Location: 3920 Edgevale Court             Architecture: Victorian

Previous Owners:

1900 - abt 1920, George Straith
Abt 1920 - 1942, Frank Tropper
1942 - 1978, Everett Reimers, Sr.
1978 - 2009, Theresia Reimers
2009 - present, Kevin Hutton

Merina West gave a great presentation on the Straith home to the Historical Society at our July meeting, and donated her research binder to the Society. She'll be repeating the presentation at the January meeting of the Fair Oaks Woman's Thursday Club. For those of you who missed the presentation, and to make sure this beautiful mansion gets in the Old Homes binder in the History Center, we decided to do a write-up in this quarter's newsletter.

George Straith was a wealthy Chicage clothier and original member of the Chicago - Fair Oaks Association. Straith agreed to be the first of the group to build a home in Fair Oaks and "...pledged to inform the others about his experiences in beginning a life here, his success in fruit growing, his opinions about the climate and other aspects of life in the colony." He built the home in 1899-1900. The home was two stories with 14 rooms at about 5300 square feet. It also had a full cellar with 5 rooms containing the laundry, storage and utilities. The layout was modified over the years to please various owners, but with the exception of a room created by enclosing a porch, retains its original shape.

Straith became ill about 1915, and he and his wife Inda decided to return to Chicago for treatment. He sold the home to Frank Tropper, a railroad blacksmith. The Tropper family lived in the house until about 1940. Frank died in 1942. About 1930, Everett Reimers married Frank Tropper's daughter Elsie and they had two children, Theresia and Everett Jr. Theresia, ten years older that Everett, Jr., inherited the property on the death of Everett Sr. in 1978, but had moved to Virginia for a long career with a private college and allowed Everett Jr. to live in the house. Marilyn Pearce recalls visiting the house in 1977 and finding Everett Jr., his wife and two children there with Theresia visiting for the summer. She says the place was starting to become overgrown even then.

Everett Jr. got divorced sometime after 1977, fell into ill health, and the property deteriorated continuously from the 1980's forward, until the place was so overgrown that many of the neighborhood residents didn't know there was a house there. In 2009, Theresia decided to sell the property to next-door neighbor Kevin Hutton. He cleared all the brush and rubbish, emptied the house of a mountain of trash, and began the work of developing the property. He moved the old home back further from the bluffs and began the necessary structural improvements which will go on for some time.