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Near Eastside Historic District
Designated A Local Historic District in 1981
PACE Route 530 Fox Valley Center
Historic Tour Stop
Begin: Galena Boulevard/Fourth Street
End: New York Street/Fourth Street
On June 25, 1981, the Aurora City Council voted to designate the Near Eastside area the first local historic district. Since Aurora’s founding in 1837, the neighborhood encompassed by the Near Eastside Historic District has been significant in the architectural and developmental history of the city. The original village plat by Samuel and Joseph McCarty included portions of the district and established a town square where McCarty Park is today. During the late nineteenth century, leading members of society chose to build their homes along Fourth, Lincoln, and LaSalle Streets. The wide variety of architectural styles that were popular during the Victorian era (1860 - 1900) can still be found along these streets. The district has been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
1. Seamans House, 1906
50 S. Fourth Street
Salemnus D. Seamans, a New York native, was a lumber merchant who also held stock and executive positions with numerous banks, a utility company, a watch factory, and a corset factory. The house was built by contractor Ferris J. Minium in the Prairie style with Craftsman influence. It features uncoursed and roughly cut Darlington sandstone on the first floor, and stucco on the second floor with wood trim. A large stained glass window is featured on the south elevation.
2. Alschuler House, c.1902
108 S. Fourth Street
The Benjamin Alschuler house was constructed c. 1902. At some point, it was covered with asbestos shingles, which completely hid the Shingle style features. In 1997, the owner removed the asbestos, and exposed the original detailing. Note the Palladian window in the attic story, and the restored Ionic columns on the porch.
3. First Evangelical Church, 1925
(St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church)
142 S. Fourth Street
William C. Jones was the architect of the First Evangelical Church. It was built in 1925 when two religious factions merged and constructed a new building. This Gothic style church is clad in tapestry face brick laid with dark brown mortar, and trimmed with Bedford (Indiana) limestone. The exterior copper and bronze lanterns were designed to harmonize with the architecture. St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church later acquired this building. This congregation was originally established by African Americans in Aurora in 1868.
4. Quereau House, 1886
149 S. Fourth Street
This Stick Style house was designed by John E. Minott and built by F. Minium in 1886. It has remained virtually unchanged since its construction, retaining the double front doors with etched glass. Dr. Quereau was a prominent educator in Aurora and managed the Aurora Silver Plate Company. He was a fellow voyager of Mark Twain’s during his travels throughout Europe and the Middle East, and may be the professor Twain describes in Innocents Abroad.
5. Terry House, 1910
319 Clark Street
Built in 1910, this house is typical of early twentieth century homes with Queen Anne and Classical Revival elements. The flared eaves, Tuscan porch columns, and side stairwell bay, are elements of the Queen Anne style.
6. The Masonic Temple, 1922
104 S. Lincoln Avenue
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this building was built in 1922 in the Neoclassical style and designed by architect William Q. Bendus. The temple front lodge building is constructed of steel and custom-formed cast concrete. Its five stories house the potential for over 50,000 square feet of assembly space, although two of the five, two story balconied rooms (a lodge room and a formal ballroom) were never finished. The building was constructed by the Aurora Masonic Alliance, a group of 10 Masonic organizations. The nearly 1000 members, through donation and subscription, raised almost a quarter of a million dollars in less than one week in order to begin construction of the building.
7. Trask House, 1887
128 S. Lincoln
Edwin Trask, a jeweler who came to Aurora in 1858, had this Queen Anne home constructed in 1887. Some of the elaborate architectural details include king’s posts and fish-scale shingles in the gable ends, scroll brackets and exposed rafters underneath the eaves, and a front 2-story bay window with iron cresting. The house was built by local contractor Ferris Minium, and painted by JD Rice.
8. Harry Alschuler House, 1891
142 S. Lincoln Avenue
This Queen Anne style house was built in 1891 by Harry Alschuler. Note the unusual gable lights and turret. Harry, Charles and Louis Alschuler established Alschuler Brothers’ clothing store in 1885. It became the first store in Aurora to have electric lights. Alschuler was later a director of First National Bank.
9. Charles Alschuler House, 1894
146 S. Lincoln Avenue
Harry Alschuler’s brother Charles’ house was built in 1894. Like its neighbor, it is in the Queen Anne style, featuring a corner turret, stained glass window, and original porch that was meticulously restored in 1995.
10. Schmal House, c. 1888
169 S. Lincoln Avenue
This Queen Anne home, complete with decorated vergeboards, shingles in the gables, and pressed floral decoration on the pedimented porch roof, was constructed circa 1888 for OT Mason. It was sold to John Schmal in 1892 for $3500. The Schmal family owned the house until 1960.
11. Buck House, 1854
168 S. Lincoln Avenue
This Greek Revival house was built circa 1854 by Dr. George Buck, an early settler of Aurora who operated the city’s first drug store. A later owner, John P. Callan, was an attorney, liquor dealer and real estate man. Note the fluted Doric columns and symmetry of the front facade.
