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Welcome to the Baha'i House of Worship - Linden Square walking tour in the Village of Wilmette. This tour will take approximately 30 minutes to complete and cover roughly 1.35 miles (assuming you start/end at the Baha'i House of Worship). The purpose of this tour is to highlight some of the architectural styles, both commercial and residential, that are common throughout the Village.
For further historical or architectural information about the Village please visit the Wilmette Historical Society located at 609 Ridge Road in the historic Gross Point Village Hall. Museum hours are Sunday - Thursday, 1:00-4:30.
1) Baha'i House of Worship
The Baha'i House of Worship displays a host of design elements which are suggestive of past styles. Egyptian, Arabic, Byzantine, Romanesque and Renaissance details are readily discernible. The original design for the temple was by the French-Canadian Louis Jean Bourgeois, an architect whose professional accomplishments include having worked with Daniel Burnham and Holabird and Roche. Each part of the Building is covered with sculptured designs in precast or poured-in-place Earley-Process quartz aggregate Portland white cement concrete. There are towers at the cusps of the concave scalloped facades on both the lower and in the middle sections that rise above the roof of the section of which they are a part. All of this sits on a massive circular concrete base 202 feet in diameter.
Landscaping of the grounds, designed by Hilbert Dahl, began in April 1952. The nonagonal design of the building extends to the grounds with nine gardens enclosed within an outer, encircling walk. Each of the nine gardens, which are similar in design, though with variation in detail, is a unit unto itself, being enclosed by the avenue of junipers on both sides and high plantings across the outborder.
The Baha'i House of Worship was dedicated to the world community by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i of the United States on May 2, 1953.
2) 139 Linden Avenue
Built in 1926 for Fred H. Kohn by architecture firm Edward Benson & Son this brick Italian Renaissance house has a typical low-pitched hipped roof with green tiles. Over the full story first floor windows are blind fanlights, enclosed by iron railings. Italian Renaissance architecture was most popular between 1890 and 1935. During this time, the Italian Renaissance style was far less common than Tudor, Craftsman or Colonial Revival styles.
3) The North Shore Channel of the Sanitary Ship Canal
Work began on this 8-mile canal in 1905. The canal was constructed part of the greater sanitary waterways of Chicago - which started with the 1900 reversal of the flow of the Chicago River - to help control the waste management of the Chicago region. Construction of the Ship and Sanitary Canal was the largest earth-moving operation that had been undertaken in North America up to that time. The Sanitary Canal engineers used this experience as training for later work on the Panama Canal.
4) 219 Linden Avenue
This French Eclectic home was designed by Louis I. Simon for Peter Maker in 1938. This style became popular as World War I soldiers returned home with first-hand familiarity of French homes. The tall, steeply pitched, hipped roof with gables is the most dominant feature of this architectural style. The asymmetrical layout and stone cladding make this home more like that of a French farmhouse than that of a manor house. Examples of French Eclectic homes are rare in the United States.
5) 225 Linden Avenue
This Prairie style house was built in 1935 for George Gauger. The Prairie style's low pitched roof, with wide eaves and a one story wing can clearly be seen here. This example also incorporates some Craftsman features, such as the exposed rafter tails and six-over-one windows. The Prairie style originated in Chicago and is one of the few indigenous American styles of architecture. Most were built between 1905-1915, and the Prairie style's popularity declined after World War I.
6) Linden Avenue CTA Station (currently the North Shore Community Bank)
In 1910, the demand for improved and increased service on the elevated train line between Evanston and Chicago led the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company to obtain the rights to the train right-of-ways that ran north into Wilmette. In 1911, Northwestern asked the Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees for permission to extend service of the elevated train to Linden Avenue. Their request was denied. Under cover of night on Sunday April 1, 1912, a crew of Northwestern Railroad employees laid additional rail track and built a platform. With limited courses of action available to them, the Village entered into an agreement with the Northwestern Railroad in 1913.
Built in 1913, the Linden Avenue Station is a unique example of the use of the Prairie School style in a non-residential, public building. Designed by the engineering staff of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Companies, the original 15' by 13' structure was expanded between 1916 and 1924 by four 10' by 16' wings. The wings were constructed in the original style of the building. The station is clad in stucco with wood trim and Italianate-style brackets. The brackets served as attachments for the suspended globe light fixtures, and as support for the projecting eaves. The eaves project over 5' beyond the walls offering a stylistically Prairie School detail, as well as a functional shelter. The roof is gently pitched and was originally shingled. The roof of the main building extends at the same slope over the additions. Additional features that recommend this building to the Prairie School style are its abbreviated window ornaments; arrangement of tall, narrow windows in banks; the lack of historical decorative details; and the simple massing of the building with a strong horizontal emphasis in the roof line.
7) 401-407 Linden Avenue
This one story commercial building in white terra cotta was constructed in 1922 and was designed by the architectural firm of Rissman, Hershfeld Co. and built by S. Schallmann. The multiple storefronts are framed by blue decorative panels with a floral motif.
