Sunday, July 15, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Participants during the Maywood Homes House Walk & Trolley Tour on July 15 outside of the former Maywood fire station on St. Charles Rd. | Shanel Romain
People from all over the world descended on Maywood on July 15 for the Maywood Historic Homes House Walk & Trolley Tour — the first one since 2015. This year’s tour featured nine historic homes.
New residents David Torres and Demetria Alvarado brought along Torres’ relatives visiting from Colombia. Torres, after all, had something to boast about.
He installed the counters inside of the Maywood Fire Department Building at 511 St. Charles Rd. — the first home on the House Walk’s southern leg. The building is a local landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1904, the two-story, buff-colored brick Dutch Revival building was formerly the north end fire station before it was sold in 1984 to a plumbing business for $18,000. In 2003, the fire department sold the building to a price owner, who refurbished it into a home.
The first-floor interior of the Maywood Fire Department Building. | Shanel Romain
Inside, vestiges of the building’s original use mingle with contemporary living features.
“The two fire poles are still in place, as is the hose drying tower, and the homeowners even report the occasional fluttering down of oats from the loft where food for the horses was stored over the stalls at the back of the first floor,” notes the official Trolley Tour booklet.
While standing outside of the fire house waiting for a trolley, Torres — who owns a granite and marble services company in Maywood — said that he’s currently rehabbing a historic house of his own on the 300 block of South 3rd Ave. in Maywood.
David Torres, a Maywood resident, brought his relatives from Colombia with him to this year’s Historic Homes House Walk. | Shanel Romain
“Our neighbor, Vicki Haas (one of the Trolley Tour organizers) was saying that, hopefully, our house can be on the tour next time,” Torres said.
That sense of optimism is what Douglas Deuchler admires about his former hometown. The published author, who literally wrote the book on Maywood, which he put out through Arcadia Publishing in 2004, was at Sunday’s event signing copies of his work.
“I used to live here back in the early 1970s, when there were many more stores and restaurants,” Deuchler said, “but there’s a spirit and an attitude that is so upbeat and positive here. Positive things are happening in Maywood and younger families are moving in.”
John Michael Dawson explains the history of the Edward and Noreen Brizzolara House in Maywood. | Shanel Romain
Jamila Williams, a former Maywood resident who now lives in nearby Bellwood, said that she attended the Trolley Tour in 2015. She decided to do it again in order to see more homes on the village’s north side and to revel in the fire house — which wasn’t on the tour three years ago.
“I enjoyed it so much the first time that I came again,” Williams said. “I just enjoy the history and the love people put into restoring these houses. It’s nice to do it again.”
John Michael Dawson, a Maywood resident who himself lives in a historic home in town, volunteered as a docent at the Edward and Noreen Brizzolara House, at 1001 N. 2nd Ave., another local landmark.
Gary Woll, right, and Rachel Haber Leininger wait outside of the Maywood Public Library for another tour to begin. | Shanel Romain
The home is believed to have been designed by John Van Bergen, a protege of Wright’s, but the year of construction and the architect have not been verified. The original permit and building records from when it was built have been lost.
What is undeniable, however, is that the home is designed in the Prairie School of architecture made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright. The front entry is located on the side, invisible from the street, and a continuous horizontal wooden trim contours the interior windows and doors — both staples of the Prairie style.
The home is currently owned by prominent high school basketball coach Dorothy Gaters. The previous owner was the late Eugene “Gene” Moore, the former Cook County Recorder of Deeds and the first black to represent the 7th District in the Illinois House of Representatives.
“This is awesome,” said Dawson. “I live in a historic house and my dad has influenced me to appreciate this kind of architecture. I haven’t taken a look at this house in depth, yet. It’s one of my favorites.” VFP
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