Mary Greenlees Yerkes Residence
The Mary Greenlees Yerkes House (also known as the "Mrs. Charles Yerkes House"), is a 1912 prairie style house in Oak Park, Illinois by American architect John S. Van Bergen for Mary Greenlees Yerkes, the widow of Charles Sherman Yerkes and mother of somewhat noted impressionist artist Mary Agnes Yerkes. The home was featured in a book by Patrick Cannon, titled Prairie Metropolis. The house could be regarded as somewhat controversial in the fact that it was built for an unmarried widow.
Recipient of a 2002 Oak Park Historic Preservation Award, the house is known for its unusual cost-effective cedar clapboards that go up to the second-floor windows and the distinctive artist's studio that sticks out over the alleyway. The house features large overhanging eaves and a low hipped roof. The house is based on a variation of Wright's "Fireproof House for $5000" Plan, featuring square-centric massing with a central fireplace.
Inside, Van Bergen created the oak trim to match two paintings created by Yerkes the younger for the house. The paintings still hang in the house. The house has a large, connected downstairs interior space, with a Roman brick fireplace, hardwood floors and a porch area that was glassed in around 1914, along with one of the only mostly original kitchens remaining in Oak Park. There are three bedrooms upstairs and a specialized feature of the house, a sunny artist's studio that sticks out over the alleyway. The house has a ventilation system that causes heat to exit the house through the roof on hot days and retains heat on cold ones. The house has a total of 43 windows on the upper two floors.
Tax records show the Yerkes' living in the house until 1919. The house was later briefly resided in by Jim Ameche, brother of Don Ameche, and radio star. The house was bought in 1992, restored and lived in by respected prairie-style restoration architect John G Thorpe, who sold the house in 2010.
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