, and established York Community High School with 153 students in 1920. As time went on, businesses were also added including Hanks Corner Drugs and Fountain Soda & Penny Candy, a favorite stop for children on the north. The Carlson 1926 building housed The Candy Bar Dime Store opposite the Spring Inn. Silverado’s was originally Sandy’s Hamburgers during the 60s and spent a little time as an Irish Pub.

Spring Road Station

The train was ideal for commuting to the city, but merchants wanted residents to shop local. A “Shop Elmhurst” publicity campaign was started to bolster area commerce. With downtown Elmhurst a long walk from the area, Lincoln Elementary became a social hub of sorts. Longtime resident Ruth Strand, who grew up in the Spring Road subdivision, was interviewed by the Elmhurst History Museum and spoke of silent movies, sing-a-longs and many other family friendly events, including the annual LW Reedy Christmas Tree sale. When the subdivision was annexed to Elmhurst in 1917, the West Elmhurst Improvement Association joined with the First Ward Improvement and Social Club.

The Spring Road Business Association was founded in 1950 and served to promote patriotica sense of community, sponsoring year-round events including Easter egg hunts, Christmas festivities, sleigh rides and summer concerts at the Gazebo, many of which continue to this day. The biggest event held in the area is the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is in its 20th year and proudly sponsored by LW Reedy. It is the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Chicago Metropolitan area.

Children in the Spring Road neighborhood attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools  Lincoln Elementary, Bryan Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in the Spring Road Development range from a very affordable entry level of $250,000 to $1 million. If you are interested in viewing homes in the Spring Road Development, 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.

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.

A Halloween Parade through the Highlands

Just three streets comprise the Elmhurst Highlands between North Avenue and 1stElmhurst Highlands map Street on the east side of Elmhurst. Otto H. Stange, the developer of Elmhurst Highlands named all three streets after members in his family. Berteau was named after his wife Bertha, Clinton and Geneva are named after his daughter and son.

Elmhurst was tripling in population during the 1920s and needed more housing. Otto Stange from a local family, developed the Elmhurst Highlands including new cement sidewalks, paved streets, sewer and water, as well as ornamental electric streetlights in the development. At the same time, many of the current social institutions were organized including the Elmhurst Park District and the Elmhurst Hospital, which was located on the western border of the Elmhurst Highlands.

This subdivision was also known for the Elmhurst Highlands Community Club, formed in 1932 by residents of the area. One of their first causes was the Halloween vandalism that plagued the neighborhood. Children would bang on windows with a wooden Halloween 1932spool, rarely breaking the window but causing a delightful noise that required investigation by the homeowner.

Soaping windows was popular, as well as, throwing produce at front doors. The Elmhurst Highland Community Club solved the problem by organizing a huge Halloween parade that ended at Rube’s Field on First Street where children won prizes for the most original costumes. With entertainment and refreshments, by the time the festivities were over, there was no time for the children to get into trouble. About this time, Trick or Treat was established in other areas to combat the same problems the Elmhurst Highlands Community Club had already solved.

In 1938, Hills Brothers Coffee Company asked to build a plant in Elmhurst. A petition was filed on November 2, 1938 that rezoned 37 ½ acres for industrial purposes just north of the North Western tracks to where Schiller Street extended beyond Geneva Avenue. Mild opposition caused Mr. Hills to drop his request and an Elmhurst industrial park was postponed for three decades.

Finally, there is a rumor that The Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s plane, landed in this vacant land and stayed for Lindburgh planeseveral days. It is said that a friend of Lindbergh had borrowed the plane just after the famous flight across the Atlantic and brought it to Elmhurst. Children from nearby Eugene Field School all went to see it and agreed that it was indeed the famous plane. There is no public record of the event, however.

The east side of the subdivision borders East End Park.East End Pool The most popular feature of the park is East End Pool, but it also has a playground, three baseball diamonds, a soccer field, lighted tennis and basketball courts and a concession stand that is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Students who live in Elmhurst Highlands attend Field Elementary, Sandburg Middle School and York Community High School.  Click here for more information on those schools and links to school reports and more. With the demolition of the old Elmhurst Hospital building, a new subdivision is popping up right alongside Elmhurst Highlands, promising a regeneration of an already popular area of Elmhurst.

