Gazette Article by: Cindy Fuller
Appeared in the Gazette: Winter 1997
House of the Season
Colonial Revival: A Winnetka Tale
The house at 435 Willow Road was built during a period of rapid growth in the 1920s and 1930s. During the first three decades of this century, the population of Winnetka expanded from 3,500 to more than 12,000. The population boom coincided with a larger selection of architectural styles and more trained revival styles – Colonial, Tudor, French, Spanish, Dutch and Classical – as well as Prairie School, dotted the village. The popularity of the Colonial Revival style dates back to the Philadelphia centennial of 1876 that reawakened an interest in America’s colonial heritage. The style, reflecting comfortable, enduring “all-American” qualities, has been in wide use in America ever since. The typical Colonial Revival is rectangular and symmetrical, with classical detailing. Generally the ornamentation is focused around the entry. By the 1920s architectural designs often borrowed elements from other styles or only loosely adhered to definitions of historic styles. The details and proportion of 435 Willow Road demonstrate how Colonial Revival was interpreted to accommodate the lifestyles and needs of families in the 20th century. This house has a classically executed, centrally located entry with a carved pediment and large palladian window in the second story. The three bays of windows on the façade east of the entry are typical, as is the pair of bowed windows on the east side. The house was designed in 1925 by the firm of Huszagh and Hill for Ralph Gately. Architects Ralph Huszagh and Boyd Hill teamed up after graduating from Cornell University in 1919. Among their more noteworthy commissions were the Aragon Ballroom and the buildings at 210 East Pearson Street and 1540 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. They also designed a number of North Shore houses before the partnership dissolved during the depression. After that, both architects continued to practice in and around the North Shore and Chicago. The current owners of 435 Willow Road recently received a Winnetka Preservation Award for sensitive renovation of the house, which included replacing aluminum siding with wood. As the glorious colors of fall give way to winter’s neutral palette, Winnetka’s kaleidoscope of architecture remains a constant inspiration.