This home was built for Nicholas Kransz Jr., a son of the early settler Nicholas Kransz. The family farm extended from Devon to just south of Ridge from Clark on the west to Glenwood on the east. The original family farmhouse was at the corner of Ridge and Clark and was known as the “Seven Mile House” because of the distance from downtown. Eventually the family subdivided the farm over a period of several years.
The permit for the construction of this imposing house was issued to B.F. Weber and Company on April 13, 1907. The estimated cost was given as $7,000, a large sum for a house in the Kransz 2nd Addition to Edgewater. The family retained ownership of the home until 1920.
During the Depression, this home was vacant and the Guardian Life Insurance Company held title until Francis J. Sullivan bought the home in 1953. The current owners purchased the home in 1982.
The details and wraparound porch with the corner turret seem to indicate that the home is a Queen Anne. That style originated in America in Philadelphia during a fair celebrating the 100 year anniversary of our nation in 1876. However, by 1907 the elaborate detailing of a Queen Anne had lost favor for a more simplified design. This may be the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement in the Chicago area. When this home was built, it was designed to be an important home for the developer of the area. Viewed from the corner, the home is approximately symmetrical (there are some differences like the bay on the east side of the house) with a central turret and two front gabled façades with large overhanging eaves. These eaves are not characteristic of the Queen Anne style and indicate the home has other design influences.
The owner has found plans by the William A Radford Company in a book printed in 1908 that resembles the design of this house. In the book “Radford’s Artistic Homes, 250 designs by the Radford Company” 1908 the Plan 7059 shows a home with a central turret and two side gables with wide overhanging eaves. The floor plan of this Radford plan does not match the interior design of this house. It is may be that the Radford plan influenced the Kransz design but no direct link is known. Radford had a studio on South Prairie Avenue in Chicago and published several books about home design and construction.
The original roof was slate, which has been replaced. Some exterior shingling was replaced and others added in the upper front and side gables. Over the years some of the details, such as the widows walk at the top and the railings on either side of the turret, had been removed. These have been restored, so that the home looks like the photo taken of it in 1908. The columns on the wraparound porch indicate this home is unique. The balusters are not in the Queen Anne style, but are a simpler style much like many Arts and Crafts homes in the area.
The brick used in the home was from the Purington Brick Company of Galesburg, Illinois. The color is a deep purple color with corner quoins in a warm gold. Purington was known as a paving brick company. They paved the original Ashland Avenue and some samples of their bricks can be seen at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum. A few can be found on the walkway in front of 1420 Glenlake. The warm gold quoins on the south west and north east corners of the house area an unusual touch.
The entrance to the home is through a front door that is original. The mailbox and both porch lights are also original. The staircase in the reception hall has simple wood balusters like the porch and other exterior railings. The newel post light at the foot of the stairway is a period replacement for the original, which was electrified. The small bathroom off the reception hall originally was a closet.
The appearance of the interior of this home is similar to its appearance in 1907. The wall paper panels in the rooms on the first floor are original and exhibit the style of some early 20th century homes. The owner has made every effort to maintain the historic character of the home. The cast iron stove in the parlor is new and replaced a gas heater that was removed when the house was vacant. The windows above the stove probably had leaded glass like the one in the dining room. All the woodwork is oak. The door hardware was changed sometime in the 1950s. The original wallpaper in this room was probably canvas. The push button light switches are replacements. The door to the porch is original. The gas/electric combination ceiling fixtures and the electric only wall sconces are reproduction replacements.
In the dining room is one beveled glass window of the style that would have been used in several other places in the home. The dining room light fixture, a period replacement, is in keeping with the use of combination fixtures at this time in Edgewater when electricity was not available all the time and gas was supplementary. The electricity may have been available only in the evening. When it was not available the gas candles could be lit after turning a small switch on the fixture. Other gas/ electric wall fixtures have been found in the home in the attic and basement. The built-in cabinet in the original room was removed sometime during the years the house was unoccupied. The brick in the wall of the dining room suggests that there may have been a pass through between the dining room and the kitchen.
The kitchen at the back of the home has been updated. It originally had two pantries – one heated and one unheated. The large window on the west wall of the kitchen is new as is the French style door to the back porch. The cast iron stove in the kitchen is a replacement of what originally was a heating appliance. The maple floor in this room is a replacement. With the exception of a long-removed built in cabinet between the kitchen and the old pantries, the original kitchen at the time this house was built had no cabinets or counters and just one work table in the center of the room so the kitchen has been updated to 21st century design.
The kitchen was connected to the second floor by a back stairway through a back hallway. This back hall has been redesigned so there are now only two doors, rather than the original four. Originally there had been a speaking tube in this back hallway, which was connected to the maid’s room on the third floor.
On the second floor are four bedrooms and a bath that has been updated. A small bath off the large bedroom is an addition that was created by combining two closets and part of the southwest bedroom. Little else has been changed on this floor. The lighting fixtures that are shiny are new combination gas and electric fixtures and the less shiny ones are period. All the glass shades on the second floor fixtures are period except for the shades in the large bedroom. The hallway extends at an angle to a second floor balcony, facing the back that the current owners have made into a deck. Originally, this doorway was a large double sash window.
The third floor includes the maid’s room and a full bath and is mostly unfinished.