In 1913, architect Charles E. White, Jr. designed a mansion at 220 N. Euclid Avenue for realtor Caswell A. Sharpe and his family. Included in the 12,000-square-foot residence was an elegant entry and living room, paneled library, handsome reception rooms, six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and separate servants’ quarters. The 2.2 acre landscaped campus also boasted a coach house and greenhouse. The Sharpes lived in Cheney Mansion until 1921. During that time their son Nathan and his fiancée, Marie Walsh, exchanged wedding vows in the library. Andrew and Mary Hooker Dole purchased the residence in 1922 and bequeathed it to their niece, Elizabeth Cheney, upon their death. Elizabeth inherited the Mansion in the late 1940s and deeded it to the Park District of Oak Park in 1975. She resided in the Mansion until her death in 1985. Now known as Cheney Mansion, the house was designated a local landmark in 2004. It is in good company, as it is located within the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District.
About the Architect
Charles E. White, Jr. was a graduate of MIT and came to Oak Park after marrying local Alice Roberts. For two years, beginning in 1903, White worked in Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio, and was strongly influenced by Wright’s credo that a building should express the spirit of its natural surroundings. In addition to Cheney Mansion, White also designed a number of Oak Park residences and the Oak Park Post Office located at Lake Street and Kenilworth Avenue.