225 Greenwood St., Evanston
Henry Edwards-Ficken, architect, 1894
Significance: This 1894 French
Chateaux-style mansion was the home of Charles Gates Dawes, Vice President
of the United States under Calvin Coolidge. It is considered to have one of
the most intact 19th century interiors in the Chicagoland area, featuring
original furniture, Tiffany lamps, carved mantels, paneled cherry-wood walls
ceilings. In 1942, General Dawes gave his house to Northwestern University,
while stipulating that he and his wife would live in the home until their
deaths. The house then was to be used as a museum or to be open to the
public to highlight local history in some capacity. Northwestern took full
possession of the property in 1957 after General Dawes’ wife passed away. In
1960 the Evanston History Society moved in as a tenant.
Current Condition and/or
Status: On April 16, the Dawes House was closed to the public by
Northwestern, citing safety violations found by the Evanston Fire Chief and
stating the museum’s lease would not be renewed. Northwestern recently
extended the museum’s lease until June 30, 2009 and the city has said the
lower floors could reopen to the public this fall pending safety
improvements. The university has stated an additional $4 million in repairs
is needed before the home can fully re-open but has not stated what its
intentions for the property are after next June.
Potential Threat: The Dawes Mansion is an Evanston Landmark and a
National Historic Landmark. However, neither designation protects the
interior which may be at risk if the building is adapted for non-museum
What You Can Do: Contact Northwestern University regarding the
importance of the building to Evanston and as a National Historic Landmark.
Urge the city to pursue landmark designation of the interior and urge the
university to implement a plan for the building that will be sensitive to
its historic integrity.
President Henry Bienen,
Northwestern University. Northwestern University, Rebecca Crown Center, 633
Clark St., Evanston, IL 60208-1106.
Other Contacts: A local
preservation campaign effort is under way; see
. For information on the house go
Photos: 1 Dawes House, exterior; 2 Charles
Gates Dawes c. 1930; 3-5 interior rooms; all photos courtesy of Evanston