This home was built in 1910 by Mr. S.H. Gunder, president of Pozzinni Pharmacal Company. Architect Myron Henry Church designed the building, which reflects the eclectic tastes of the era. It was noted in architectural publications and in the “Book of the North Shore,” which used a photo of the front entrance on the cover. In the photo, an ironwork canopy framed the entrance, but this detail was removed years ago. The distinctive mansard roof and stone medallions with floral designs show a French influence. This is carried out in the reception hall with a decorative plaster frieze based on floral forms in a vase.
The influence of the Prairie school is reflected in the ribbon windows and simple straightforward woodwork design. The three main rooms on the first floor are paneled to a height of seven feet. This leaves a band of wall at the top of each room. It is possible that this area was stenciled. Most of the woodwork in the home is oak except in the dining room which is mahogany.
The design work of Myron Church is evident in the reception hall fireplace. The motif in ceramic tiles is a three leaf pattern in various shades of green with some metallic gold accents. This design can also be found in the stained glass pocket doors which separate the dining room from the hallway. Another original window can be found in the living room library alcove. There were other windows of this type in the home, probably above the hallway fireplace, and on the landing of the staircase.
This home, like the one next door, survived as family housing until the 1940s, when the Viatorian Fathers acquired both and used them for housing student priests. In 1979, a developer sought the 3-1/2 acre site for a high-rise condominium complex. This created a neighborhood uproar born of the frustration of many previous attempts to prevent private acquisition of lakefront property. Under the leadership of the Edgewater Community Council, many groups joined in a lobbying effort which induced the Viatorian Fathers to accept a reduced amount for the sale of the property to the Chicago Park District.
After a study of the two homes, the Chicago Park District concluded that the Gunder home was not worth preserving. Faced with this decision, local residents raised the funds to preserve the building for community use. In 1988, the neighborhood dream came true when the North Lakeside Cultural Center moved into the north mansion and began offering classes, art exhibitions and cultural events.
We hope you enjoy the small exhibition of photos of the homes which we have set up on the first floor.