National Style Front Gable House with Greek Revival Influence
|248 N. May St.|
The story begins...c 1890 in Hinckley, Illinois. This property was relocated sometime in the early 1950s from its original location on Route 30, also known as Lincoln Highway. This house is a Gable-Front Folk House built in the National style according to "A Field Guide of American Houses" by Virginia and Lee McAlester. The simplicity of the architectural features and its front-gabled placement of entry shows some Greek Revival influence. In essence one of the remaining Greek Revival architectural influences left as the Greek Revival style home fell out of fashion in the late 1860s was the front-gable house. This type of house was well-suited for urban lots and impacted domesticity in a way that allowed a more private portion of the home to exist. In the past homes were built with a side gable and center entry and public and private rooms merged together. With the Greek Revival's front-gable entry rooms in the house could be closed off for privacy.
The tip-off to the Greek Revival influence is the cornice line of the main roof as being emphasized with a wide band of trim (the trim just below the roof line). This type of architectural feature is really more indicative of an earlier house fashion and would commonly be found on a Greek Revival home (c 1825-1860). The National style of house was built c 1850-1890--so this home is built at the end of the National style era with Greek Revival influence. The windows also have a simple decorative lintel with classical features once again similar to a Greek Revival home.
|Wide band of trim along the cornice line|
What many people may not know about Hinckley is that it was the site of the first road game for the Harlem Globetrotters on January 7, 1927, in front of a crowd of 300 which was just about half of the population of the whole town. (1920 census population was 663.) One of the town residents had gone to college with the owner, Abe Saperstein, of the Harlem Globetrotters and he invited them to play in Hinckley. Despite the name "Harlem", the team was from Chicago and arrived in Hinckley in a Model "T" Ford. While speaking with one of the volunteers, Jerry Bahl, at the Hinckley Historical Society, I was informed that at the time the Globetrotters came to Hinckley, the players were not allowed to stay in the town's hotel which was located at May and Route 30. It was related that a kind doctor in town took the players in and allowed them to stay in the second floor of his building. Imagine that the now world-famous Harlem Globetrotters were once turned away from lodging!
This image from the Hinckley Historical Society is the north side of Lincoln Avenue from May Street. The caption reads: "This is the hotel where the Globe Trotters were refused lodging-photo taken in about 1912. In 1928 Highway U.S. 30 was constructed through the town and the streets were paved with concrete at that time. The three buildings to the right of the hotel are still standing. The hotel is not." The hotel is the building in the forefront of the left side of the picture.
Hinckley remains a small rural town with a population of 2,070. There is an active downtown and a local grocery store. The Hinckley Historical Society has done a wonderful job in preserving their small town's history and their museum is well worth a visit. They are located at 145 East Lincoln Highway, Hinckley, IL, and is open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The property at 248 N. May St. had later additions put onto it and currently has 3193 square feet of living space! The property has been converted into a 2-flat and is currently a foreclosure and listed at $119,900. For more information about this property please contact Marian Boveri at 847-308-2424.
Until we meet again...may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(An Old Irish Blessing)
Marian McCoy Boveri
Historic Homes Specialist
Keller Williams Fox Valley Realty
St. Charles, IL