If you are interested in viewing homes in Elmhurst Highlands, 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.

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided in our research. She continues to be an invaluable resource for this series.

 

A Walk on the Shade Street in North Graue Woods

Morth Grau WoodsToday’s subdivision has to be the smallest one in Elmhurst. With just three streets intersecting North Avenue, just east of Route 83, North Graue Woods has the most eclectic selection of homes in Elmhurst. Starter homes built in the early 1930s have given way to some of the larger homes Elmhurst has become famous for. Nestled in this woodsy setting, these houses truly look like homes.

All three streets, River Glen Avenue, Shady Lane and Ferndale Avenue, end in pathcul-de-sacs. There is a path that runs from Shady Lane to Ferndale Avenue that the kids use to get to Emerson School and the park that is located there. Even though it is small, Graue Woods has its own homeowner’s association named the Graue Woods Betterment Association, founded in 1939 by Edward Benson. The association is still active and occasionally has representatives speak at City Council meetings.

The streets in this subdivision are once again aptly named. River Glen Avenue For sale revwas within sight of the creek before so many houses were built, Shady Lane is named for all of the shade trees on the street and Ferndale Avenue is named for the ferns that grew in the lowland area it occupies. At least one of these homes appears to have been built by an unknown carpenter-builder named Fred Wilke, according to an old for sale sign found in an attic on Ferndale Avenue by its owner.

North Graue Woods also has a musical claim to fame. In 1946, Jimmy McPartland, a renowned cornetist, loaned his brother, Richard, money to build aFern St wide home in what was then a largely undeveloped area of Elmhurst. Jimmy and his distinguished pianist and composer wife, Marian McPartland, often attended jam sessions in North Graue Woods. They would move the piano and crates and bushel baskets out onto the porch and the great jazz artists of the day would come out for spaghetti or barbecue and jam long into the night.

Marian and Jimmy ultimately divorced, and Marian moved to New York. She released many albums and had quite a career with MaPartland Bookthe Marian McPartland Trio, which toured throughout the country. When Jimmy got cancer, however, it was Marian who returned to nurse him in his final days, remarrying him two weeks before he died. She went on to host NPR’s long-running “Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.” When Marian passed away, she was buried with her husband in Elmhurst’s Arlington Cemetery.

Children in North Graue Woods attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools  Emerson Elementary, Churchville Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in North Graue Woods range from a very affordable entry level of $250,000 to $1 million. If you are interested in viewing homes in North Graue Woods, 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.

 

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.

 

Look West to Graue Woods

Today’s subdivision, Graue Woods, is actually two separatemap graue woods.jpg areas, on either side of North Avenue at the far west side of Elmhurst. For now, we will focus on the south section between North Avenue and 2nd Street and from West Avenue to Villa Park Avenue.

In 1833, the Graues of Hanover, Germany arrived in the United States. They claimed land in the future York and Addison townships in northern Elmhurst where Frederick Graue, of Old Graue Mill fame, settled near the present Elmhurst-Addison boundary. The Graue family eventually owned two general stores in Elmhurst, Ludwig Graue on First Avenue along the railroad and thirty years later, the second Graue store was the first brick building built in Elmhurst, located at 136 West Park Avenue.

along the creekIn 1915, the developer Albert D. Graue & Sons of Elmhurst was working hard to sell this land, even offering to lend purchasers the money to buy. Brochures featured picturesque photographs of the Salt Creek south of the North Avenue Bridge and advertised an acre of land that cost from $650 to $1,000. The brochure featured a quaint poem that ends, “Spend your last days not with strangers, Enter heaven’s gate from home.”

