Erwin & Thelma B. Wall House - 1936
The Walls purchased Lots 7 and 8, in Block 9, Manree Park, on June 7, 1931 from Arthur H. and Helen M. Schaefer, a week after the Schaefers bought them from Halsey J. and Alta R. Reed. Their deed contained four restrictions: (1) for 50 years from June 5, 1931, one house and one garage per lot, (2) any house built could not cost less than $5,000, (3) the foundation of each house had to be 50 feet west from the west line of Orchard Street, and (4) no building could be moved to either lot. These restrictions subsequently ceased in 1950, after the south half of Lot 8 was sold.
Five years later, the Walls built their Regency Revival house at a cost of $7,000. Their architect and builder were Ellis A. Klinger and Harold Strand. This style was popular in the 1930s, the Art Moderne or late Art Deco era, but by 1950, it fell out of favor. This style lacks embellishments and uses restraint in its design lines. Plain, flat, and boxy-looking, shallow hipped roof, with or without a narrow cornice, displaying a small second story hexagonal window, building a flat one-story addition onto one side plus cladding of stucco or paint and occasionally a material or design change above the first floor, all identify a Regency Revival house.
This house has eight, five-course, rectangular-sided, common (not cream city) brick bandings, each of which is topped by a single band using the smaller end of the brick which juts out an inch. Two-thirds of the way up the façade, the banding pattern stops until the smaller end of the brick is used for the banding under the cornice. The chimney features this banding.
The symmetrical windows are one-over-one, with larger ones on the first floor. These windows have brick sills and lintels. The second floor, hexagonal, leaded-glass window over the flat roof entrance is not congruent with the polygonal art moderne window in the front door. The shutters on the front lower windows are not part of the original house.
Mr. Wall, a business teacher at Washington Park High School, was the founder of Educators Credit Union. After he died in 1959, his widow married Robert Bohm, the owner of Robert Bohm Electric. They sold the house in 1962 to the first of three SC Johnson employee families, the Paul W. Lintons. In 1968, the John C. Phillips family became owners.
John and Ann Ruetz acquired the property in 1979. In 1986, they built a second-floor, one-room addition at a cost of $19,000. Mr. Ruetz was the President of Enviro-Analysts, Inc. Richard and Sue Mills bought the house in 1992. Richard was an SC Johnson chemist; Sue was a pediatric nurse.
Sue Mills has lived in the house the longest of all its owners, and was a former resident of 708 Orchard Street (another house on the tour this year). She is a long-standing, dedicated supporter of the Manree Park neighborhood, and we appreciate her willingness to open her home on this year’s tour.