This beautiful Queen Anne style home was built in 1905 for the B.F. Weber Company in Kransz’s First Addition to Edgewater. The home has been preserved with most of its original design including the wide board siding, most of the windows, and the brackets that adorn the eaves and the turret. Of special interest is the unusual turret with copper spiral, which is a replica of the original. The Joliet limestone foundation is an indication of an earlier type construction, since the use of limestone was discontinued around 1900. One other home on the block has a limestone foundation.
There were several owners of this beautiful home from 1905 to 1936 when Alexius M. Urbanus family moved in and raised three sons and two daughters. On May 4, 1970 the Urbanus family transferred ownership to the Alexian Brothers Provincialate. This Catholic religious order of priests resided in the home for five years as a novitiate for men studying for the priesthood. There are indications that the brothers used the basement for a chapel and they installed mailboxes in the third floor office. They moved to another location on Kenmore in 1975. The next owners were the Cain’s who showed the home in the 2000 Edgewater Historic Home Tour.
The porch has been enclosed with casement windows that are original. The iron pot brackets perhaps for oil lamps that are on either side of the front door are original, as are the door to the porch and the front door. The dominant feature of the façade is the turret. Above the door is a pediment with open brackets. At the roof line there are brackets visible under the eaves. Next to the turret at the third floor level is a small rectangular dormer with a peaked roof.
The home is unique in the design of the interior space. The front entrance opens into a large living space that may have been subdivided at the time of the original construction. To the right of the door is an alcove with an area for a library and piano. Directly back from the front door is the living room conversation area around a fireplace. The fireplace has a new face of limestone which replaces brick. The staircase to the second floor rises from this area. There is a coatroom under the main stairs with 10 low hanging hooks for children. This may have been used by the brothers. Also, there is a 1920 intercom system that is connected to the third floor office. The grooved woodwork around the doors and windows is original and is painted white. The oak flooring is a replacement of the original worn out floors.
Just past the living room is the entrance to the elegant dining room. The original windows that faced the side yard and the home next door have been replaced by glass block, which creates a wall of light. Glass block dates from the 1920s and was once considered the ultimate in modernity. At the opposite end of the dining room are double French doors that open onto the family eating area, which is connected to the kitchen. This unique solution to the family dining area allowed the preservation of the original kitchen space with some adaptation to the 21st century life style.
The kitchen has been updated many times. The most recent work included replacing the kitchen bay window, adding quartz countertops and venting for the stove. A back porch has been made into a cozy breakfast/ tea room and the floor refinished and insulation added. It was probably an open porch originally. Also off the kitchen is a powder room, which was once the pantry as shown on a contractor drawing from 1983.The back staircase opens onto the kitchen, indicating that the family may have had live in help.
We will use the front staircase to the second floor. Note the beautiful newel post and turned wood balusters. On the second floor is the master bedroom and two bedrooms with windows overlooking the front of the house. One other room opens into this central hallway with a window facing the back yard. It was opened out to create a media room. Three arches have been added to frame the doorways in the hall that extends to the back of the home. There are two bathrooms right next to each other. These bathrooms have been updated with new fixtures, Italian marble floors and glass tile walls.
The current homeowners have worked to reconfigure some of the second floor space and created closets in the rooms that had none or were too small. The six panel doors were relocated in this reconfiguration and one was specially made. Off this hallway is the rear staircase. All the woodwork on the second floor is painted, but is in the same design as the woodwork on the first floor. An arched opening next to the top of the 2nd floor main stairway leads to the third floor.
On the third floor there are additional bedrooms. One bedroom in the turret has had the ceiling removed to expose the shape of the turret. Note the location of the windows in the turret. The second bedroom has had a similar treatment with the removal of low ceiling to add space to the room. Since there were no closets for these rooms a shared closet was designed for the hallway.
This home is filled with history, both from the time of its construction to the present day. The current owners have made every effort to preserve its beauty while updating the home to reflect their own tastes and space requirements.