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Downers Grove, IL

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Downers Grove Landmarked Homes on Tour
Fall 2017

701 Maple Avenue (The Herring House) is a Queen Anne style house built circa 1895. This style typically features varied wall plain and forms using towers and bays. In the Midwest, the majority of Queen Annes were constructed in wood clapboard or wood shingles. A key feature of the Queen Anne style is asymmetry, often in the form of steeply pitched, cross-gabled roofs and cylindrical towers. Elaborate, ornamented porches are also a notable feature. This beautiful home retains many of these original features, including the wood clapboard, wood shingles on the 2nd story, rounded dining room bay, and hipped roof with cross gables. It has a full front porch, a recessed balcony, original decorative ornamentation on the north and west side, and a chimney on the east side. The house’s ‘balloon frame’ is built on a stone foundation. All the windows are original and are wood, double hung with chain cording, except for those located in the rear addition. Some of the stained glass is original or was salvaged and incorporated into the new windows.

4540 Highland Avenue (The Venard House) is an American Foursquare built circa 1914. The American Foursquare is aptly named after its cubic shape and division of living space into quarters and is sometimes called a “Classical Box” or “Prairie Box.” The typical features of a Foursquare include two-and-a-half stories with a hipped roof and large front porches. In Downers Grove, many Foursquare homes were designed in the Prairie and Craftsman styles, especially in the E.H. Prince Subdivision and along the Maple Avenue corridor. This classic home contains many Foursquare features, including the cube-shaped massing and hipped roof with wide eaves. The full width front porch, with double and triple columns is typical of the Craftsman style. The horizontal band, typical of the Prairie style, separates the bevel siding below from the shingle siding on the second story. Some of the other notable features include the wooden double hung windows with a triple-window bay off the dining room. In addition to the exterior original architectural features, many interior architectural features remain including, hardware, trim, and windows. A one-story rear addition was added to the west side of the house in 1986, with attention to match the original exterior.

1232 Gilbert Avenue (The Melchor Gjerde House) is a Folk Victorian style house built circa 1891. This style of home was popular from 1870 to 1910 and is considered a sub type of the more elaborate Queen Anne style. These homes are usually orderly and symmetrical. The important features of these homes are the brackets under the eaves, porches with spindlework or flat, jigsaw cut trim, low-pitched, pyramid shaped roof, front gable and side wings. Classic Folk Victorian homes do not have towers, bay windows, or elaborate moldings. This wonderful home has many of these features including a symmetrical facade with a two story front and gabled roof, and a front porch with cornice bracket and turned spindled posts. There is a transom window over the front window under the porch that contains small squares of stained glass. The home has had extensive interior renovations during the mid-80 and 90's and the exterior renovations have been limited to the rear of the house.

4709 Linscott Avenue (The Lottie McDougall House) is a Folk Victorian built circa 1894. This architectural style is considered a sub type of the Queen Anne style. These homes are typically orderly and symmetrical. This well maintained home retains many of the original features that define a Folk Victorian including a symmetrical façade with a two-story front and gabled roof, a front porch and a second story balcony. The exterior has decorative vergeboard and fish scale shingles on all gables. The original exterior materials such as wood and stone have been maintained. This Victorian house still has its original woodwork, doors and built-in cabinets. Some modifications to the home include enclosing the front porch, enlarging the kitchen, adding a bathroom and a rear, screened porch. It is notable that members of only three families have owned this home in its 123 year history, with the current owner since 1977.


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