Monday, March 2, 2015

Frederik W. Sandberg


On February 16, we began a discussion of Frances Glessner’s training in making jewelry and silver, including information on her teachers Madeline Yale Wynne and Annibale Fogliata.  This week we shall look at her third and final teacher, Frederik W. Sandberg.

It appears that she engaged all three instructors within a short period of time.  Her first lesson with Wynne was in December 1904 and she was working under Fogliata less than a year later.  The earliest mention of her working with Sandberg is found in a journal entry dated February 5, 1905:

“Friday I had my silver lesson.  Then Mr. Sandberg came by appointment.  I had a very pleasant talk with him.  We finished the plate and cover for Mrs. Thomas Longfellow’s wine glass.  In the afternoon we went to the concert.”

The journal entry would indicate that her silver lesson was not given by Sandberg, but by Madeline Yale Wynne, as Sandberg clearly arrived after the lesson.   Together, Frances Glessner and Frederik Sandberg worked on the plate and cover for a wine glass, and their relationship was close enough by that time that they attended the afternoon orchestra concert together.

Exactly when Frances Glessner came to know Sandberg, a native of Sweden, is not documented, however a letter from Sandberg dated January 21, 1905 indicates that she had made purchases of his items from a recent exhibition at the Art Institute.  Writing from his home at 120 S. Grove Avenue in Oak Park, Sandberg said, in part:

“Dear Madame:
On the list of sales from my late exhibition at the Art Institute I take great pleasure in noting your name among my patrons and beg to thank you for your kind appreciation.

“I return to Paris in a few weeks and shall be happy to execute any orders for individual artistic designs in jewelry of gold and silver, precious enamels as well as all kinds of objets d’art in repousse, wrought and hammered silver of distinct artistic merit.  Special attention is given to the securing of rare and curious precious and semi-precious stones.

“I have a unique design for a coffee pot to be executed in hammered silver as well as a number of curious XV and XVI century spoon designs which I think you would find interesting.”

Just a month later, he wrote her a second letter:

“I keenly appreciate the delightful privilege of having made your acquaintance and assure you that nothing would give me more genuine satisfaction than to give you whatever assistance you may need to increase the interest in the work you have begun.  You will find this art full of attractive possibilities and with your discriminating taste and enthusiasm it will become more and more fascinating.”

It is entirely possible that Frances Glessner became acquainted with Sandberg several years earlier.  In February 1898, Sandberg delivered a lecture entitled “Art in Silver” at the Art Institute.  An article which appeared in the Chicago Tribune indicated that Sandberg had just returned from an extensive trip to Europe and “is an enthusiast and exponent of the process known as repousse in gold and silver.”  Although Frances Glessner was recovering from surgery at that time, it seems likely that she was at least aware of the lecture.

In January 1901, Sandberg gave a series of lectures, “L’Art Nouveau as Expressed in Industrial Arts at Paris in 1900” at the Art Institute.  Sandberg had served as a jury expert at the Exposition, and was commissioned to prepare the official report on art industries in silver and gold for the United States government.  The Chicago Tribune noted the following about the lecture series:

“L’Art Nouveau, in which great interest has been aroused by the Paris exposition, will be the subject of a special course of lectures by Frederik W. Sandberg.  Mrs. Potter Palmer’s expressed admiration of the new art, together with its appearance in the furniture and jewelry stores in Chicago, created a demand for some exposition of the art which will be answered by the course of six lectures.  Mr. Sandberg received high honors for his work in silver repousse, jewelry, and decoration at the Paris exposition.”

The first lecture, entitled “Modern Antiques” dealt with the topic of fraudulent antiques and how they were made.  Sandberg had stumbled across the thriving industry quite by accident while in Paris, and decided to make a study of it in order to educate Americans travelling to the continent, who were prime targets for the forgers.  He explained, in detail, how paste and beetles were used to make the surface of leather look old (as shown below), how silver hallmarks were transferred to new pieces, and how the grain of old wood was photographed and transferred to new pieces.  The “new antiques” were usually offered to tourists as rare opportunities to acquire valuable pieces from “embarrassed” families who were forced to sell off their cherished objects as a result of financial reverses.


Sandberg exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and spent several months in Paris in 1905 before returning to Chicago later that year.  In early December, he visited Frances Glessner, showing her a clasp he had made for her as well as pieces from his fall exhibition at the Art Institute, which included an elaborate chased bowl resting on the heads of three pelicans.

