This home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in March 2000, it was featured as one of the thirty most beautiful homes now in private hands in the Chicago area by Chicago Magazine. With the exception of a possibility in Iowa, there is no house on this scale in the Midwest in the Art Moderne style, which grew out of the 1925 exhibition in Paris on Decorative Arts. It recalls the striking English houses seen in recent years in the PBS Hercules Poirot mysteries set in the 1930s.
Colonel Morse, the original owner, was CEO of the Fairbanks Morse Company, which had been formed only a few years before Morse built his home. With club-like facilities on the basement level and dormitories on the third floor, the Morse house reflects the kind of entertaining seen on the Poirot series, where weekend house parties are often featured. No murders that we know of here, however!
Architect William Carbys Zimmerman was state architect from 1905-1913 and also builder of 400 Washington Road and 950 East Westminster in Lake Forest. Zimmerman was one of the very early graduates in architecture from MIT (1880). Thus he was trained in the methods and ideas of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, a style that became the standard for manor homes built in Lake Forest between 1890 and the 1930s. In Lake Forest, Zimmerman's work spanned the period which shaped Lake Forest's estate character and touched on a wide range of styles.