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Eugene Malmer

Eugene Malmer was born in Aurora on March 25, 1873, and was a graduate of East Aurora High School, and the Armour Institute of Technology. From 1893-95 he attended the Chicago School of Architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he studied with William Le Baron Jenney, father of the skyscraper. An alliance was established between the Armour Institute and the Art Institute in 1893, by which the former furnished instruction in the scientific and mathematical branches, and the latter in the artistic and technical work.

Following his education, Malmer became associated with the Chicago architectural firm of his instructor, William A. Otis. Otis lectured on the history of architecture for the Art Institute, in particular the French and Italian Renaissance period. His firm, Otis Architects and Engineers (later Otis & Clark), exhibited in the Chicago Architecture Club Exhibits. This club included the now renowned architects of the Prairie style, including Wright, Maher, Perkins, Spencer, and Talmadge. Malmer was also a member of the Illinois Society of Architects.

Malmer designed buildings in the Aurora area from 1903 until 1918, including the following: the Sherer Building, 408 North Lake Street; 450 Oak Avenue; 416 Wilder; 418 Wilder; 448 Wilder, 1136 North Lake Street(demolished); 211 and 215 S. Fourth Street; 1214 Garfield; 233 West Park Avenue; 435 West Downer; 567 W. Downer, Grace Lutheran Church on Oak Street; Hotel Arthur (Terminal Building) at the N.W. corner of Galena and Broadway; and 480 N. Lake Street. He also designed and supervised the construction of the original (1904) Carnegie Library in Aurora while employed by William A. Otis. Outside Aurora, Malmer designed the Geneva City Hall where the original drawings are located. In Sandwich, Malmer designed the house at 1100 N. Latham Street, which is very similar to the design of the 233 West Park house.

Many other homes are believed to have been designed by Malmer based on the house style and design features. Malmer’s houses were often constructed in brick and stucco in the Prairie style, and featured Arts and Crafts elements in the interior design. Features of the Prairie style include a horizontal design emphasis; large overhanging eaves; low hipped or gable roof; half-timbering; and a mixture of exterior wall materials, changing from the first floor to the second floor, and further contributing to the horizontal emphasis.