2142 W. Pratt Boulevard

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2142 W. Pratt Boulevard, Dooley House

This house was part of the 1996 Annual Fall House Tour.

Circa: 1928

Original Owner: George B. Kurtzon (1928-1932)

Second Owner: McFarland Family (1932-1936)

Third Owner: Mae Garlier (1936-?)

Fourth Owner: Jack Galter and Dolly Galter (?-1948)

Fifth Owner: Richard Uslander and Lena Uslander (1948-1960)

Present (1996) Owner: Robert J. Dooley, Sr. and Mary Kay Dooley (1960-?)

On a street lined with stately residences, the Dooley House, 2142 W. Pratt Boulevard, is one that never fails to impress passers by. The interior appointments are just as impressive.

The house was built by George B. Kurtzon in 1928. The grand Colonial Revival residence on a deep, double city lot (55-ft. by 180-ft.) was sold to the McFarland Family who resided here from 1932 to 1936. They, in turn, sold the property to Mae Garlier. She sold the house to Jack and Dolly Galter, who lived there until 1948. Then Richard and Lena Uslander lived here until 1960 when they sold the house to its present (1996) owners, Robert Dooley and his wife Mary Kay in 1960.

Mary Kay and her husband, Robert (deceased by 1996) raised their three sons, Robert, Jr., William "Bill", and Lawrence Edward here on Pratt. All three sons were graduates of Jesuit-run schools (Marquette, Xavier, and Loyola); and, all three were part of the Junior Lifeguard Service run by Sam Leone. Robert, Sr., himself, was a North Shore beach lifeguard and grew up at 1430 W. Pratt Boulevard. Robert, Sr. was a representative for the William Maxwell Company, a West Ridge company. Their son, Bill, (in 1996) also worked at Maxwell.

Mary Kay's daughter-in-law, Mary Ann Dooley (Robert, Jr.'s widow) lives in a Prairie-style house at 2136 W. Pratt Boulevard.

The Dooleys were long-time members of the Edgewater Golf Club (EGC), located across the street at 2045 W. Pratt Boulevard. Robert, Sr. loved to play cards at the clubhouse, the sons caddied there, and Mary Kay enjoyed golfing there. The family has many EGC artifacts, but, perhaps the most interesting is a painting of the first tee by former Chicago 49th Ward Alderman Frank Keenan.

The home has a front entry angled to the west with a side driveway to the garage on the east. The front door surround is capped by a "Swan's neck" pediment and center finial flanked by a two-story column-supported porch with a catwalk, above. Neoclassical exterior details include an elliptical window with ray muntins, brick quoins, keystone window lintels, several Bay window and pristine red face brick on all sides. The roof has asymmetrical cross gables that mimic the cleaver home layout on the long narrow lot.

Entering the foyer, you find dual coat closets and classic dentillated wood trim. The large (17-ft. by 30-ft.) living room is to the right with the original gas firelplace and a bay window overlooking Warren Park. A unique desk, designed to look like a piano, was given to Mary Kay's mother by her father, Fred Shoebridge, a mechanical engineer who moved to Chicago from England.

Near the foyer and living room is a powder room with a barrel ceiling and arched doorway. Beyond this is the library, paneled from floor to ceiling in vintage walnut. The requisite bookshelves abound with family photos, trophies, and even a 1910 set (11th Edition) of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

The 14-ft. by 19-ft. formal dining room also has a bay window and features an etched glass chandelier over the table that was purchased at a house sale from a home on Lunt Avenue. Continuing to the rear, of the ground floor is a former maid's bedroom across from the kitchen and delightful breakfast room. French doors lead outside to the breakfast room to a screened-in porch.

Following the main staircase to the second floor past a wall of banded windows, you arrive at a spacious square landing with wrought iron rails. There are two medium size bedrooms with the eastern bedroom featuring a linen closet passageway to the bathroom. This bathroom has tiled wainscotting and a built-in tiled shower with a chromed Art Deco door. The tub has convenient storage shelves built above it.

At the front of the second floor is a vast master bedroom suite (17-ft. by 24-ft.) with its own gas fireplace, his and hers closets, and an Art Deco master bath with black and cream wallpaper. There is also a large storage closet on the western side of the bedroom illuminated by the oval window over the front door.

To see the Pièce de résistance you must descend to the basement recreation room. Fully paneled in rustic pine, there is a half bath, and a third gas fireplace. Note the craftsmanship here by looking at the arches, built-in bar, hidden storage inside the panels, and fold-down double bed for guests. The best part of this spacious, but cozy, room are the family photos and EGC memorabilia.