By: Frances A. Posner
My love for 1305 Rosedale Avenue began at age six. That’s a long time ago. I’m 80. Mother and Dad had bought a house. I was going to see it. A house with trees and bushes and flowers, porches, a basement and an attic. Attics were spooky?! Dark and low. Helen, my sister, who was grown up, laughed when I asked her whether my friends were right. I guessed that meant they were.
We four - my parents, sister Helen, and I - stood in the backyard. Two little blonde girls, with long curls like mine, clutched tight to a tall pretty lady’s skirts, ankle-length in the fashion of those days. She smiled a lot, but I caught the pretty lady wistfully touching the odd-shaped leaves of the big tree in the center of the lawn. A long-legged, thin, yellow-haired man lay on a couch under the tree. I remember he said: “They are twin houses.”
1305 is a two-story, light stucco frame house with full attic and basement, both very high-ceilinged. Between lathe and plaster, all around, is a layer of redwood for insulation. Hard oak wood floors and trim. At the bottom of the original deed to 1305 is inscribed the architect’s signature, M.L. Cable.
On February 16, 1908, Dr. Frank R. Merz, a dentist with offices at Foster and Clark, received the warranty deed to 1305 from Frederick K. Croll. Croll was an investment banker with offices at 205 La Salle Street and a residence at 6031 Lexington Avenue. Croll, Jr., his son, died in New York City, aged 65, on July 15, 1959.
Dr. Merz arranged to have the house built by Max Lowell Cable, architect, of 417 N. Western Avenue, and Security Builders, contractors, at Madison Street, west of the Loop, on the S.E. corner of 5th Avenue. In 1916, Cable took a partner, Alexander Henry Spitz. Cable’s son and grandson – Gray Cable of Deerfield, Illinois, are also practicing architects.
While the house at 1305 was being erected, Dr. Mertz and his wife Emma lived at 2345 Evanston Avenue (now Broadway). 1305 was completed in 1909, the year after Chicago’s City Hall was cornerstoned, but the Merz family only lived there one year. On April 30, 1914, Dr. Merz released the property to Ino E. MacSwain, who sold it to Elizabeth M. Schram, a school teacher living in Palmer Square at 1300 Francis Place, between Armitage and Lincoln, west of Western. She doesn’t seem to have lived in the 1305 house. She may have been only a realtor-agent for MacSwain.
All the MacSwains lived on the far south side, at 70th, and 119th and Yale Streets. A John MacSwain, car inspector for the City Trolley Company, lived at 2629 W. 37th.
My father, Joseph M. Posner, bought the house at 1305 in 1919. Since then, it has been devised to me, his daughter. I have declared it by will a Women’s Residence upon my death.
Editor’s Note: EHSers wish to extend, on March 2 1991, Happy Four Score and One Birthday wishes to our dear friend Frances!