This year's Pleasant Home Fall House Tour will include entry to seven private Oak Park residences as well as Pleasant Home. From Tudor Revival to Queen Anne to Stick, a wide range of architectural styles are represented by the homes on Clinton and Home avenues.
Heidi Ruehle-May, executive director of the Pleasant Home Foundation, and John Thorpe, head of research for the tour, are excited about several homes never before open to the public before, which will be on this year's tour. A team of foundation researchers has been hard at work discovering details on the homes' past, which will be retold on the docent-led tours. The Pleasant Home Fall House Tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5. For tickets and information, please visit www.pleasanthome.org.
The John W. Farson Residence, or Pleasant Home, is not only a place to pick up tickets for the Fall House Tour; it's also included on the tour. This Prairie-style beauty was designed by architect George Maher and houses the Historical Society of Oak Park River Forest. The home has been owned by the Park District of Oak Park since 1939 when it was sold by the Herbert Mills family. The home's beautiful stained glass and stunning woodwork make it one of Oak Park's architectural wonders.
The Miller Hall Residence was built circa 1891, and the architect of the Queen Anne-style home is unknown. Miller Hall, brother of Ernest Hall and great uncle of Ernest Hemingway, was the first owner of the home. Originally, the structure sported clapboard siding, which was eventually covered with stucco. (Hall also constructed the home next door, 234 Clinton, for his son William.) The home underwent significant changes during its history and at one point was divided into apartments. More recent owners have undertaken significant restoration and returned the home to its single-family status.
The Garland Residence, constructed in 1852, is believed to be the oldest surviving single-family home in Oak Park. Not all information on the home can be substantiated, but it is believed the home might have been moved in its early years. The Colonial Revival structure was probably first home to James T. Whipple, an inventor and patent attorney, and his wife Harriet. Later, Abraham Edmunds, owner of a large mill-working company, lived in the home with his family. Edmunds' daughter, Ethel, is credited with the idea for the circa 1908 horse-show fountain in Scoville Park.
The William V. Terrill House is a Stick-style home constructed around 1892-93 by an unknown architect. The first owner of the home was Nathan T. Holley, an early Oak Park real estate developer, but Terrill is believed to be the first owner to occupy the property. The Stick style is characterized by the expression of the inner structure of the home through exterior ornamentation. For many years, the home was owned by Grace Episcopal Church's organist who out-fitted the house with an impressive organ. The current owners of the home have recently completed extensive remodeling of the home's interior and exterior.
The Heneage Residence was constructed in 1899 by architects Hodgkins and Burrows. The Tudor Revival house was built for the recently widowed Millie Heneage. In 1912, an addition was added to the home, and the first-floor living quarters were separated from boarders' rooms on the second floor. The current owners have four original pages of the 1898 architect's plans, over which are penciled remodeling details from the 1912 renovations.
The date of construction and the architect of this Queen Anne-style home are undetermined, but the home has interesting roots. In 1886 Dora Herrick, daughter of Joseph Kettlestrings, Oak Park's first European-American settler, sold the home for $900 to Emily Chase Currier, who left the home to her two daughters, Emily and Helen. Emily was a Chicago Public School teacher for 43 years and died in 1908. Following her death, Oscar Reid Jr., a 59-year employee of the Mississippi Glass Company lived in the home from 1910-1955.
The Vaughan Residence was built in 1899 and designed by architect E.E. Roberts. The Colonial Revival home has had 10 owners since Vaughan first built the 10-room home. During the 1950s and '60s, the owners received numerous citations for illegal apartments in the home and the barn, constructed in 1904. More recent owners have undertaken extensive renovations, and the home received a Cavalcade of Pride Award in 2009. While many original details such as quarter-sawn oak woodwork, a dining room chandelier, and leaded glass windows remain, the home's kitchen has been extensively remodeled to suit a modern-day family.
The original owners of this Queen Anne-style home, as well as the exact year of its construction, are unknown. The house was an early "spec" house, built by Krogman Brothers Builders, who bought the lot in 1899. The brothers, Henry, William and Kohn were German immigrants, active in Oak Park from about 1885 to 1915. They also constructed the John A. Seaman House at 139 S. Grove Ave. and Forest Park Baptist Church in Forest Park. The first known residents of the home were J. Howard Jones and his family, but census records indicate the home was owned by Marcus Cicero Stearns at that time.