Gazette Article by: Cindy Fuller
Appeared in the Gazette: Fall 1998
Tribute to a Classic Style
The house at 760 Bryant Avenue is a classic example of Colonial Revival, an architectural style that has remained popular in America for over 200 years. Together with “Winnetka Tudor,” Colonial Revival houses are the most commonly seen in Winnetka.The Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia sparked a renewed interest in America’s colonial architectural heritage. After the turn of the century, Colonial Revival architecture dominated construction throughout the country. Based on 17th and 18th century prototypes from the eastern seaboard, Colonial Revival buildings borrow stylistic elements from all types of colonial buildings. Typically, houses are rectangular and symmetrical in plan with classical detailing such as dentils. Double-hung, shuttered windows are common, and siding is usually wood, brick, or shingle.
760 Bryant Avenue was built in 1909 by architect Edwin H. Clark for his brother, Mancel T. Clark. An article published in the March 1909 issue of The House Beautiful describes the house: “If proportion is the good breeding of architecture, then balance and harmony must be the fine manners. Both inside and out this house impresses us with its good breeding and distinction.”
Clark’s design contains typical Colonial Revival elements, but the arrangement and proportion of those elements are what make it special. A wide clapboard-sided house, it is five window bays wide with two side wings. The center entrance is the focus of the house: pilasters flank the front door, which is topped by a decorative wrought iron railing surrounding a French door with fanlight. A molded cornice with dentils and three pedimented dormers complete the exterior detailing. Interior trim and woodwork are equally elegant and classical in design.
Born in Chicago, Edwin Clark graduated from Yale University in 1900. He joined William A. Otis’ practice in 1906 and became partner in 1908. He continued with the firm, renamed Otis & Clark, until 1920. He then became a partner in Clark & Wolcott, and in 1924 founded his own firm and practiced alone until his retirement in 1946.
Edwin Clark made significant contributions locally as well as throughout Chicago. In Winnetka he is best remembered as architect for the Village Hall, North Shore Country Day School, and Indian Hill Club. He lived in the village beginning in 1908 and built numerous residences including 325 White Oak Lane, 280 White Oak Lane, 1127 Sheridan Road, and his own home at 909 Mt. Pleasant. In the Chicago area Clark designed Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Aquarium.
760 Bryant Avenue stands in tribute to classic design and a classic Winnetka architect.
Editor’s Note: This house is included in the Winnetka Historical Society publication, Winnetka Architecture: Where Past is Present, on page 26. It was incorrectly described as having been built for Walter Wilson in 1929. The authors apologize for the error.