The Burnham Connection

Appeared in the Gazette: Fall/Winter 2008

Many visitors to the Schmidt-Burnham Log House wonder if there is a family connection to the architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham. Alfred Burnham, husband of artist Anita Willets Burnham, was a first cousin once removed of the famous architect and city planner. Daniel Burnham and Telford Burnham (Alfred’s father) were first cousins, because Daniel’s and Telford’s fathers were siblings. Thus Daniel’s grandfather, Nathan Burnham (1772-1862) was Alfred’s great-grandfather. It is not known how well the two may have been acquainted; although they both worked in Chicago, there was a 32-year age difference between them.

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3 Responses to “The Burnham Connection”

  1. March 14, 2020 at 10:08 PM #

    Supposedly the South suburb Burnham is named after telford Burnham. Anyone have info on that?

  2. March 17, 2020 at 1:29 AM #

    Hi! It appears you are correct. While some assume that Burnham is named after Daniel Burnham, it was indeed named after Telford Burnham.

    Here is the link to the Encyclopedia of Chicago for a bit more info:

  3. October 11, 2022 at 8:48 PM #

    Hello. The cabin was where my grandmother was born. My great grandmother lived there, and the log house bears the Burnham name for her; Anita Willets Burnham. She was an artist. One of her paintings called “Our White House” hangs in the White House in Washington DC.

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