570 North Sheridan Road

Year of award: 
2011
Award category: 
Preservation - Founders Award
Original architect: 
unknown
Year built: 
1860

 

The Homestead - Built for Ellen Hubbard an Devillo R. Holt
Intended to be a summer house for the Holt family who lived
on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the Holts changed course and
settled in Lake Forest permanently because Mrs. Holt was “thrilled
with Lake Forest Academy for her four sons and Dickinson School
for her three daughters. ‘They were private and there was nothing to
worry about.’”
Holt (1823-1899) was born in New England but by the age of
twenty was trading furs at Mackinac Island, Michigan; by 1847 he
had started Holt Lumber Company in Chicago. His lumber was the
first load carried on the new Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848. In
1850, he married Ellen Hubbard. Holt was a charter member (1857)
of Lake Forest University’s Board of Trustees.
 The Holt house is a classic “Italianate,” a style built by carpenters
and craftsmen from pattern books. The style was made popular
in the United States by writers Andrew J. Downing and Alexander
J. Davis in the 1840-1850s as an alternative to Gothic or Greek Revival
design.
By the 1860s, Italian villas had become more widespread than
Greek Revival as cast-iron and machine-pressed metal became available
and useful in ornamenting these homes. The style was even
adapted to lighthouses, chief among them being the Grosse Point
Lighthouse in Evanston. However, by the 1870s Queen Anne
“painted ladies” and French Second Empire became more stylish
than the Italian.
The “four square” Holt residence is constructed of brick, covered
by wood clapboards. The first floor includes a thin layer of
concrete sandwiched between the wood floorboards. [Nine years
later, the exterior of a neighboring residence, the 1869 John V. Farwell
“baronial castle” at 880 East Deerpath, would be built entirely
of concrete poured in situ (rather than concrete blocks), a method
pioneered on England’s Isle of Wight in 1852.] Reinforced concrete
was introduced in Paris in 1867.
The house boasts many visual elements that are key to the
Italianate style. It has a low-pitched roof almost invisible from the
ground, projecting eaves supported by corbels or brackets, arched
windows, tall first floor windows, a belvedere (“widow’s walk” or
“lantern”) on the roof, a loggia with balustrade, and an attic with a
row of awning windows between the eave brackets.