For reasons that remain unclear, it appears that Sandberg decided to abandon his work with metalwork in early 1906.  A journal entry by Frances Glessner dated March 18, 1906 noted:

“After luncheon Mr. Sandberg came.  He offered me his tools and I have bought them.  Mrs. Goldsmith and Miss Trimingham called and as Mr. Sandberg’s wife was an intimate friend of Mrs. Goldsmith’s, they had a very pleasant visit, especially enjoying our Galle glass of which Mr. Sandberg says we have a very fine collection.”

Later in March, Frances Glessner noted spending two full mornings with Sandberg, who instructed her on the use of his tools, after which he stayed for lunch.  He apparently had a considerable inventory of pieces for sale, as Frances Glessner noted purchasing pieces from him more than two years later.   In the last journal entry in which he is mentioned, dated November 29, 1908, she wrote:

Mr. Sandberg came to see me and brought some pieces of work, some of which I bought.  He told me his wife had fallen heir to part of an estate in New Haven upon which stands the Tontine Hotel.”

Frederik W. Sandberg pursued a career as a journalist until his death about 1920. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Pullman National Monument


On February 19, 2015, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation establishing the Pullman National Monument during a ceremony held at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, 250 E. 111th Street in Chicago.  The event marked the culmination of decades of work on the part of residents, preservations, and many others to protect and interpret America’s first planned industrial town and a site associated with important milestones in the labor and civil rights movements.

Robin Kelly, U.S. Representative for Illinois' 2nd
Congressional District, opened the ceremony

The model town was created in the 1880s by the Pullman Palace Car Company to manufacture railroad passenger cars and to house workers and their families.  Founder George M. Pullman (who lived at 1729 S. Prairie Avenue, on the corner directly opposite from the Glessner house) strove to create an environment of good housing, parks, and other amenities as a way to foster a happy and reliable workforce.  Designed by architect Solon S. Beman and landscape architect Nathan F. Barrett, the town stood in stark contrast to the crowded and inadequate living conditions which were typical for many factory workers in Chicago and elsewhere.  The Town of Pullman, at that time outside of the city limits of Chicago, quickly became an internationally famous experiment in planning and attracted visitors from around the world, especially during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell acknowledged the students
from Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep during her talk

That same year, the country was hit with a severe economic depression that resulted in reduced orders for railroad cars.  The company was forced to lower wages, but did not lower the rents charged to those workers occupying company housing.  Company workers went on strike on May 11, 1894 and were soon joined by members of the American Railway Union, effectively paralyzing the railroads and mail delivery across much of the country.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced the President

As the strike continued, Congress passed legislation designating Labor Day as a Federal holiday, with President Grover Cleveland signing that order on June 28, 1894.  Tragically, the strike was not resolved until mid-July by which point thirty workers had been killed after Federal troops were brought in to end the strike.

In August 1894, Illinois sued the company, alleging that their ownership and operation of the town was in violation of its corporate charter.  The Illinois Supreme Court upheld that decision in 1898, by which time Robert Todd Lincoln had succeeded George Pullman as president of the company (Pullman died in 1897).  Most of the residential properties were sold off by the company in 1907.

President Barack Obama

Another significant chapter in the history of the Pullman Company involved the establishment of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1937.  Founded by A. Philip Randolph, it was the first African American led union in the country, served as a model for other African American workers, and significantly contributed to the rise of the civil rights movement in the United States.

Anthony Beale, Alderman of the 9th Ward, at the post-ceremony reception
held at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center

The architecture, urban planning, transportation, labor relations, and social history of the Pullman National Monument have national significance.  The district was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970 and a City of Chicago Landmark in 1972 (with a large addition in 1993). 

Red white and blue ribbons, flags, and bunting
were proudly displayed throughout the Pullman community

The establishment of the Pullman National Monument creates the first unit of the National Park Service in the city of Chicago.  The Pullman National Monument encompasses 200 acres bounded by East 115th and 103rd Streets, South Cottage Grove Avenue, and the Norfolk and Western railroad tracks.  The National Park Service owns the iconic Administration Clock Tower Building, but most of the property within the monument boundaries will remain in private hands.  Nearly $8 million from individual donors and organizations has already been raised by the National Park Foundation to support the development of the new visitor center and programs.   The National Park Conservation Association estimates that the National Monument designation could bring more than 300,000 visitors a year, create 350 jobs and generate $40 million in local economic activity.


