Visit 3 Generations of South Side Hetherington Homes | Chicago News


Three generations of the Hetherington family are responsible for the architectural design of over 100 homes on the south side of the town.

This weekend, the Beverly Area Planning Association(BAPA) joins forces with the ridge historical society offer tours of some of these houses as well as a photo exhibition highlighting their work and impact.

In North Beverly, along Dan Ryan Woods, stand three homes all designed by the Hetheringtons. The family of architectural designers has worked on more than 100 homes in Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood. A new tour highlights some of the houses and some of the fascinating residents.

Occupied by Audrius Plioplys since 1999, a house on the tour once belonged to Al Capone’s banker John Bain.

“He was a very wealthy person,” Plioplys said. “The most important banker in Chicago at the time.”

Bain occupied the house in the 1930s and based on information shared by Bain’s granddaughter and his own personal research, Plioplys believes Bain was regularly visited by Capone’s “organization”.

“As the depression set in and investments began to fall, the Capone organization demanded that all of its money be withdrawn and Bain had to guarantee it,” Plioplys said. “Capone’s people were coming in here and threatening him, so he had to give them all his money.”

When it came time to pay, Plioplys said he could only think of one place where Bain would hide all the money he owed.

“If you want to have a handy place to stash some cash…it could be here.” The library is a nice place. You might find nooks and crannies. I looked, and there’s no money lying around or gold bars or anything, but there are probably some secret compartments here.

From the light fixtures to the fireplace, passing through the glass of the double doors, Plioplys has preserved the entirety of the original library. But the house was not only occupied by Bain. It also belonged to former General Motors Vice President Oscar Arnold. He is responsible for much of the design of the house.

When it comes to the design style of the Hetherington family, researcher Tim Blackburn says there are many distinctions.

“The three generations span eight decades, if you include the third generation who lived close to 2000,” says Tim Blackburn. “In the 20s and 30s, they focused on the revival style. Ranging from Tudor to French eclectic to American colonial… the Driscoll Graver house is a neo-Tudor house. What makes them unique is their location…they’re built for their location.

While providing a window into Chicago’s history, the house also bears witness to a sad reality for black people in Chicago at that time.

“The 1928 restrictive covenants…in the sales documents, the same clause would appear that the house is sold, with the understanding that the house would never be resold to anyone who was African American, except hired helpers. Very clearly indicated.

BAPA will offer a home visit Sunday, May 15 at noon, tickets start at $30.

Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3

Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of DuPage Foundation Art correspondent.


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