1905 W. Morse Avenue

From HistoryWiki

1905 W. Morse Avenue, was 749 W. Morse Street the Carlson/Stahr House.

Circa: 1887

Original Owner: Arthur Doolittle and Mary Doolittle.

Present (1994) Owner: Sue Carlson and Dave Stahr.

This house was on the 1994 Annual Fall House Tour

This house was built for Arthur Doolittle and his wife, Mary, over 125 years ago (1887). The home next door at 1911 W. Morse Avenue, (was 471 W. Morse Street) was a twin, which looks vastly different today (1994) after years of remodeling. Arthur's brother, William Doolittle, and his family lived at (1911 W. Morse Avenue) and a path that connected their back porches still (1994) exists. After many owners, renters, and much remodeling, Sue Carlson and Dave Stahr have brought their home back to its original 19th Century appearance and made many improvements in the process.

The recent history (pre-1994) of these homes begins when RPWRHS member, Jeanette Statland and her deceased husband, Sam, who lived at 1911 W. Morse Avenue bought the homes on either side as investments. In 1986, Jeanette sold the house at 1905 to Dave Stahr and Sue Carlson. Everything inside and out 1905 was grey, and it badly needed repairs and updating everywhere.

The house is a traditional Victorian-style Houses with Colonial Revival elements such as the palladian window on the front gable. The steeply pitched roofline is interesting with cross gables on the eastern side and later additions on the other sides. With these additions, it now contains approximately 2,400 sq.ft. of living space inside. The Doolittles originally had few amenities like central heating or plumbing systems and it had to be converted from gas lighting to electric before 1900. Now part of urban Chicago, the large triple lots on Morse Avenue still retain some of the rural feel this area had a century ago.

Much of this home's wooden siding was repaired or replaced before the exterior could be repainted in beautiful Victorian colors. Portions of the wrap-around porch were rebuilt, including the stairs, railings, and some of the support pilasters. The limestone and brick foundation components were fairly sound and thus required less attention. A tornado ripped off the back porch on April 19, 1978, but they have constructed a sympathetic replacement on the western side. This is part of a pantry extension project and allowed a second floor deck to be added. The garage was built in 1991 and its roof pitch, colors, and shingled-gable end match the house.

An 1898 addition to the west added five feet and created space for a much needed second floor hallway. Previously, to pass through the second floor, you had to go from room to room. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an office. One bedroom has a sleeping alcove. The bedroom shapes are irregular, with new transoms over the doorways. The master bedroom has the original fireplace and a very nice modern bathroom. Several stained glass pieces are illuminated by open windows in the rear office space. The new (1994) deck is accessed from this office.

Throughout the first floor, you will see leaded Queen Anne style stained glass windows. Original wood storms and sash windows have been retained although some windows were shortened to add counters to the kitchen. Entering from the front porch, we go into the front parlor. The eight-foot bookcases were handcrafted by Dave in his basement shop as well as the first floor power room vanity, toilet tank, and all kitchen cabinetry. The front parlor has its original green ivy tile and quarter-sawn oak fireplace. Note the tile portrait of a renaissance scholar wearing a skull cap. The second floor stairwell has cherry newel posts with ash balusters and anaglypta wainscotting. There is an intriguing curved, lead, came, window backing the stairs.

The dining room was part of a double door parlor which was completely redone with "Tree of Life" lincrusta wainscotting, picture rails, real plaster ceiling medallion, original bull's eye molding, and new (1994) bracketed cornice work. On the right is the living room that sprang from the 1898 addition that included a fireplace and extra space. There is also a vintage mantle and two oak columns that bracket the doorway to this room that were added.

Passing from the dining room through a small hall with attached powder room you enter the piece de la resistance the kitchen which was fashioned from cherry lumber into stunning cabinets and wainscotting. This is embellished by brass hardware and a tin ceiling, truly a vintage feel in a modern kitchen.

Chicago Landmarks Historic Resources Survey


Historic Name:

Community: Rogers Park (01)

Address: 1905 W. Morse Avenue

Constructed: Started in

Classification: Building

Style: Queen Anne

Type: Single-Family Residence

Color Code: Orange

Landmark? N

National Register? N

Major Tenant:

Building Details: Classical Revival, (Palladian), Queen Anne

Pin: 1131214041