Gazette Article by: Cindy Fuller
Appeared in the Gazette: Summer 1998
House of the Season: Three Revival Styles Grace Sheridan Road
Sunday drives along Sheridan Road to view some of this country’s most elegant real estate is a long-standing tradition for visitors and residents alike. The three houses located at 181, 191, and 199 Sheridan Road never fail to turn heads. Three distinctly different homes with a hint of family resemblance make quite an impact.
Their story begins when builder John Mills purchased three hundred feet of lakefront property. Permits were issued in 1927, and Mills spent a reported $650,000 to construct three elaborately landscaped houses. The compound also includes a six-car garage, chauf-feur’s quarters, and a cabana. The houses were to be for Mills, his daughter and son, and their families. It is speculated that the depression prevented them from living in their dream houses.
A July 1933, issue of the Winnetka Talk reported the sale of the estate to P. J. Hursen, who purchased it for himself and his married children. Mrs. Thomas McElroy, wife of the noted furrier, lived at 199 Sheridan Road for a number of years.
Although the family history of these houses is well documented, not much is known about the architects, listed on the building permits as Sloan & Johnson. What they created are richly decorated examples of different architectural styles. Close proximity and similar scale, elegant stonework, half-timbering, and gnomes tucked around the property tie them together as a group.
The southernmost house, 181 Sheridan Road, is a Mediterranean Revival with buff-colored brick and limestone. The red clay barrel-tile roof is typical of the style, as are the arched doorways and windows.
The central house at 191 Sheridan Road, is a more formal French Normandy style. The rounded turret containing small arched dormers is a charming feature. The steeply pitched, flared, slate roof, herringbone patterned brickwork, limestone banding, and bas relief carvings create a rich interpretation of this style.
On the north, at 199 Sheridan Road, is a Tudor Revival house with leaded glass windows, heavy half-timbering, and decorative chimney pots. The living room was designed on a grand scale. A two-story, wood-paneled great room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, it completes the picture of the house as an English manor.
Even though the houses now are owned by unrelated owners, they have changed very little. This “family” will endure for future generations of Sunday drivers to admire.