According to Fremont Graue, the streets in this area had descriptive names like treesRiverside Drive, which was named for its location west of Salt Creek and Parkside Avenue,  literally named that because it was located next to a park. Other street names were equally prosaic, with Glade Street so named because it was the only open space in the woods and Glenview Avenue because it offered a view of open space between the trees. A lady who bought several lots in the subdivision wanted to live on a street named Bonnie Brae because she had lived on a street with that name in the past, so the developers granted her request. Most noteworthy is North Avenue, which was called Fourth Street until February 17, 1900 when the Village Trustees re-named it North Avenue because it was called that in 1837 when the city was incorporated. North Avenue at that time was the northern boundary of Elmhurst.

Children in the Graue Woods subdivision attend the award winning Elmhurst District house205 schools  Emerson Elementary, Churchville Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in the Graue Woods subdivision range from a very affordable entry level of $175,000 to a little less than $1 million for new construction homes. If you are interested in viewing homes in Graue Woods, 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.

 

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.

What’s going on in North Elmhurst?

The city of Elmhurst has decided that the north side of town needs a little tender Elmhurst-Location-Maploving care. Work has been going on for over a year, including community meetings with both residents and businesses, surveys, research in other towns and internal discussion among city officials. Called the North York  Plan, the area in question is a 2-mile stretch between Grand Avenue and North Avenue.

Lead by consulting teams at Houseal Lavigne Associates, Conservation Design Forum and Gewalt Hamilton Associates, the plan looks at how land is used, including what types of businesses are operating, what types of buildings are standing, vehicular and foot traffic, urban design, infrastructure including flood control, and more. This area is in TIF District IV, which was approved in September of 2012. (If you want more information about TIFs in general, please visit the Illinois Tax Increment Association website.)

Both residents and business owners have met in several meetings to provide opinions as to what is needed in the area and their conclusions were fairly similar. The most mentioned areas included parking, Land Use Planconnectedness to the central business district, sidewalks and cross walks, and community perception because of the appearance of some of the buildings. To solve parking issues, consolidating parking areas and moving them behind the buildings was suggested. This might mean TIF financing would be required to purchase land. To connect this area to the downtown area, ideas including some type of trolley or bus to run between the North York Corridor and the Metra station were discussed, without gaining much traction.

Walkability was more easily addressed, including better sidewalks or paths. If parking lots are centrally located in back of the buildings, pedestrians would also be treesmuch safer. Community perception is thought to be poor because Elmhurst residents living adjacent to the area travel to other places to shop. Many people at the meetings thought the city should try to attract national stores similar to the new and popular Mariano’s grocery store. In addition, a lot of time was spent suggesting improvements to the appearance of the area including trees at intersections, medians with flowers and burying utility lines.

In fact, improving the appearance of the area seems to be the most pressing issue at the moment. The plan encourages businesses along North York290 overpass Street to upgrade signage making it more consistent, improve landscaping along the street, improve the look of the I-290 interchange, and encourage economic development by recruiting bigger anchor stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond or other destination retail stores. Grant programs may be offered to improve existing business facades and move towards consolidating and revamping parking areas.

Making it advantageous for businesses who are more industrial in nature to move to Grand Avenue is also under consideration in order to make room for the more retail oriented businesses the city hopes to attract. With bigger stores, Elmhurst could become a regional shopping area bringing more tax revenue to the city and convenience to its residents.

So once again, exciting things appear to be happening in Elmhurst. Stay tuned for more updates!

 

If you are interested in learning more about this plan, there is a very complete report, including the illustrations and charts in this article, at http://www.hlplanning.com/portals/elmhurst/download/other_documents/North%20York%20Street%20Plan%20DRAFT%20MQ.pdf.

Convenience is Key in Emery Manor

Emery Manor MapEmery Manor was the first subdivision built in Elmhurst and includes the area between Armitage and Fremont Street and from West Avenue to Walnut Street. In 1952, Munson Emery sold his family’s farm to a developer who offered him $3,000 an acre. The planned subdivision was a new concept and would help end the housing slump that had settled into Elmhurst the previous two years.

