Architect Kueren isn't an 'unknown'

Opinion

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A story in your May 18 special section Wright Plus ("Walk on the Wright Side") erroneously reported that the architect of the 1893 Charles Erwin House, recently opened for Wright Plus, is unknown.

In fact, he has always been identified: James W. Van Keuren (1853-1915). His name was passed along to the current homeowners by the previous one, and with a little digging into local sources, that was confirmed during Wright Plus research on the house's history.

Van Keuren was an Oak Parker who was a successful developer as well as designer from the mid-1880s until his death. Any village resident will recognize some of his buildings: the brick commercial corner block that now houses Oak Park Jewelers at South and Marion, the Rothermel Rowhouses at Home and South, the old fire house (now much altered and incorporated into the water works) at Lake and Lombard, and the Emerson Ingalls Rowhouses at 200 Forest, overlooking Austin Gardens?#34;the last designed for Mrs. Erwin's uncle the year before the Erwin House went up.

Other houses are scattered about Oak Park, River Forest, Maywood, and Austin. Van Keuren was no architectural genius along the line of Wright, but he played his own part in shaping the development and look of this area at the turn of the century. And he was undoubtedly easier to get along with.

Wendy Greenhouse
Wright Plus Researcher, Charles Erwin House

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