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A.O. Anderson House: DeKalb, Illinois January 21, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, Prairie style.

DeKalb has several prominent historic homes but the Anderson House may be one of the least known. The Anderson House is part of a local historic district but doesn’t have federal recognition on the National Register yet, I am hoping to alleviate this. The house is commonly mistaken for a Frank Lloyd Wright work, but it’s not.

While not a Wright work it was designed by a professional associate of his, John S. Van Bergen. Van Bergen is one of the architects who worked with Wright in his Oak Park studio. Van Bergen was present to shut down Wright’s Oak Park operation when his boss left the country for Europe with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, a client’s wife.

The home is a fine example of Prairie style architecture, Van Bergen’s mastery of the Prairie style emphasis on horizontal lines help create an optical illusion of a shorter building. The house was designed for a DeKalb clothing merchant, Andrew O. Anderson and constructed in 1916.

Online Resources
*Wikipedia: John S. Van Bergen, Andrew O. Anderson House (both by me)
*A.O. Anderson House: Free use image gallery (by me)
*A.O. Anderson House: 2004 Daily Chronicle article
*A.O. Anderson House: Illinois Historic Sites Survey Property Information

Tomorrow we take a look at some historic sites in the Ogle County, Illinois city of Polo.


1. Paul Ringstrom - January 21, 2008

Do you have any information on the Nehring House at 335 College Ave. that was mentioned at the end of the DeKalb Chronicle article?

2. dr. gonzo - January 21, 2008

Steve Bigolin has had a long running series on landmarks in DeKalb.

This June 2005 article is about the house you speak of, that’s Part D.

Others in the series: Part A, Part C

Part B seems to be missing but I bet the Haish Library has it.

I found this: article, I think maybe the titles aren’t correct but there are four parts here now.

Also, that house is quite wonderful, I have several photos of it around here, perhaps a future post subject.

3. RoadDog - January 24, 2008

There are a lot of great houses in Dekalb. I wan’t aware of this one, but, will look for it the next visit. What is the address?

I also miss the former post office building which was torn down for the Walgreens.

Hoping they do something with the old train depot.

4. dr. gonzo - January 24, 2008

You echo my sentiments exactly about the Post office, I didn’t live here then but am well aware of the big deal it was around here. That depot really deserves something be done with it. I’d like to see the city take some initiative and nominate the building for local landmark status (if they haven’t already), then seek a federal NRHP status as well.. There has been talk of a historic district downtown, both locally and trying for an NRHP listing.

The Anderson House is at 233 Augusta Ave, east of NIUs campus. There are a number of architecturally significant houses in that neighborhood. Start your walk on College Ave. just east of the Kishwaukee River, go up to Linden, hang a left and then another left down Augusta. You will take in some very pleasing houses along those streets. Enjoy.

PS- I believe the area was originally known as Ellwood Addition, or something really similar. Oh, and don’t neglect Park and Locust Streets, I have a future post about a couple of other important houses.

(edited to clarify)

5. RoadDog - February 1, 2008

Shows you how observant a wild-eyed college student can be. My old fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, had a house on Augusta, probably about across the street in 1969-1970. It was the west side of a duplex. Always felt sorry for the poor folks living on the other side.

I sure don’t remember that house, but then again, I had other things on my mind back then.

I even hear a rumor that there was a library somewhere on campus, but had never set foot in it. “It’s not for knowledge that we came to college, but to …….”

I’ll look for the Anderson house the next time I’m in Dekalb.

6. Andrew Eric Anderson - February 12, 2008

That is my grandfather’s house. If you want to discuss it, send me an Email.

7. Brian Nigbor - May 20, 2008

To Paul Ringstrom,

The Nehring house at 335 College was built in 1900 by John Lewis and Mary Ellwood, his wife. He was the Pres. of the First National Bank. It was the first lot sold in the new subdivision. Probably because they had first knowlegde of her father’s project. Their good friends, the Rodman’s, bought the neighboring lot at the same time. It was and remains a beautiful house.

8. Brian Nigbor - May 20, 2008

Re AW Fisk/AO Anderson house

The June 18, 1900 Dekalb Chronicle featured a long story about the new Ellwood Addition. It states ” Ajoining the Ramer house on the west is the home of FJ Bush and family, an up to date cottage in green and white with a large porch. AW Fisk owns the next two lots and will build next summer”. The Bush house is at 223 Augusta.

On November 15, 1901 the Chronicle states “AW Fisk is designing a house to be built of the 2 lots west of Fred Bush, with work to commence in the spring of 1902.”

On February 1, 2002 the Chronicle states “Architect Roberts of Oak Park is being consulted by Dollieyer and AW Fisk about their Ellwood Addition houses”.

There is no other mention of the AW Fisk house again through 1903, which was when the first Directory including the Addition was printed and I quit reading Chronicle articles. The Dollimeyer house was built at 208 College and was designed by Eban Ezr Roberts.

9. dr. gonzo - November 5, 2008

Late, but thanks Brian.

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