DOWNERS GROVE – The home located at 1324 Maple Ave. in Downers Grove and owned by David and Joan Kresl was the February Landmarked House of the Month.
It is often referred to as the Century of Progress Home because of its connection to the Chicago World’s Fair. General Electric and the Federal Housing Administration worked together to choose the designer and builder for the best example of contemporary housing in 1933. This house was chosen as one of only seven winners.
The Century of Progress home featured year-round air conditioning, centrally controlled heating, a completely electric kitchen with an electric dishwasher, home laundry, modern lighting and the most up-to-date wiring – all new in 1933.
The house was completed in 1936 with great fanfare. It was constructed by the J.T. Schless Construction Company, which also built the Tivoli Theater in 1928.
This Georgian-style house is made of white brick, with a slate tile gabled roof, and it still has the original copper gutters. Many of the original interior details remain, such as light fixtures, built-in bookcases, windows and fireplaces.
Seven families have lived in this house over the years, but one of its most significant owners was William P. Jesse, who worked at Argonne National Laboratory. His research played a part in the Manhattan Project, which led to the eventual development of the atomic bomb. He was recognized by the U.S. for his contributions that helped end the war.
For information on how to landmark a home or business, contact Downers Grove Community Development at 630-434-5515 or visit Friends of the Edwards House on Facebook.