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Riddle Highlands Historic District

Locally Designated Historic District 1989

PACE Route 523 - North Lake St.

Historic Tour Stop - Lake St. (Rt. 31)/Northgate Shopping Center, S.

Riddle Highlands Historic District Map

The Riddle Highlands subdivision was platted in 1922. It was formerly a popular driving park. Construction in the Highlands began in the early 1920’s, and by 1930 approximately fifty homes had been built, most of these by the developer, Frank Riddle. On February 15, 1928, Riddle purchased all of the Highlands from the Aurora Real Estate Company. The subdivision is noted for its fine collection of Period Revival style homes. Through the efforts of area residents to preserve the character of their neighborhood, Riddle Highlands was designated a local historic district in 1989. The pillars which adorn all the entrances to Riddle Highlands have been carefully reconstructed to match the original pillars. The white cap is made of terra cotta with a cracked glaze. The pillars provide a stately welcome to all who enter the subdivision.

1. McCullouch House, 1928
222 Lawndale Avenue

One of the original cottages in Riddle Highlands, this charming stone residence was the home of Fox Valley Park District founder Les McCullough. Serving as park district board president for over 33 years, McCullough was one of the first in the state to consolidate city and park district programming. The small addition to the east was built at a later date.

Doetschman House2. Doetschman House, 1934
731 Oak Avenue

Perhaps the most unusual house in Riddle Highlands, the design of this house was influenced by the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair exhibit “Homes of Tomorrow”. Built in 1934, it features the sleek lines of the International Style which was influenced by the Bauhaus School of Design. The original owners were Charles and Frances Doetschman. Charles was the county recorder.

Notice the only surviving original pillar located on the east side of Oak Avenue.

Garbe House3. Garbe House, 1949
748 Oak Avenue

This brick and stone home is a Herbert Spieler design, and is indicative of 1950s architect-designed ranch style home (see Spieler section). Note the copper gutter, flashing details, and the glass block located in the gable ends and front door side lights. It was built for Frank and Lucille Garbe. Frank was the president of Garbe Iron Works, Inc.

Riddle House

4. Riddle House, 1924
315 Lawndale Avenue

Frank Riddle, a prominent real estate operator and developer of this subdivision, was the original owner of this home. It was constructed in the Dutch Colonial Revival style, with the characteristic gambrel roof. Riddle was featured in a 1927 Beacon News series of brief sketches of men who had contributed to the development and growth of Aurora. A later owner was the Garbe family of Garbe Iron Works, Inc. A collector of antique cars, the family added garages to house their collection.

5. Nickson House, 1929
741 Palace Street

Built in late 1928, this modern two-story brick structure was influenced by both English and French cottage designs of the 18th century. Note the casement windows. Arthur L. Nickson worked in sales at Sear-Roebuck.

6. Badner House, 1952
320 Lawndale Avenue

Don Tosi designed this Ranch style house. He was the contractor for the Bruce Goff house on Edgelawn Drive, and was inspired by Goff to design as well as construct homes. This home features both vertical and horizontal cedar siding and corner casement windows. The low-pitched roof and opposing shed dormer also indicate the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Prairie Style homes. Samuel & Mary Badner were the first owners. Samuel was the manager for Kleinerts, “Ready-to-Wear for Men, Women and Children”.

Pope House

7. Pope House, c. 1929
329 Lawndale Avenue

This Tudor house was built c.1929, and designed by architect Herbert Spieler. The English cottages which influenced this design were much smaller in size. The “half-timbering” detailing in the gable ends comes from the ancient practice of splitting a crooked tree to form the structure of the house with the infill panels often being rubble or stone. Earl Pope worked in sales for Eby-Loser, a wholesale confectioner. His wife was Caroyl.

8. Wolf House, c. 1924
740 Grand Avenue

One of the earliest homes in Riddle Highlands, this bungalow exemplifies a popular style in American architecture. It is typified by the steeply gabled roof and intersecting dormer, and the numerous materials including stucco, brick and cedar. It was built by Rufus and Ivy Wolf. Rufus was the secretary-treasurer for A.C. Berthold Company, a Cadallac & LaSalle automobile sales and service company.

Ritzman House9. Ritzman House, 1929
338 Lawndale Avenue

This sturdy brick home demonstrates influences of both Colonial Revival and English styles, and features irregular brickwork and leaded glass windows. Contractor C.W. Bauman built the house for Dr. Ralph R. Ritzman, a physician and surgeon, and his wife Mary. The cost of the house was $14,000.00.

350, 351, 355, 356, 361 Lawndale10. 350, 351, 355, 356, 361 Lawndale

These English Cottage style homes represent the predominant style in Riddle Highlands. Built in the 1930’s, they provide us with an excellent example of the variety in materials, texture and scale that can be found in Revival cottages. Note especially 355 and 361, which are more typical of the American interpretation of the English Cottage style, being much larger in scale and utilizing a greater variety of materials. The house at 356 Lawndale was designed by architect Herbert Spieler.

11. 336, 337 Sunset Avenue

Both of these homes were constructed in the Colonial Revival style. It is interesting to note the contrast in size of these two homes. 336, a frame Colonial, boasts a suggested portico with pilasters, while 337, a brick structure, features a fan-like portico. Both structures are three bays wide with the entry occurring in the center bay.

Savage House

12. Savage House, 1939
315 Sunset Avenue

This Colonial Revival home may actually be a Sears mail order home built in 1938. These ready-to-assemble houses were shipped by railroad, which made Aurora (with its accessible rail stop) a convenient community in which to build such homes. The original owner, Russell L. Savage, was a manager at Sears, Roebuck and Co. His wife was Mary. Note the original shutters on the sides and attractive double bay windows that adorn the front.

13. 819 Oak Avenue, 246 Sunset Avenue

These two Norman cottages are interesting to contrast. 819 was designed by Herbert Spieler, and features the stone so typical of Riddle Highlands. The brick cottage at 246, however, is actually more in scale with the original Norman style.

Butke House14. Butke House, 1929
255 Lawndale

Designed by architect Herbert Spieler, this attractive home was built in 1941. Featuring a combination half-timbered and stone turret, it is also noteworthy for its leaded glass windows, swing gable roof and copper gutter. Fred and Marjorie Butke were the original owners. Butke was the county auditor.

Goldsmith House15. Goldsmith House, 1925
726 Palace Street

Constructed by L.M. Goldsmith, this Colonial Revival home features an entry porch with a fanlight over the door and sidelights.