The temporary Visitor Center will be located in the Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Avenue.  For more information on the Pullman National Monument, visit http://www.nps.gov/pull



NOTE:

The ceremony took place at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy, which is closely linked with the history of Pullman.   In 1897, George M. Pullman left a bequest of $1,200,000 to build and endow a free school of manual training for the children of residents of Pullman or persons employed there.  


The school was completed in 1915 and opened as the Pullman Free School of Manual Training.  It operated until 1950, at which time the Pullman endowment was used to establish the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation.  The building was sold to the Augustinians who operated it as Gregor Mendel High School from 1951 to 1988.  That year it was acquired by the Archdiocese of Chicago, which operated it as St. Martin de Porres High School until 1997, at which time it was sold to the Chicago Public Schools.  In 1998, it opened as the Southside College Preparatory Academy.  It was renamed in honor of former U.S. Poet Laureate and South Side resident Gwendolyn Brooks in 2001.

Ceremony photos by William Tyre.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Frances Glessner, crafter of jewelry

Gold and black opal necklace made by Frances Glessner
Collection of the Chicago History Museum
Photo by John A. Faier for the Driehaus Museum

On February 14, 2015, the Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie Street, Chicago, opened its newest exhibit entitled “Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry.”  The exhibition features more than 250 pieces of jewelry, about half from the personal collection of Richard H. Driehaus, and the remainder from museums and private collections around the country.  These artistic pieces are grouped into five categories exploring the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain, Art Nouveau in France, Jugendstil in Germany and Austria, Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, and American Arts and Crafts in Chicago.  The exhibit will continue through January 3, 2016.  For more information, visit http://www.driehausmuseum.org/exhibitions/view/maker_muse

Gold and yellow stone necklace made by Frances Glessner
Collection of the Chicago History Museum

Of particular interest are three pieces handcrafted by Frances Glessner, who began taking lessons in metalwork in December 1904, actively continuing her hobby for at least a decade.  Glessner House Museum has three examples of her silver work on permanent display in the dining room silver closet (see blog article dated December 30, 2013), but no examples of her jewelry, so this is an rare opportunity to see these exquisitely crafted objects.  The pieces, two necklaces (shown above) and a hatpin (not shown), are from the collection of the Chicago History Museum, which received them as gifts from the Glessners’ granddaughter, Martha Lee Batchelder, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Madeline Yale Wynne

Frances Glessner honed her skills under the guidance of three talented metalworkers.  The first of these, Madeline Yale Wynne, was prominent in Chicago society and the craft community.  Just one year older than Mrs. Glessner, Wynne had arrived in Chicago in the 1880s, taking up residence with her brother on the north side “Gold Coast.”  Mrs. Glessner met with Wynne in the spring of 1904 to have set stones for her and during the next several months purchased a silver chain, a pin, and an amethyst necklace from her as gifts for various family members.  In late October 1904, Frances Glessner noted in her journal, “I went . . . to call on Mrs. Wynne to arrange to take lessons in metal work.”  She took her first lesson on December 3rd, and made an elegant salt cellar in time to present to her husband that Christmas.  (The piece is on display in the dining room.  For further information on Madeline Yale Wynne, see the blog article dated August 29, 2011).

Necklace by Annibale Fogliata for Frances Glessner
Private collection

Frances Glessner’s second teacher was Annibale Fogliata, a native of Milan, Italy, who came from London to Chicago in 1904 to teach metalworking at Hull-House.  As was the case with Wynne, Mrs. Glessner appears to have been a customer of Fogliata for some months before beginning lessons with him.  In January 1905, just a few weeks after the death of symphony conductor Theodore Thomas, Mrs. Glessner noted in her journal, “I sent Fogliata’s beautiful silver and brass picture frame to Mrs. Thomas.”  In March, she gave her daughter a gold pendant made by Fogliata as a birthday gift, and by May, he was crafting metal trays for her to present to her niece as a wedding gift.  In November, 1905, she noted that she was taking lessons with Fogliata:

“Wednesday Fogliata came back and I had my silver lesson.  He was overjoyed to get back.  We put the bands on the two gavels I have had made for the two beekeeper’s associations, from the wood from Rev. L. L. Lanstroth’s garden in Oxford, Ohio.”

Frances Glessner at her work bench in the basement
of her home at 1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago

Exactly how long she continued her lessons is not known, but she remained a customer of Fogliata as late as May 1907, by which time he had moved to New York.  He continued working in metal, the 1930 census listing him as an engraver in the steel industry.