Aerial View of Emery Manor (1962)

Aerial View of Emery Manor (1962)

Three hundred and sixty ranch homes were built with four models, each decorated by a different furniture store. The models had either two or three bedrooms, one bath, and a garage. Thomas Myers, a local Realtor, secured the right to list the homes, selling  all of the homes in the subdivision in approximately one year. The cost of the homes started at $16,375 and most of the buyers were World War II vets who put 10% down and used VA mortgages. Taxes cost between $300 and $400 a year. The same developers came back a year later and built the Brynhaven subdivision.

Selling points of the homes included a huge picture window, trellised entrance-way, North ave houseand all-electric kitchen with Frigidaire appliances, Youngstown steel cabinets, a “wonderful” exhaust fan, a “clever” built-in safe delivery package receiver and a “sensibly sound-proofed” bathroom. They were also the first homes in Elmhurst built with electric wiring and a washer and dryer.

Emery Lane was named after the land’s original family and Ida Lane after their daughter, Ida Emery Ullman. Fremont Avenue was named after Fremont Graue, who was theTell your friends developer of Emery Manor. Berens Park borders Emery Manor on the north, complete with facilities for baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball, a sledding hill, running path and The Hub, a unique park district facility that features four batting cages, an 18-hole mini golf course, a 6000 sq. ft. spray ground and a playground and the Lee A. Daniels Pavilion, a 3,500 sq. ft. facility with restrooms and concessions.

Children in the subdivision attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools  Emerson Elementary, Churchville Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in Emery Manor range from a very affordable entry level of $250,000 to a little less than $1 million for new construction homes. If you are interested in viewing homes in Emery Manor, 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.

 

We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.

Elmhurst’s First Neighborhood – Part 2

un named mapThis is our second look at a neighborhood so iconic, as far we can tell no one ever thought to name it. Stretching from St. Charles Road on the North to the Prairie Path on the South and York Street to Spring Road, it was home to estates built for the most important forefathers of Elmhurst. This time we are going to look at some of the unusual architecture in the area, as well as, some other points of interest in its history.

One of the oldest features of Elmhurst, is the Elmhurst Great Western Prairie, which runs five miles through Elmhurst and has been billed as “A Piece of the Past…A Part of the Future.” The path started out as a clearing for train tracks, which was Prairie Pathmowed but not developed. When the railroad tracks were removed, the Illinois Prairie Path was established with native prairie plants once again growing wild and preserving a part of Illinois history. As one of only a few original prairies remaining, it is a reminder of what the landscape looked like as the settlers arrived and showcases over 150 species of plants including shooting star, spiderwort, asters, coneflowers, and large bluestem and Indian grasses.

490 S. York

Adjacent to the Prairie Path, a regal reminder of days gone by sits at 490 South York Street. This home was occupied for a time by a Baron von Bielenfield and his family, after being occupied by Mrs. Mary Goebel, the great granddaughter of Conrad Fischer, one of Elmhurst’s earliest settlers.

From 1920 to 1924, part of the estate of Thomas B. Bryan was home to an orphanage at the southwest corner of York Street and St. Charles Road. It was run by the Sisters of St. Mary and was called the St. Mary’s Home for Children. When the facility closed, the children were moved to an orphanage on Jackson Boulevard in Chicago.Fred LaFave Addition

We talked about the Lindlahr Sanitarium last time. A young builder named Fred LaFave, an associate of Walter Burley Griffin and Frank Lloyd Wright, purchased the land where the sanitarium stood and renamed it LaFave’s Addition, roughly consisting of Prospect and Mitchell from St. Charles Road to Eggleston.

413 Mitchell

The LaFave family made their home in part of the old sanitarium building while all of the other buildings were torn down to make room for the new homes, featuring many different designs. The ones that stand out, however, exhibit a definite Spanish influence on Mitchell and the beautiful Tudor at 204 W.  St. Charles Road.

The homes in this subdivision currently range from $300,000 to over a million dollars. Some of the homes for sale today were built while Elmhurst was in its heyday and reflect the glory and majesty of the gilded age of Elmhurst. If you are interested in looking at homes in this or any of Elmhurst’s unique neighborhoods, call a knowledgeable realtor at LW Reedy.

