631 N Central Avenue

Cook County Assessor photo

Architecture data

Primary style Italianate
Type Single family house
Neighborhood South Austin
Community area Austin
Built 1882
Architect Unknown
Property Class Two or more story residence, any age, 5,000 square feet and over

About this data

Discussion

This house, evidently built for Seth Warner, is probably considerably older than 1882, probably dating from the late 1860s. From at least the 1930s it was the Austin Academy of Fine Arts, a music and dramatic arts school (or conservatory), and also housed the owners, at least from its establishment by (I believe) Paul Vernon and his wife (Blanche?) and then the next owners, Perrin and Ione Walker Root, from about 1950 to perhaps sometimes in the 1970s, when another owner took over. My mother taught piano during the Roots' tenure there, in the right-front double parlor on the first storey, and my wedding reception was held there in 1964 in the same parlor (and the space to the rear that was part of the owners' private area).

Everything (except perhaps the chimneys) above the second storey in the above photo is inauthentic and of recent construction. I doubt there was ever a central belvedere. The quite tall third floor housed a sizable recital hall, for student and faculty recitals. The link below (which may not be around forever online) shows the facade's main central feature on the third level. I would hope that the nearby Austin branch of the Chicago Public Library still exists and has not dumped its substantial files (and photos) about local Austin history, where there was considerable info about this house.

http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/4x5-neg-austin-academy-arts-chicago-142670956

Marge on 1/31/15

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