Necklace of gold and amethyst made by Frances Glessner
Private collection

Frances Glessner’s third and final teacher was Fredrik W. Sandberg, who will be the subject of an article on March 2, 2015.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The many sides of Frances Glessner


On February 2, 1897, Frances Glessner wrote the following in her journal:

“I went to Hartley’s on West Madison St. and had my photograph taken – a multigraph.”

Fortunately this most unusual photograph is part of the museum collection.  In this article, we will look briefly at Hartley’s and then at the interesting process by which these photographs were taken.


Hartley’s Studios opened in Chicago in 1877.  According to an advertisement published in the Chicago Tribune on January 5, 1890, “Hartley’s Studios are the largest and finest in the United States, and nothing but first-class work allowed to leave the studios.”  That same advertisement featured their trademark rooster with the following riddle – “Why is Hartley’s Rooster the Smoothest Bird of His Kind? – Because He Always Carries His COMB with Him.”  This was followed by a poem which read in part:

“With resonant Crow and hearty good cheer,
Our Rooster would welcome another New Year!
Still armed, as you see, with powder and gun,
And joyously Crowing o’er victories won!
The hearts of his foes were hateful and flinty,
But have met the sad fate that befell poor McGinty!
Many thanks to our patrons, may abundance of Cheer
Fill every hour of this Happy New Year.”

Chicago Tribune, February 5, 1893

The studio was located at 309 W. Madison Street, using the old street numbering system in place at the time.  In 1909, that address was changed to 1044 W. Madison Street, which would have placed the studio less than two blocks away from the Glessners’ former home at Washington and Morgan streets.

It is not surprising that a large and prominent studio such as Hartley’s would have embraced the novel new multigraph method of photography for its customers.  The process appears to have originated about four years before Frances Glessner had her photograph made, the first known reference appearing in a scientific journal in October 1893.  A year later, the Scientific American published an article which included several illustrations, including the one below, clearly showing how the image was captured.  The subject sat facing two mirrors set at an angle of about 75 degrees to each other.  This resulted in five views of the sitter being captured simultaneously on the negative. 

Scientific American, October 6, 1894

The image shown at the top of the article beautifully captures Frances Glessner’s distinctive hairstyle, one which she maintained consistently throughout her married life, at the request of her husband.  Given that the multigraph photo captures her from behind and from both sides, we are clearly able to see exactly how the hair was positioned, and the hair ornaments that were used.  She opted for a second photo, shown below, which captures her wearing her coat and hat, the latter sporting a jauntily placed bird. 


Together, these two images captured interesting and unique views of Frances Glessner and also afforded her the opportunity to see herself as others saw her.

For more information on multigraph photography, see “A Multigraph from Montreal,” written by Irwin Reichstein for the May-June 2007 issue of Photographic Canadiana.  The article contains several illustrations showing humorous uses for this photographic novelty.


Monday, February 2, 2015

The Blizzard of 2015


For the second time in four years, Chicago found itself in the midst of a blizzard as the first day of February rolled into Groundhog Day.  In 2011, more than 21 inches of snow fell on the city in the third worst blizzard in Chicago’s history.  This year, the official total of 19.3 inches of snow was measured at O’Hare Airport at 6:00am on February 2nd, ranking the storm as the city’s fifth worst blizzard on record.  However, the 16+ inches of snow that fell on February 1st now holds the record for the greatest snowfall in one day in Chicago's history.


The Glessner house was designed as a winter residence, so it weathered the storm without an issue.  The brilliant design of architect H. H. Richardson, minimizing window openings on the north side of the house, was fully appreciated as winds exceeding 40 miles an hour pounded the house.  In the south-facing courtyard, lesser winds sculpted the snow into graceful drifts, as seen in the photos below. 


Critics of the house labeled it the “fortress” and the “prison” when it was first constructed.  During a blizzard such as we experienced last night, no doubt they would have all been glad to be safely huddled inside by the parlor fireplace, as the relentless forces of nature howled outside.


















Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ladies, please remove your hats!


A century ago, Frances Glessner created quite a stir when she made a simple request to the members of her Monday Morning Reading Class – please remove your hats.  The request made the news, with the Chicago Tribune reporting that it was “one of the greatest sensations Prairie avenue has ever known.”  To further complicate matters for the well-dressed lady of the day, a similar order had been issued by the management of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

On February 20, 1915, the Tribune published an article entitled “Hats Off Edict Rules at Mrs. Glessner’s.”  The article reads as follows:

“The members of Mrs. John J. Glessner’s Monday morning reading class, which for twenty years has been a feature of south side society have met with a great adventure this winter.  It is needless perhaps to describe here the beatitudes of this Monday class, the smartly arranged women who file in from half past 10 onwards, the glossy furs, the becoming hats, the latest importation in work bags over the arm.

