Historic Homes

Q: For whom is Sturges Parkway named?
A:
Sturges Parkway is named for Frank Sturges. He and his wife, Jannette, bought property in Elmhurst and built their home in 1893. The estate, known as Clover Lawn (shown at right) reached west from York Street to Cottage Hill Avenue, and north from St. Charles Road to south of Church Street. It included a large stone mansion, stately trees, rare shrubs, an apple orchard, grape arbors, winding paths and many varieties of roses. The mansion was razed in 1929, and the property was subdivided. Sturges Parkway is located in what had been the Sturges’ estate.

Q: I live in one of several Spanish Revival style homes on Mitchell Avenue, south of St. Charles Road. Do you know anything about these houses?
A:
Custom builder and Elmhurst resident Fred La Fave built the Mitchell Avenue homes in the mid-1920s. Six of the homes were featured in the January 1927 issue of Home Building. When questioned why he built houses in the Spanish Revival style of architecture, Mr. La Fave replied that people desired distinctive styles, something that was different, and that the homes proved his belief that people were looking for better quality homes.

Q: I once lived in Koch Hall. What can you tell me about it?
A:
The Koch house was built circa 1900 and it stood at 317 W St. Charles Road - the northwest corner of St. Charles Road and Hagans Avenue. It was a large 2-½ story frame house with thirteen rooms, three bathrooms and a powder room, four fireplaces on a lot that had 337’ frontage on Hagans Avenue. After World War II there was a severe housing shortage. School District No. 88 purchased the property and used the building to provide housing for teachers at York Community High School. It continued in that capacity until it was razed in 1953 to make room for the high school’s athletic field.

Q: What was the structure that stood just north of the Immaculate Conception Parking lot near the intersection of York and Arthur Streets, but was torn down?
A:
The building at 203 S York Street (pictured at left) was originally built in 1891 as the home of Drive. Frederick and Mrs. Martha Fischer. It was known as York Manor. In 1914, Drive. Milo Crane opened Crane Sanitarium (see related story below) in the building. Drive. Milo Crane's son, George Riley Crane, had a dental office in the building 1936-1975. In the meantime, most of the building was used as a residential hotel starting circa 1944. It went by many names over the years: The Crane Hotel, The York Manor Hotel, Elmhurst Apartments and The Elmhurst Hotel. The building was razed in 2003.

Q: I am interested in the history of the Crane Sanitarium in Elmhurst.
A:
Crane Sanitarium was located at 203 S York Street in the former home of the Drive. Frederick and Mrs. Martha Fischer family (photo at left). The sanitarium was founded and operated by Drive. Milo Crane (born 1874, died 1944). According to his obituary (Elmhurst Leader, April 11, 1944) Drive. Crane graduated from the Wayne Medical School in Detroit and specialized in stomach disorders. The Crane Sanitarium letterhead declared “WHERE ALL CHRONIC DISEASES ARE SUCCESSFULLY TREATED.” Treatments included dietetics, massage, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, hygiene and recreation of the body. Drive. Crane and his wife, Ella, moved to Elmhurst in 1914. At some point Crane Sanitarium became the Crane Hotel.