12. Jacob Alschuler House, c.1910
188 S. Lincoln Avenue
Prior to 1890, Jacob Alschuler lived in this house two lots north of Avon Street. It was apparently remodeled extensively and moved to its present location circa 1910. The wide eaves and bands of windows were influenced by the Prairie School style. Alschuler was involved in the dry goods, real estate and insurance businesses.
13. Marme House, 1885
195 S. Lincoln Avenue
This house was built for William Marme, a cigar manufacturer, in 1885. The low-hipped roof, decorative paired brackets and broad eaves are characteristic of the Italianate style.
14. Dyckman House, c.1886
221 S. Lincoln Avenue
Eva Dyckman purchased this property in 1885, and the first listing in the City Directory was for Miss C. Dyckman and John Dyckman in 1886. A later owner, Michael Hassett, resided at this address from 1904 until his death in 1940. He was at various times a blacksmith, bailiff, insurance salesman, owner of a grocery and dry goods store, and Internal Revenue Service collector. The house is in the Italianate style with a square plan and simple curved brackets.
15. Lackner House, c.1874
312 S Lincoln Avenue
Yet another Italianate style house, the John Lackner House was built c.1874. Although the roof is cross gable rather than hipped, the window surrounds are Italianate. Note the especially fine incised detailing in their corners. Lackner was a dealer in cigars, cigarettes and plug tobacco.
16. Beaupre House, 1897
323 S. Lincoln Avenue
A fine example of Shingle Style architecture is the William Beaupre House which dates from 1897. Features such as the steeply pitched gable roof, recessed balcony, and masonry first story with shingled walls above are hallmarks of this style which was first popularized in New England resort towns. Beaupre was president of Aurora National Bank and organized Kane County Title and Abstract Company. The third floor of the home was used as a ballroom.
17. Higgins House, 1887
345 S. Lincoln Avenue
This house was built in 1887 for George Higgins, a physician and surgeon. The flat roofed square tower is characteristic of the Italian Villa style. Note the second story windows’ elaborate window hoods.
18. Rees House, c.1890
331 S. Fourth Street
This Stick Style house with Queen Anne elements was built circa 1890 by Frank H. Rees, a conductor for the railroad. The curved porch and fish scale shingles are Queen Anne elements, while the wood bands encircling the house are typical of Stick Style structures.
19. Cook House, 1895
231 S. Fourth Street
Eleanor Cook had this house built in 1895 and lived here with her brother, Lorenzo, a farmer. The semi-circular porch, and fish scale shingles are indicative of the Queen Anne style. In 1905, Dr. W. H. Schwingel, a well-known surgeon, purchased the house. His wife, Rosabel, was the first director of the Copley School of Nursing.
20. Olinger House, 1914
215 S. Fourth Street
N. W. Olinger had this Four Square home built in 1914. It was designed by architect Eugene Malmer. This popular building type featured a square plan, broad eaves and deep front porch.
21. Reising House, 1876
183 S. Fourth Street
This lavish Italianate style home was built in 1876 for John Reising, an early Aurora settler and prominent businessman. The locally quarried limestone was carved by Isaac Edwards, while carpentry work was done by Minium & Sons. The paired brackets, elaborately detailed cupola and rope edged molding make this one of the city’s grandest residences. U.S. Congresswoman Charlotte T. Reid was a later owner. Reid served as U.S. Representative from Illinois’ 15th District from 1963 to 1971.
22. Goodwin House, 1884
163 S. Fourth Street
This Queen Anne style house was built for Mrs. S. M. Goodwin in 1884. Plaster inscribed “C.H. Willard, Sycamore, Illinois July 20, 1884” was found in the attic. The expansive porch, corner tower and turned gable trim are elements of this style.
Just outside the Historic District
C.M. Bardwell School, 1929
550 S. Lincoln Avenue
Bardwell School was designed by the Llewellyn Company of Chicago in the Collegiate Gothic style, and cost $600,000.00 to construct. It was considered the best elementary school in the state at the time it was built. The school was named for noted Aurora educator, C.M. Bardwell, who served as superintendent of East Aurora schools from 1896 to 1928.
Stylistic details include the projecting towers and buttresses, and carved limestone details and trim. Interior detailing included maple floors in the classrooms with terrazzo floors and enamel brick and tile bordered walls in the corridors. The classrooms boasted built-in closets for storage. The gymnasium could accommodate 500 spectators and the auditorium had a capacity for 900 persons. The Llewellyn Company designed many schools in Aurora, including Beaupre Elementary School (1944), East Aurora High School (Waldo) 1911-12, and Dieterich Elementary (1947-49).
Copley Hospital, 1931
301 Weston Avenue
The hospital building with the entrance on Weston was built in 1931 for an estimated cost of $235,000.00. It was designed by Schmidt, Garden and Erikson from Chicago, members of the Prairie School of Architecture who also designed Michael Reese Hospital. The entrance to the Copley building reflects the 1916 entrance, with fluted pilasters, and pediment. Originally, there was a cupola on top which has since been removed. The building features limestone sheathing on the first and second floors; limestone stringcourse and window surrounds on the fifth floor; decorative keystones above the sixth floor windows, center pavilion on the seventh floor with classical pilasters; and decorative swags over the entrance and opposite window. The doctor’s study on the first floor retains the original wood paneling and fixtures.