One of Henry Hale Waterman’s grand early works is for sale in Beverly, home base for the architect known for his improvisational classicism. The 1894 five-bedroom Norman-Tudor Revival mixes yellow stucco with colossal stone cladding, a stair tower, cross-hatched leaded windows, and a total interior renovation.
The house’s dramatic base is comprised of small boulders harvested from the sheepcote of the farm once on the site. In 1844, Thomas Morgan, owner of some 3,000 acres that would become the Morgan Park neighborhood, moved into a house on this same site. We don’t know quite what that preceding house looked like, but it probably wasn’t as impressive as the 4,000-square-footer built for silk manufacturer Hiram H. Belding.
From what I can make out in county records, Trinity United Church had some ownership stake until January 2014, when Urban Partnership Bank took the reins and worked to gut the home over the next 18 months. Carpeting and tile was stripped out to reveal original woodwork, given an ebony stain to match the stairwell’s heavy cladding. The foyer has a wood-burning fireplace flanked by built-in bench seating and a cigar area with an exhaust fan. The living room adds more built-ins and another elegant fireplace; the formal dining room contributes ebony stained pocket doors; and the kitchen was reborn with stainless steel appliances, an eat-in island, cherry cabinets, and granite countertops.
Upstairs are four large bedrooms and a third working fireplace. The master suite claims it, along with a soaking tub and dual vanity. The huge fifth bedroom with cedar closets takes the attic, and perched as the house is on a ridgeline above forest preserve, views of downtown Chicago are available from this height.
The lower level is built out with a family room, office with glass French doors, and a large laundry room. Still, there’s room for improvement—an old meat locker could easily become a wine cellar.
The property covers more than four standard Chicago lots, a routine size for Beverly. It includes mature trees, a gate, dog run, in-ground sprinklers, and a two-car garage with attached tool shed. With all its upgrades I’d expect to see the Hiram H. Belding House on the quintessential BAPA historic home tour, entering its 45th year.
Price Points: For comps, look no further than the neighborhood’s slew of classic old homes by noted architects. Another Waterman home, one of at least 15 others in Beverly/Morgan Park, unadorned and unimproved on a park-like setting on scenic Longwood Drive is asking $495,000, and one of the architect’s smaller works—about half the size of the Belding House—sold in mid-June for $435,000. A Prairie home by contemporary Walter Burley Griffin is for sale at $329,000 in bare-bones condition, and a block down Pleasant Avenue from the Belding House, a century-old 3,500-square-foot Tudor is available for $575,000.
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