Celebrating Historic Homes – Schell home in Morgan Park turns 125.  

 The Frank D. Schell house in Morgan Park has a history of owners who have loved, cherished and stayed in the home. The current owners, Doug and Renie Wilson, have lived in the home in Morgan Park since 1980. The previous owners, the Dangermond family, had lived there more than 70 years. And there was of course the first owner, Frank D. Schell, a builder, painter and decorator. 

“We had lived in an apartment for 10 years and had friends over, but there wasn’t a sense of community,” Douglas Wilson said. “Since moving here, our neighbors have become our friends and the children that were here when we first arrived have moved back and started their own families. BAPA’s theme of Love Where You Live really applies to our block.”  

The Wilsons purchased the Dangermond home really by chance. While visiting a friend in the neighborhood, Renie Wilson stopped by the home and asked a neighbor if it was for sale. “Besides a wonderful location, the craftsmanship of the home is just unbelievable, especially the extensive woodwork, built-in sideboard, stained glass, exterior brickwork, and the expansive yard,” Douglas Wilson said.  

One of the Wilson’s favorite features about their home is an eight-by-six-foot beveled mirror that is framed by oak woodwork and columns in their front living room. It’s 125 years old and something to behold. The architect of the home, H.H. Waterman was known as a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, Wilson said.  

“Anyone that owns an historic home can tell you there are a number of challenges involved in updating and maintaining such a home,” he said. “That aside, there’s just a different feel when you enter one. Most of them are one of a kind — our home has incredible woodwork. The downstairs level woodwork is oak while upstairs is pine, and some of the baseboards are almost a foot high with lots of detail. 

Of the previous owners of the home, Wilson said he learned there were seven children in the family, three of which continued to live in the home together as they did not marry. The Dangermond sisters taught piano and violin lessons in the home and local artist Jack Simmerling is said to have taken lessons there.  

 

 

 

 

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