Lille Burgess Smith Hovenkamp House – Bryce

Although it was probably constructed during the first period of development in Arlington Heights, the first recorded occupant of this house was Lillie Burgess Smith, widow of William H. Smith. Smith, who was involved in real estate and ran the Senate Saloon with James H. Thrasher, died about 1904. Lillie B. Smith moved to Arlington Heights with her three young children shortly thereafter. She is listed in several newspaper articles from the 1930s as one of the “first families” of Arlington Heights, a distinction accorded those who moved to the development before World War I. Mrs. Smith married Mark Hovenkamp about 1913, and did not occupy the house again until about 1919, when she is listed at this address in city directories as Mrs. Lillie B. Hovenkamp. It is likely that the house was constructed by either the Chamberlin Investment Company or the Fort Worth and Arlington Heights Land and Investment Company, the firms responsible for developing the area in the early 1890s, but additional information is needed.
Of an irregular L-plan, the brick house has a receding wing on the west elevation. Across the front of the house and around the angle formed by the west wing, a full two-story gallery beneath the main roof is supported by tall boxed piers on brick bases. The piers and gallery balustrade are replacements; a 1904 photograph shows the roof and gallery supported by sets of slender paired piers and a much simpler balustrade. Other known alterations to the house include a 1956 asbestos-sided rear addition of two stories, and a new front door and shutters. The brick surface has been painted. The lot of the large house has been drastically reduced by the recent construction of condominiums to the west. Several features of the house, such as the rusticated window sills and lintels, the finely set segmental arches, and the quaintly hipped dormer relate to the 1893 Bryce House (4900 Bryce Avenue) directly across the street. Further research may bring to light more information about this important house. It may qualify for the National Register listing following additional documentation.

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