411 W. Indiana Ave.

Architect: Unknown         Year Built: 1909       Architectural Style: Prairie Style


Architectural Description

Built in 1909, 411 W. Indiana is a typical two-story Prairie style house. The walls consist of roughly textured cream stucco and brown wood detailing. The main form of the house is square and the facade is asymmetrical. A typical characteristic of Prairie style architecture is to have simple, clean, unadorned facades, with no extraneous ornament. The cream stucco is paired with wood detailing including window frames and banding/detail emphasizing the horizontal plane, which articulates corners, window frames, and the top half of the upper story is emphasized by a wooden band/belt course. The roof of the house is a low-pitched hipped roof with widely overhanging eaves, a typical characteristic of Prairie style architecture. Projecting rafters can be seen below the overhanging eaves. A broad, flat chimney is perched on the roof. A one-story porch marks the entrance to the house. The porch is supported by massive square pillars, also covered in stucco cream stucco. Two large stout round urns flank the porch entrance near the wide pillars. Projecting rafters make up the porch covering. A second floor balcony sits above the entry porch, which is called a “window box.” A concrete cap is present on the first floor porch rail, while a thin band of wood trip caps the second floor balcony rail.
A one-story sunroom projects from the east side of the house. Horizontal rows of large casement windows dominate the walls of the sunroom. The majority of the windows on the house are multi-paned double-hung windows with wooden "surrounds" or window frames. There is a bay window, in a typical Art Nouveau style, adjacent to the entry porch. There is a dormer window with tapered walls in the center of the roof, or attic level, on the north façade that is clad in shingles. This dormer has a hip roof that has small-paned casement windows inset. There is a regular square-walled dormer on the roof, or attic level, of the west side. These characteristics are all common to the prairie style.

Historical Description

The homes surrounding Carle Park, including 411 W. Indiana, were built on lots carved out from land originally owned by Albert G. Carle. After Carle died, his widow, Margaret Morris set about creating a park to honor her late husband. In March of 1909, Margaret conveyed a large tract of land to C.L. Van Doren in trust for the creation of Carle Park. As per the original conveyance, Van Doren conveyed a portion of the property to the Urbana Park District on Oct 11, 1911. The rest of the property was parceled out into individual lots. 411 W. Indiana was built on Lot 6, Block 4, directly opposite the southwest corner of Carle Park. According to a letter from Bo Willman, the house was “at the edge of town” in 1922. There were no houses to the east and the nearest house to the west was four lots away, suggesting that it was one of the first of the Van Doren lots to be built upon.
Clarence Balke, a professor of inorganic chemistry at UIUC, was the first owner of the lot and secured a mortgage from Commercial Building and Loan Association to build the home. In 1916, Balke sold the property to Eliot Blackwelder, Head of Geology Department. Blackwelder, who lived in the house from 1916 to 1919, went on to become the head of the Stanford Geology Department. Upon retiring in 1945, he became an active member of the Atlantic Union Committee (AUC), the key organization supporting the establishment of NATO. Perhaps one of the most prominent residents of the house was Augusto Ortiz, a University of Illinois medical student who boarded with the Goodwine family in the 1920s. He married Martha Goodwine in a wedding that took place in the living room. Following graduation, the Ortiz family moved to Tuscon, AZ where they devoted their lives to rural health. He developed a number of mobile health clinics. One of Ortiz's patients was a young Cesar Chavez.
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Created on: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 11:42
- Author - SashaC
- Contributors: KevinG