On Saturday, June 7, 1924, Ruth M. Anderson was married in this sleeveless wedding dress (left) to William Noling in Evanston, Illinois. The dress is now on display in the Charles Gates Dawes House in Evanston. Dawes was Vice President of the United States from 1925 to 1929 under President Calvin Coolidge.
The Noling-Anderson wedding was held in the house of the bride and her parents, Isak and Jennie (née Johnson) Anderson, at 1035 Ridge Avenue in Evanston. Built in 1914, the house still stands as it did 100 years ago.
The dress is made of silk satin in an egg shell color. It is accented by an oval medallion with bands also made of silk satin. The medallion is embroidered with faux pearl and other glass beads.
While the wedding dress was very fashionable for the mid1920’s – sleeveless tops of all shapes and sizes were the rage in 1924 – it probably was not allowed in one of Evanston’s houses of worship. The fact that it was sleeveless and au courant would be deemed by many as risqué for showing too much bare skin inspired by a thoroughly modern flapper style. It was only in 1924, for instance, that the Methodist Episcopal General Conference first lifted its ban on going to the theater as well as dancing though dance music was the radio’s most popular programming.
The bridesmaid dress (right) was the height of women’s style in 1924 – a mainly straight, knee-length skirt gathered slightly or cut with front pleats. Short sleeve and sleeveless tops were the rage in 1924 reflected in Hollywood by the Mack Sennett girls who starred in movies where they pranced on the beach in a chorus line in not much more than bathing caps and short swim suits.
The fashionable bride and her court likely sported the latest style of facial make-up which is hinted at in the 2015 display– masklike with garish, even orange, lipstick and heavy red rouge on the cheeks. Popular fashion accessories from 1924 are also evident – pearls knotted at the neck and simple, though elegant, arm bracelets.
The bride’s father, Isak Anderson, was born in Sweden and came to the United States at 20 years old in 1890. In 1891 he married Jennie Johnson and they had Ruth and another child. Ruth’s father was a bank director and partner in a local tailoring business in downtown Evanston at 608 Davis that today is a noodle shop.
With Prohibition starting in 1920, guests at the wedding may have been served the latest popular highball whose recipe called for fruit juice and raw eggs. Their morning could have started with a bowl of Wheaties at breakfast, since the cereal of champions made its first appearance in 1924.
SOURCES: Dawes House, Evanston Illinois; The Swedish Element in Illinois: Survey of the Past Seven Decades, Ernst Wilhelm Olson, p. 586; American Chronicle, Lois Gordon & Alan Gordon, Yale University Press, New Haven & London,1999, pp. 230-238; Chicago: The Glamour Years (1919-1941), Thomas G. Aylesworth & Virginia Aylesworth, Gallery Books, NY, 1986, p.14.
A Mentor building has stood on this northeast corner of State and Monroe since 1873 when there had been a 7-story building erected here.1
Howard Van Doren Shaw’s only skyscraper presents an unusual mixture of styles.
There are windows grouped in horizontal bands between a four-level base of large showroom windows. The top is classically inspired with details that are strong and idiosyncratic. The building retains the character of its classical sources though they are used as large-scale motifs.2
Shaw’s 1906 building is 17 stories high with two basements on rock caissons.3
The photograph was taken on July 5, 2015.
1 Frank A. Randall, History of Development of Building Construction in Chicago, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded by John D. Randall, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1999, p, 196.
2 Alice Sinkevitch, AIA Guide to Chicago, 2nd Edition, Harcourt, Inc., Orlando, 2004, p. 59.
3 Randall, p.265.
Seven years after Howard Van Doren Shaw’s sole skyscraper, Chicago Downtown’s Mentor Building (above), was built in 1906, the architect raised this highly sophisticated “great house” design in Evanston, Illinois.
The light-colored brick house is Colonial Revival with modifications. The façade’s symmetry is prominently displayed in its 5 equal openings for its two main floors and topped by a shortened pitched roof with three flat-roofed dormers. A chimney protrudes at the roof line to the north.
For the main mass there are aligned windows with a middle opening for both the first and second floor symmetrically displaying diverse residential functionality: a broad-arched porchway and genteel fanlight above a double door entry on the first floor and, at the second level. a wrought iron balcony providing a small, mainly decorative step landing.
The great house is situated on the northeast corner lot of a leafy yet trafficked suburban residential intersection, with the main building’s symmetry broken to the south by the then-popular sun porch extension. It is a low, two-story flat-roofed projection with an enclosed porch on the first floor and an open porch originally on the upper level.
A Guide to Chicago’s Historic Suburbs On Wheels & On Foot, Ira J. Bach, Chicago, Athens, Ohio, London: Ohio University Press (Swallow Press), 1981, p. 518.
The Battle of Stillman’s Run was named for the first engagement between Illinois militia led by Major Isaiah Stillman (1793-1861) and Sauk warriors during the short, storied Black Hawk War in 1832. Maj. Stillman, who was born in Massachusetts, had settled in Illinois and joined its newly-formed militia in 1827. On that perilous Monday, May 14, 1832, in present-day Stillman Valley, a town in north-central Illinois, Maj. Stillman’s 275 Illinois militia were attacked by Sauk warriors of Black Hawk’s British Band. The numbers of Native American warriors is unknown but is placed somewhere between 50 and 200 fighters. The Black Hawk War began when Sauk chief Black Hawk (1767-1838) recrossed the Mississippi River from Iowa into Illinois on April 5, 1832 to re-settle with around 1,000 warriors and women, children and elders. Black Hawk believed that the Treaty of St. Louis dated from 1804 that ceded land of his birthplace was invalid. Though a state since 1818, Illinois was on the edge of wilderness awaiting an influx of settlers and the return by Black Hawk was viewed as antithetical to that immediate objective according to the U.S. Government. During the Battle of Stillman’s Run, a name characterized by a nearby creek as well as the militia’s desperate foot-race in defeat, 12 militiamen had been killed by Band warriors as they made a stand on a small hill. In the retreat, the militia fled back 30 miles south to the fort along the Rock River at Dixon’s Ferry (present-day Dixon, IL). Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), future 16th president of the United States, was stationed at Dixon’s Ferry and may have been present at the Battle of Stillman’s Run though it is not yet known. Recent scholarship does put Lincoln at the Battle of Kellogg’s Grove in Illinois in June 1832 nearly 50 miles farther west. Lincoln was also present for the formal burials of the 12 militiamen who were killed at the Battle of Stillman’s Run. It was reported by Black Hawk that just 5 or less of his Sauk warriors were lost in that first day of battle. The Black Hawk War ended on August 2, 1832 with the military defeat of Black Hawk’s by then starving band that had retreated towards the Mississippi River near present-day Victory, Wisconsin, where the state lines of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota meet.