411 Linden

Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond

411 Linden

Winnetka, Illinois 60093, United States

Created By: Winnetka Historical Society


The Winnetka Historical Society’s headquarters at 411 Linden was first built as early as 1859 on land that was owned by Charles Peck, who is largely considered the founder of Winnetka. The house is considered one of Winnetka’s best examples of the Victorian-era Gothic Revival style, which was inspired by the medieval cathedrals of Europe.

While it has undergone some changes, many of the original Gothic Revival features still remain today, including the pitched roof, the original doors with the tear drop windows, and the gingerbread decorations. Like most Victorian Gothic designs of the mid-to-late 1800s, 411 Linden is made of wood horizontal siding.

The first long-term residents were the Densmore family, who moved from 440 Ridge to 411 Linden when Solymon Densmore purchased the property in 1877. Interestingly, some records indicate that James Densmore, Solymon’s adult son, moved into the house by 1870, so it’s possible that some members of the Densmore family lived in the house before it was purchased by Solymon in 1877. Regardless, by 1877, the location made sense for Solymon Densmore, who had opened a shop on the corner of Cherry and Linden in 1868, where he manufactured and sold Fanning Mills, a machine that separated grain from dirt and chaff using a fan. Solymon’s daughter, Fidella, became a well-known opera singer while living in Winnetka, performing at various notable venues in Chicago, New York, and across Italy.

While it looks today much as it did when it was first built, 411 Linden has had a number of different looks over the years. In 1989, for example, a “Painted Lady” competition in Chicago inspired the homeowners to paint the house a rose hue. In the 1970s, it was painted a dark teal blue shade. The house has also been painted a cream shade, as well as a raspberry/hot pink for a short time.

Since the Winnetka Historical Society moved into 411 Linden in 2001, it has been painted the understated yet classic pale yellow you see today.

411 Linden is now a Local Landmark, and has been identified by the state as a potential candidate for the National Register of Historic Places.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Stories and Structures: Downtown Winnetka and Beyond


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