“Tout Prairie avenue” is present and not only is the latest reading provided by Mrs. Horace Kennedy, but a delightful informal luncheon is offered by the hospitable hostess, whose Prairie avenue mansion at Eighteenth street has the fine hardy lines of a Roman stronghold.

“The class, numbering about forty or fifty, sits around the long library.  This fall, simultaneously with the stirring order to unbonnet all patrons of the Symphony concert, came the request that members of the Monday class should remove their hats during the morning.

“This created one of the greatest sensations Prairie avenue has ever known, for the hat of the woman who has ordered her household, looked over her mail, telephoned several times, and been to market, all before 10 o’clock, usually covers a multitude of sins of omission.

“But, trying as it was, the ground rules have obtained, and careful observers say that the women of Prairie avenue are now much better coiffed than formerly.

“Although the unhatting rule does not extend to the boxes at the Friday concert – and how one does enjoy those women in the loges whose hats and hatpins are not dropping to the floor every few minutes – it is noticeable that Mrs. Glessner always sits hatless in her box, the center of the grand tier, and in no way profits by the immunity to which her location entitles her.”


The issue did not end there.  Two months later, the Tribune ran another article entitled “Unbonneting Rule at Symphony Irksome” written by a columnist identified only as “Cinderella.”  In this article, we learn a bit more about the impact of the order, the journalist vividly describing what a woman must go through to comply - the picture of which “would be enlivening in vaudeville.”

“The rule to unbonnet during the concerts grows more and more unpopular.  It is considered a very arbitrary ruling and rather inconsistent, as the box holders, who are amply supplied with hooks and chairs and mirrors and extra space, are outside the law and sit triumphantly in their most becoming hats looking down upon the sea of disordered hair and oddly variegated coiffures beneath them.

“Always excepting Mrs. Glessner, of course, who has the central box in the horseshoe and takes off her hat, presumably because she likes to.”

“The unhatting is especially irksome to certain elderly ladies who have been subscribers to the concerts ever since their beginning years ago.

“Their experience now at the erstwhile beloved symphony concert would be enlivening in vaudeville.”

“First comes the handbag, then the wraps folded across the knees, then a scarf, then a small knit jacket.  Piled on top of that a muff and fur stole and high on top of the pyramid the hat perched jauntily with its hatpins, effectually cutting off from its owner’s view the graceful and poetic evolutions of Mr. Stock leading the orchestra.

“The lady desires her handkerchief, pokes for it in her handbag, and, O, help! the whole thing slides off her lap into the aisle.

“Younger women do not wear so many wraps, but they positively hate going forth in the late afternoon gayeties with their hats on crooked.

“After all, this unhatting phase seems rather provincial, and more worthy of a small German town under military rule, than of a large city.  One hears that the back seats and the last row of side seats have suddenly become very popular because the women in them are permitted up to date to wear their hats.”

All the while, Frances Glessner was sitting in Box M at Orchestra Hall, no doubt amused at all the fuss caused by a simple rule that she herself had been observing for years.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Miner T. Ames, coal merchant


On January 19, 1890, exactly 125 years ago today, Frances Glessner wrote the following in her journal, while recording the events of the past week, “Our neighbor, Mr. Ames, died early in the week.”  The reference was to Miner T. Ames of 1811 S. Prairie Avenue, who had died on January 13th

This was the second time in just over two years that the Glessners noted the passing of a resident of this particular house, built in 1886.  In early December 1887, the week that the Glessners moved into their new Prairie Avenue home, Mrs. Joseph Coleman, a daughter of Chicago pioneer Silas Cobb, died unexpectedly leaving a husband and three young children – Silas Cobb, Marie Louise, and Joseph Griswold Coleman.  In her will, she left the house to her children, and in August 1888 it was sold at auction to Miner T. Ames.  He made a $10,000 down payment and the balance of $40,000 was to be paid within five years through a series of eight promissory notes to the order of the three minor children.  Ames was living at 3815 S. Ellis Avenue at the time of the purchase.

