Eskilson Historic District
The Eskilson Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. Portions of the content of this page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2014, The Gombach Group.
The Eskilson Historic District is located north of Fifth Avenue, Gary's main east/west corridor, approximately one mile west of the city's center in the Gary Land Company's Fourth Addition to the City of Gary. It was developed during the 1920s and 1930s, between World Wars I and II. The neighborhood reflects several concepts of housing design during this era including architect designed homes, mail order designs, and builder/contractor, or near-architect, designs. The Eskilson Historic District consists entirely of single family dwellings and although the houses are of various sizes all of them fit into the small house category. The Bungalow, Colonial Revival, American Foursquare and Tudor are the predominant architectural styles within the district. The craftsmanship of construction throughout the district is generally of the highest quality and the materials used for the exteriors of the houses demonstrate a wide variety that helps provide an aesthetically appealing neighborhood. A few of the houses have been altered over the years but most retain their original architectural integrity reflecting the district's original design.
The Eskilson Historic District represents Gary's remarkable residential expansion during the period between the two World Wars. Within the context of Gary the district represents some of the best the City of Gary had to offer; new lots in planned neighborhoods, deed restrictions, and new ideas in community planning.
The district contains many fine examples of early twentieth century architectural styles and demonstrates the concepts promoted through the Small House and the Better Homes movements sweeping across America in the 1920s. The development of the district was controlled by the Gary Land Company and has many examples of the bungalow, American Foursquare, Colonial and Tudor Revival homes. Several of the houses demonstrate the work of locally significant architects; L. Harry Warriner, Joe E. Wildermuth, D.S. Pentecost.
The Eskilson Historic District consists of architect and near-architect designed homes that reflect the concepts of the Small House movement. Several of the homes were designed by trained academic architects. A majority of the homes were built by highly skilled builders that had developed enough skill working in their trade to be able to design or to modify existing house plans and create a well built, tasteful contemporary design. A few of the houses also appear to have been built by their first occupant, indicating the use of a kit home or purchased architectural plans.
The Eskilson Historic District reflects major transitions in residential neighborhoods that were taking place in Gary under the control of the Gary Land Company in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The crescent-shaped street layout reflects the aesthetic changes made by the Gary Land Company to their earlier linear grid plan and reflects the concepts of the City Beautiful Movement. The individuality of some of the houses within the district demonstrates the work of skilled architects and near-architect builders. The designs of the homes demonstrate the aspects of the Small House and Better Home movements then sweeping across the nation. Though limited in architectural styles the Eskilson Historic District contains many fine examples of those styles; many of the homes retain their entire historic integrity and reflect a high degree of artistic value in their design. Today the district is highly reflective of how it appeared during its era of significance. The landscaping and foliage reflect a maturity but otherwise the district would be identifiable to any of its early residents.
† Gregg Abell, Partners in Preservation, Inc., Eskilson Historic District, Lake County, IN, nomination document, 2012, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.