Maywood House Walk Attracts Visitors From Around The Globe

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.

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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. 

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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.”

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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.

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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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2 thoughts on “Maywood House Walk Attracts Visitors From Around The Globe”

  1. The Maywood Historic Homes Housewalk is a wonderful way for the town the showcase it’s impressive, much improved, varied and often unique housing stock. It also helps highlight all the wonderful people who live here to ourselves and the outside world. Its a great way to show a positive image of all the town has to offer.

    A lot of time and effort went into making this event a success, so wanted to extend a special thanks to the Housewalk Committee led this year by Laura Rogers who put her organizational skills to work and put countless hours into making sure everything went smoothly and as planned. I also wanted to thank all the members of the Historic Preservation Commission who put their time in as well and took the lead on behalf of the Village in this years event. Last but not least, all the volunteers within the community who stepped up and spent their day greeting all our visitors and showing what wonderful people and homes we have here in Maywood.

    Even if you couldn’t make the event this year, make an effort to take a good look at some of the blocks around you, sometimes we don’t really notice how much better things look until someone says “look again….”. Many, many parts of Maywood look much better than they did even 2-3 years ago. We still have our challenges as many communities do, but if we all do our part to keep our homes and blocks looking nice and keep a positive attitude about where we live the other pieces will eventually fall in place. Maywood is on a positive trend up, so lets all be sure to do our part to keep the momentum going!

  2. There were many sponsors and contributors that also really pulled together to help make it possible. They include: the featured homeowners, The Village of Maywood, Maywood Public Library, NOMCO, McDonald’s, Proviso Community Bank, SignCo, Loyola University Chicago-Stritch School of Medicine, Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest, CS Insurance Strategies, Hancock Engineering, Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Ltd, Maywood Rotary, Maywood Firefighters Union, Republic Services, ReUse Depot, Mike & Laura Rogers, Gary & Judy Woll, Tom & Millie Kus, Alice Ocrey, Readith Ester, Maywood Park District, Beals & Associates, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, Maywood Chamber/Bataan Day Organization, Maywood Glass, Tiffany Stained Glass Ltd, AA Rental, First Congregational Church and of course, The Village Free Press! An echo to Tom’s comments of thanks to all of the volunteers who participated, and to everyone who made it a success.

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