8) 411 Linden Avenue
In 1928 this Classical Revival commercial building was designed by architect W. O. Mann and built for Harry H. Dornbos. The most striking feature of this building is the stone parapet with pilaster and arched transom windows. The decorative brick pattern is another wonderful architectural detail.
9) 417-419 Linden Avenue
This Spanish Eclectic commercial building has a clay tile roof, spiraled pilasters flanking the second and third floor windows and false balconies on the end windows. These windows also have decorative arched headers. This building was constructed in 1929 for W. W. Winberg. The designing architect was Leon K. Stanhope.
10) 500-512 Fifth Street
When built in 1924 this pair of Neoclassical apartment buildings designed by R. F. France created quite a stir in the Village. Neighbors feared that more towering multifamily buildings would follow and that Wilmette would never be the same. Both of these brick buildings have wings surrounding a central courtyard. Stone quoins decorate the corners of the buildings and on the top of the building you will see stone urns. The monumental scale of the buildings is a major characteristic of the Neoclassical style. The revival of interest in classical models dates from the World's Columbian Expositon in Chicago in 1893.
11) 346 Greenleaf Avenue
This is an excellent example of the Colonial Revival style, a domestic style that dominated residential design during the first half of the 20th century. The Colonial Revival style reflected a rebirth of interest in the early English and Dutch houses of the Atlantic seaboard. The house has a centered gabled entrance, and the door is surrounded by the traditional sidelights and transom window. Above is a curved portico. The two stone brackets above the door once held a planter box. This home was designed by H. Bowen in 1924 for F.E. Johnson.
12) 318 Greenleaf Avenue
This stucco house built in 1916 for R. T. Davis is a conglomeration of two styles. Its low-pitched roof and horizontal orientation reminds one of the Prairie School of architecture. The windows and exposed rafter tails at the roofline bring introduce Arts and Crafts elements of the Craftsman style. The Craftsman style originated in southern California, and like the Prairie style, it quickly spread throughout the country, made popular by pattern books and magazines between 1905- early 20s. During this time, it was the dominant style for smaller houses.
13) 313 Greenleaf Avenue
This small Spanish Eclectic house has wonderful features. Spanish Eclectic was a popular style from 1915-1940, most prominently in southwestern states and Florida. The white stucco is contrasted by the red brick surrounding both the doors and windows. The windows are topped by fanlights. In the center gable is also a brick trimmed decorative vent. The date of construction for this home is unknown, but it was probably built between 1915-1940 during the height of Spanish Eclectic popularity.
14) 304 Greenleaf Avenue
This yellow brick Italian Renaissance home has the typical slate, hipped roof associated with this style. The very classical door surround is topped with a broken pediment and surrounded with stone details. Above the windows and at the roofline is a soldier course of bricks. This home was constructed in 1929 for John W. Bornhoeft. The architect was Harry L. Morse.
15) 251 Greenleaf Avenue
This Craftsman home is built in what at the time was known as an airplane bungalow. The entrance and second floor are designed as the cockpit with the two "wings" of the building on either side. Built in 1923 this home also features exposed rafter tails and the paneled door has a halflight above. This home was built for C. D. Walliser and designed by J. B. Rohm & Son, architects.
This home won a 2002 Wilmette Preservation Award for its new garage. To nominate a home for our annual Preservation Awards, visit the Village website.
16) 250 Linden Avenue
Constructed in 1925 for D. H. Matot, this home was designed by William Gauger. In the Italian Renaissance style this home has a classical porch entry, windows with fanlights and a tile roof. The home's unusual feature is the prominent chimney, which dominates the front façade.
Thank you for participating in this walking tour. As you make your way back to the Baha'i House of Worship, feel free to browse through local businesses in the Fourth and Linden business district, an area that has been a local commercial hub since the turn of the century.
Hipped roof: a roof having sloping ends and sides meeting at an inclined projecting angle.
Gable: the triangular portion of wall enclosing the end of a pitched roof from cornice or eaves to ridge.
Rafter tails: the lower, sometimes exposed, end of a rafter that overhangs a wall.
Terra cotta: a hard, fired clay, reddish-brown in color when unglazed, and used, architecturally, as a ceramic veneer for wall cladding or ornamentation.
Parapet: a low, protective wall at the edge of at errce, balcony, or roof, esp. that part of an exterior wall, firewall or party wall that rises above the roof.
Pilaster: a shallow, rectangular feature projecting from a wall, having a capital and a base and architecturally treated as a column.
Transom window: a window above the transom (crosspiece) of a doorway.
Quoins: an exterior angle of a masonry wall, or one of the stones or bricks forming such and angle, usually differentiated from adjoining surfaces by material, texture, color, size or projection.
Fanlight: a semicircular or semielliptical window over a doorway or another window.
Portico: a porch having a roof supported by columns, often leading to the entrance of a building.
Sidelight: a window at the side of a door or another window.
Pediment: a wide, low-pitched gable surmounting a colonnade or a major division of a façade.
Definitions taken from A Visual Dictionary of Architecture, by Francis D. K. Ching (1995).
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