There’s a special celebration happening on Sunday, Aug. 21, as the Homewood Historical Society marks the 125th anniversary of the Dorband-Howe House. Between 2 and 4 p.m. guests will be given free tours and enjoy an ice cream social at the house, 2035 W. 183rd St. The house was built in 1891 with “HOMEWOOD” stamped brick. It was built as a workingman’s cottage for employees of the Homewood Brickyards, one of the village’s early businesses.
Charles N. Loucks House
Begun in 1889, the Charles N. Loucks House was featured in the house pattern book, Tabor’s Modern Homes that was published in 1891. It is one of the nicest and most unusual Queen Anne-style homes in the Irving Park area of Chicago. It has pressed brick on the exterior first floor and cedar shingles on the above floors. Visually, its most distinctive feature is its 2-1/2 story turret with an elliptical roof and many art-glass windows.
In the middle of the 19th century, Irving Park which is located on Chicago’s northwest side, was a series of small “railroad suburbs” built around two rail lines that provided passenger service to the area. In its day, it was known for its large lots, freedom from city congestion and pollution and its outstanding transportation system. After the Chicago Fire in 1871, the area grew as people hurried to replaces houses lost in the fire.
Because of the huge demand for new houses after the fire, mail-order or pattern book house design became popular because of the difficulty of finding an available architect. The Charles N. Loucks House was a great example of this trend.
The front gable of the house has an oriel window with small, clear panes. The gable is trimmed with carved wood eaves. On the sides of the house, there are two bays which project outward with semi-circular windows. The house is sitting on a raised foundation made of limestone.
The house has a very ornate verandah that runs the width of the front of the house excluding the turret. It has a large swan’s neck pediment with an applied metal ornament.
History of the House
Charles Loucks originally moved to Chicago in 1880 and then moved to Irving Park in 1885. He was a realtor and developer, working actively in Irving Park. To build business, he hired Clarence H. Tabor as his company’s in-house architect and asked him to design a “model home” that would eventually also be his home. The result was Design No. 2, priced at $7,500 in Tabor’s second edition of Tabor’s Modern Homes.
In 1895, Loucks was appointed Chief Clerk of the City of Chicago’s Department of Street Engineers. He then moved on to politics and unsuccessfully ran for City Council as an alderman from Irving Park in 1896.
He and his family moved out of the house in 1897 but he continued to work as a real estate developer into the 1920s or 1930s. In 1950, he passed away at the age of 95.
During the 1940s, the house was divided into at least two apartments but the exterior remained unchanged. Then in 1982, the home was sold and the new owners rehabbed the house back into a beautiful single-family home.