Miner T. Ames was born in Becket, Massachusetts on July 20, 1839.  Raised on the family farm, he set out at the age of 16 to work as a travelling salesman and within a year obtained a position as a railroad brakeman in Akron, Ohio.  A hard worker, he was soon promoted to baggage master, a position he held for five years before saving enough money to relocate to Chicago in September 1862.  After a few years, he engaged in the coal business, and it was through this venture that he made his fortune, becoming the owner of a large coal mine in Minonk, near Peoria, Illinois, under the name of the Chicago & Minonk Coal & Coke Company. 

Coal mine at Minonk

An interesting story connected with the coal operation involves the installation of electric lights in Minonk.  An article, published years later in a Chicago newspaper noted:

“Knowlton L. Ames, prominent Chicagoan and head of the Booth Fisheries Company was born in Minonk.  It was through the efforts of his father, the late Miner T. Ames, that Minonk was the second town in the United States to have municipal electric lighting.

“A friend of his was working at the time for Thomas A. Edison in his electrical laboratories.  One day he came to visit Ames.  After he saw the mine he offered to install electric lights in the shaft more or less as an experiment.  That was in 1882.  It worked so well, Ames gathered a group of subscribers and had electric lights installed throughout the town.”

With his first wife Emily, Miner T. Ames had three children – Knowlton (who was in his final year at Princeton when his father died), and two daughters, Jane Rose and Harriet Chaffee.  His wife died in 1877, and six years later he married Irene Cowen, by whom he had two more children – Emily Faithful and Miner T. Jr. who were four and two respectively at the time of their father’s death. 


The funeral took place at the family home on Prairie Avenue on January 16th, as reported in the Chicago Tribune:

“The remains of Miner T. Ames were laid to rest yesterday afternoon in Graceland in the presence of his immediate relatives.  The services at the family residence, No. 1811 Prairie avenue, were short and simple.  The Rev. Dr. Simon J. McPherson of the Second Presbyterian Church read several consoling passages of Scripture and offered prayer.  The burial was private, only the relatives following the body to the cemetery.”

Ames had accumulated significant wealth in his lifetime, and on January 21st, the Tribune reported on the assets of the estate:

“Judge E. H. Gary granted to Mrs. Irene C. Ames letters of administration in the estate of her late husband, Miner T. Ames, the coal merchant.  The estate aggregates $560,384.  Mrs. Ames gave bonds in the sum of $200,000.  Mr. Ames left no will, and the property will be divided between the widow and children, Knowlton L. Ames, Jane Rose Ames, Harriett Chaffee Ames, Emily Faithfull Ames, and Minor T. Ames.  The schedule of property includes cash on hand and bills and notes receivable amounting to $37,390; household furniture, $3,100; store and office fixtures, cars and machinery, $42,124; the homestead at No. 1811 Prairie avenue, $90,000; a residence on De Kalk street, $5,000; coal lands at Braidwood, Ill., containing 469 acres, $4,000; about 1,953 acres of land in Woodford and Marshall Counties, Illinois, $175,770; the shaft and mine at Minonk, Ill., with 2,300 acres of coal land, $200,000.  The annual rental of the landed property is placed at $15,000.”

The home was the scene of a happy event when Jane Rose Ames was married to Walter W. Ross on May 14, 1891.  The evening ceremony was attended by 150 guests and “the rooms were profusely decorated with potted plants, roses, and violets, white and purple being the only colors used.”  The ceremony was performed by Rev. McPherson from Second Presbyterian Church.  Several hundred guests attended the reception following.

Chicago Tribune, May 27, 1894

Within a couple of years, the Ames family moved and, being unsuccessful at selling the home, opted to lease it out to a series of tenants.  The widow moved to 2108 S. Prairie Avenue, and Ames’ eldest son Knowlton moved to 2412 S. Prairie Avenue.  Occupants of the house included attorney William B. Keep, fire adjuster Joseph Fish, and David Mayer, a partner in the firm of Schlesinger & Mayer.


LATER HISTORY:  Knowlton L. Ames, known as “Snake Ames” during his time as an all-American football fullback at Princeton, later served as chairman of the board of Booth Fisheries and publisher of the Chicago Journal of Commerce.  He committed suicide in December 1931 while despondent over ill-health and financial reverses.  His son John Dawes Ames, took over as publisher of the Chicago Journal of Commerce, which was eventually sold to Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Wall Street Journal.  John D. Ames was a colonel in World War II and served as military governor of Rome after it occupation in 1944.  A long-time Lake Forest resident, he died in 1987.
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