The permit for this imposing home was issued in April 1906 to Mrs. Emma Schroth, a widow who lived here with her three grown children for only a few years. The architect was Chicago-born Berkeley Brandt (1874-1944), whose design for the house combined such Prairie-style elements as repeated horizontal lines, overhanging eaves and ribbon windows with the “baronial” brick massing becoming popular with well-off suburban home buyers. Prior to designing this home he had just completed a similar home two blocks to the north at Catalpa and Wayne. Both houses featured the expansive public entertaining rooms and master bedroom suites that became standard in upscale homes of the WWI era. He designed four other buildings in Edgewater that are no longer standing.

The scope of Brandt’s career is not yet well documented, although his professional papers are in the collection of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The son of a wealthy Chicago attorney, Brandt graduated from the University of Chicago in 1895 and then studied in Paris at the L’École des Beaux Arts when he and his sister joined the many avant garde Americans in Paris in the late 1800s. Returning home to Chicago he studied at the Art Institute. After receiving his Illinois architectural license in 1901, he established his own practice and undertook the sort of institutional work available to young unknown architects – a Carnegie Library in Benton Harbor, Michigan, dormitories for a Masonic Home in Sullivan, Illinois, plans submitted for a post office in Hammond, Indiana.

Two of Berkley Brandts designs are on the National Register of Historic Places – the Caroline Mark House in Mount Carroll, Illinois (1906-1908) and a 12,000 seat coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas (1907) that is part of the Stockyards Historic District. He moved with his wife and five children to a citrus ranch in Ojai, California, sometime in the 1920s.

In 1910 the home was purchased by George M. Dawson. Born in Australia and orphaned at an early age, Dawson came to the United States to capitalize on his fame as a lightweight boxer. Known as “Gentleman George” for his sportsmanship and refined manners, he had worked as an athletics instructor and boxing coach for the elite Chicago Athletic Association ever since its clubhouse had opened on South Michigan Avenue in 1893. In about 1927 Dawson sold the house to a young physician and surgeon, John Brennan O’Donoghue. The O’Donoghues lived in the house until moving to Melody Road in west Lake Forest in the mid-1930s.

The wide full façade front porch is supported by both brick columns and paired six inch timber beams. It is a two story porch with open deck above. This wide porch reinforces the horizontal emphasis of the Prairie School. The entrance steps are flanked by brick pillars with Prairie design planters. The entrance door is the original oak door with divided lights and fixed panel of glass above. The hip roof is tiled and there are dormers at the third floor level on three sides.

The oak door opens into the front hall, which is the center of the house. A ceramic floor tile has been installed here for this high traffic area. All the oak woodwork is original on the windows and door frames. Working pocket doors open into the living room on the right and the family room on the left. The doors are in the same design with two panels on the lower part and three sections above. The floors in these two rooms are quarter sawn oak.

The large and gracious living room has a fireplace on the north wall in golden oak. The wreath design on the mantel is in the Beaux Arts style. Because of the spaciousness of this room the current owners have divided the area in two with the sofa and chairs near the fireplace and the south area set up as a dining room with an elegant stained glass chandelier and sideboard. The windows to the south are of two types: smaller fixed windows with six divided lights and double hung windows on either side. These windows are divided in the one-third/two-thirds proportion with the upper panel being in six divisions like the center windows and the lower panel clear. Along the east wall of the living room is a set of windows with the upper divided panel and the casement windows below. This is above a long window bench that is a kind of square bay extending out from the main exterior wall of the house.

The original dining room has been reconfigured as the family room. The bay along the south wall is built with four casement windows and the fixed divided windows above. The window to the west is in the same design but a wider format.

From the front hall is a passageway to the kitchen with a door to the basement. The kitchen has been updated with new counters and appliances. The cabinets are of the 1940s vintage. The original back door is oak with a similar division of the panels two over one. In that area there is also another unusual window with divided panels of glass.

At the back of the center hall behind the original mirrored door is a small powder room under the staircase. It has a wooden toilet and a small custom window. At the staircase the newel post has a carved cross similar to the well known symbol of a Maltese cross. The balusters are like the screen we have seen in several other homes on the tour this year. The staircase is winding and extends out from the wall of the house with three windows on the curve. Above the windows in the four over one design are fixed glass windows.

The staircase opens into a wide hall with maple flooring. The woodwork on this floor has been stripped in some places but the doors were painted and the panels were wall papered. This floor has four bedrooms and a full bath. The windows in the bedrooms are casement. In the master bedroom a ribbon row of windows faces the east. This room is connected to the next room and that room opens onto the full width front deck.

On the third floor is a large bedroom suite that is tucked under the roof giving a cozy feel to the room with the casement windows and window benches beneath them. The owner says this area at one time was a child’s playroom and also once served as a maid’s quarters.