Do you refer to houses not always by their house numbers but by the names of the occupants or former occupants? In Riverside it seems to happen a lot, particularly by those who have lived here a long time. Why, I still refer to the Village Center as the Henninger Building.
In truth, we should really give ownership to those who are currently in the homes; after all they are the ones paying the bills. Husband Joe also does this when he ventures into North Riverside, so it is a common practice, I guess.
Some Riverside houses get identified not only by the names of their former owners but by their architects, among them being Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, (who designed the demolished Babson Estate), Calvert Vaux, William LeBaron Jenney and George Ashby.
Apologies to any ancestors if I have omitted anyone of note. I used to depend on Scuffy Gross to clue me in on these things. What brought this to mind was the structure at 144 Scottswood road, always known as the Cross House, because it was the home of Clarence Cross, a former village president in 1886.
The home sits on property originally owned by Frederick Law Olmsted. Evidently, he found the streets he designed too confusing, so he opted out of moving here.
Fortunately, the village of Riverside had the foresight to enact a preservation ordinance protecting homes such as the Cross House, which became a local landmark in 1972 and a Landmark in 1993. It is said that a young girl, a member of the Cross family delighted in selling elevator rides there, and it was quite lucrative until she got caught. That was a precursor to what the young lady became later in life. What stories could be told if only the walls could talk.
Next week I will tell you how the recent village of Riverside election leads us back to Village President Clarence Cross and his descendants along with the Sherman family. Don’t worry there will not be a test, but you will find it interesting.
First, a teaser: The clock tower at the Riverside Township Hall was given by Grace Sherman Cross in memory of her husband, father-in-law and son.
Don’t have a house with historical significance? Don’t worry it can always qualify for my Unknown Architects House Walk.