Residents of this neighborhood are in the award winning Elmhurst School District 205 and would attend Hawthorne Elementary Grade School, Sandburg Middle School and York High School. Click here for more information on those schools, links to school reports and more.

All pictures were provided by the Elmhurst Historical Museum. Special thanks to Nancy Wilson of the Elmhurst Historical Museum for her help and support.

Elmhurst’s First Neighborhood

Next in our exploration of Elmhurst subdivisions is a neighborhood so iconic, as far we can tell no one ever thought to name it. In fact, weun named map are dedicating two articles to this area so that we don’t miss any of the fascinating history.

Stretching from St. Charles Road on the North to the Prairie Path on the South and York Street to Spring Road, the estates first built there belonged to the most important founders of Elmhurst, including Thomas R. Bryan and his brother-in-law, Jedidiah H. Lathrop. Both men, along with Seth Wadhams their neighbor across the street, were responsible for planting the Elm trees that ultimately gave Elmhurst its name. Seth Wadhams’ home later became Wilder Mansion, which still stands today as a part of the Elmhurst Park District.

In the 1870s, both Bryan and Lathrop were involved in the diplomatic service and were friends with many politicians and other world leaders. Bryan was a close personal friend of Abraham Lincoln’s, serving as pallbearer at his funeral. With such high profiles, both men entertained a great many international guests, including King Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales, who visited while touring the United States.

Thomas Bryan Courtesy Elmhurst Historical Museum

Thomas Bryan

Thomas Bryan was also responsible for some big events outside of Elmhurst, including securing and organizing the 1893 World Fair in Chicago. Thomas Bryan and his wife, Jane Byrd Page, famously held a party for visiting World Fair dignitaries at their home, Byrd’s Nest, located at the southwest corner of St. Charles Road and York Street. Elmhurst’s other connection to the World Fair, Caroline Dupee Wade, was an artist who decorated the Illinois Building at the Columbian Exposition and provided artwork for the Palace of Fine Arts at the Fair.

The Great Fire of 1871 marked the beginning of an era of elegant socializing in Elmhurst for residents and wealthy refugees of Chicago, many of whom built their own estates on elm-shaded streets. By 1900, Elmhurst even had a Saddle Club. Every Saturday afternoon, 20 members of the club, with their guests, would gather near St. Charles Road and Mitchell Avenue to participate in races and other equestrian pursuits. After an afternoon of riding, one of the members would host a dinner dance. Known as Hagan Racetrack, the facility was later moved to Cicero and renamed Hawthorne Racetrack.

As time went on, the estates were subdivided into smaller lots. In 1914, Dr. Henry L. Lindlahr bought eight acres of the Lathrop estate on the south side of St. Charles Road between Cottage Hill and Prospect Avenues to use as a sanitarium. Advertisements claimed patients received Nature Cure treatments in a country-like atmosphere.

Lindlahrs Sanitarium

Lindlahrs Sanitarium

The Sanitarium specialized in homeopathic treatments including vegetarian diets, sunbaths, air baths, hydrotherapy and manipulation. A brochure stated outright: No Surgery, No Drugs, No Serums. The sanitarium operated until 1928, four years after Dr. Lindlahr died.

Enjoying a large campus, the property included an administration building, an annex with living quarters and treatment room, bungalows and a tent city in the summer. Exercise was an important component of the treatments and so the grounds also featured large wooded grounds for walking, tennis and basketball courts, lawn croquet, volleyball and exercise groups.

The homes in this subdivision currently range from $300,000 to over a million dollars. Some of the homes for sale today were built while Elmhurst was in its heyday and reflect the glory and majesty of the gilded age of Elmhurst. If you are interested in looking at homes in this or any of Elmhurst’s unique neighborhoods, call a knowledgeable realtor at LW Reedy.

Residents of this neighborhood are in the award winning Elmhurst School District 205 and would attend Hawthorne Elementary Grade School, Sandburg Middle School and York High School. Click here for more information on those schools, links to school reports and more.

All pictures were provided by the Elmhurst Historical Museum.

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