Some Glen Ellyn residents are finding it’s not just honor, but responsibility that comes with living in a historic home.
“As the owners of an old home, we are just the current stewards of the home,” said Jeanne Enright, 48, of Glen Ellyn. “I just thought it would be nice to preserve the history of those who were there before us.”
To commemorate her home’s centennial, Enright took advantage of the Glen Ellyn Historical Society’s plaque program, which provides owners a plaque deeming the building historic and extensive study and research, which can include photographs of the old home and its tenants.
Last month, the Historical Society gave a plaque to Eric and Karyn Phillipson for their home at 717 Hill Ave., which was built in 1922. About 64 homes in Glen Ellyn have been given a plaque to date.
“We knew it was an old house and we were just interested in knowing what the history was,” said Eric Phillipson, 43, of Glen Ellyn.
Phillipson said he and his wife moved into the home in December. He described the house as an American Foursquare, which was popular in the early 1900s and implements many architectural features pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright.
To participate in the program, a building must be at least 80 years old, have historical and architectural significance, and maintain much of its original character, design and features, Historical Society Executive Director Jan Langford said.
Enright met these requirements when her home received a plaque in 2006.
“I think there’s a pride in maintaining a piece of Glen Ellyn history, and I think with a plaque comes a sense of responsibility,” Enright said about her home at 344 N. Main St., which was built in 1906.
Having gone through the program for her home at 597 Hill Ave., Glen Ellyn resident Ruth Wright said the biggest benefit is not the plaque, but the packet of information generated by an extensive personal study on the home.
Wright said her home was once occupied by Clare Treadway, the first woman to have held an elected position in the area as secretary of the Glenbard Township High School District 87 Board of Education. Treadway also helped the Glen Ellyn Public Library get its own building and was instrumental in the formation of the DuPage County Health Department.
“(The program) gave credit to the lady who lived here all those other years,” Wright said. “... She has done a lot in Glen Ellyn and I just thought it was a good way of giving her some honor.”
Between 40 and 80 hours of research is completed on each home as part of the program, which costs $500 — $200 for the plaque and $300 for the research. For information on the program, visit the Glen Ellyn Historical Society’s website at gehistoricalsociety.homestead.com.
To qualify for the plaque program, buildings must ...
- be at least 80 years old.
- have historical significance.
- have architectural significance, such as being the work of a renowned architect or artisan, a unique architectural achievement, or an outstanding example of a specific architectural style or construction.
Additionally, qualifying buildings must ...
- Exhibit no major change in distinguishing its original character and design.
- Demonstrate that its unique architectural features have not been removed or altered.
- Preserve examples of skilled artistry or unique stylistic features that characterize the structure.
- Show that the outside of the building and grounds are properly maintained and presentable.
Source: The Glen Ellyn Historical Society