Sitting on one of the largest lots in Berwyn 103X140, The Arthur J Dunham Centennial Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Berwyn Historical Society Registry. Built in 1907 the Prairie School Style, has been owned and lived in by the same family for over 117 years. Recent updates include roof, furnace, hot water heater. The exterior has been recently renovated maintaining the original appearance. Additionally the upstairs kitchen an both upstairs baths have been modernized. The floor plan of the Dunham house is a modified "L" shape centered around a large entrance hall which provides access to the ground floor rooms. The interior detailing is virtually intact and includes intricate quarter sawn oak banding and trim (which is in excellent condition) and leaded glass doors of the period. Leaded glass windows exposed to the exterior are found in the staircase wall and the front door. The majority of windows are wooden casement with clear glass, except in the east wing where double hung sash are used, and in the living room where there is a large picture window on the west wall that is original to the house. In the major spaces walls were all initially executed in integrally colored plaster of three different tones and textures with dark oak paneling on the lower portions of the dining room walls. In the major rooms the bands of plaster above the picture molding is nearly as textured as the exterior stucco, while the ceiling and lower walls are smoother. Structurally the residence has had two early additions and one minor alteration. In 1923, 16 years after completion, Dunham's daughter and her husband added a small room to the second floor over the porch (south wing) and also constructed a larger room to the ground floor at the rear of the house, forming the east wing. Both additions were designed by the original architects (Tallmadge and Watson) and are in keeping with the style and fabric of the house. Also in 1923, the main stair entrance from the ground floor hall was closed to provide a private apartment on the second floor. None of the 1907 detailing was removed and the alteration is completely reversible at minimum cost. The Arthur J. Dunham house (built ca.1907) is a significant example of "Prairie School" architecture. It was one of the first buildings designed by the architects Tallmadge and Watson, two architects who emerged from the office of D.H. Burnham and Company. Tallmadge and Watson followed the teachings of Wright and Sullivan and became major figures in the Prairie School. They formed their firm in 1905. The firm later became renowned for ecclesiastical architecture, although initially specialized in residences, many of which were built in Evanston and Oak Park. The Dunham house is the only one of its kind in Berwyn. The massing and detailing of the house are characteristic of the Prairie School of Architecture. Horizontal lines and broad open planes are stressed (in the spirit of the Midwestern prairie) through the use of long, low hipped roofs, a lateral wing and porch, horizontal banding of windows and oak trim, and an open plan which maximizes the sense of space. Both the use of an attached garage at the rear of the house and a picture window in the living room were new concepts in 1907. Through its execution the Dunham house reflects clearly the modern ideals of the Prairie School to create a truly American architecture, with an honest use of materials, rejecting important historical styles. The building is stripped of classical ornament and expressed with clear precise angles and a continuity of line and surface. Enrichment is achieved through textural expression of materials, stucco, oak, and brick.
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