Northwest Quiz: We Call it Home

It’s an odd fact of life that our possessions often “outlive” us, including our beloved homes. Our region brims with fantastic homes of historical significance. They reveal clues about the people who built them and the times in which they lived. See if you can match the home listed below with the community to which it belongs. Each location is used just once.

Answer Choices

A. Zion
B. Lake Forest
C. Marengo
D. McHenry
E. Barrington
F. Crystal Lake
G. St. Charles
H. Geneva
I. Batavia
J. Richmond
K. Elgin
L. Plato Center


1. The Greek Revival-style William Beith House was built in 1843 by a Scottish-American builder and abolitionist. It has a tunnel that likely was used by the Underground Railroad. Rescued by Preservation Partners in 1980, it’s unique because of its river stone construction.

2. The Col. Gustavus A. Palmer House is a Federal-style brick home built in 1858 on 80 acres that were presented to the colonel in gratitude for his service during the Patriot War of 1837. Today it’s home to the local historical society.

3. The Mission Revival architecture of Elizabeth Place distinguishes it from the Italianate or Greek Revival luxury homes of the era. Henry Bond Fargo, cousin to the founder of the Wells Fargo Company, named it in honor of his wife, Annie Elizabeth, who died the year before the home’s 1900 completion. The property was listed for sale this spring at $2.7 million.

4. Known simply as the Octagon House, this curious, eight-sided, two-story structure was built around 1860 as a single-family residence. It has intricately carved and jigsawed brackets supporting the roof of the porch; from the inside it appears to be a conventional house.

5. Frank Lloyd Wright named his 1907 Prairie-style Ravine House after the wildflower-filled ravine sloping to one side. The 5,100-square-foot, 14-room home has a low-pitched, cantilevered roof and three massive Roman brick fireplaces. Its airy spaces and long, low-to-the-ground character pay homage to the natural landscape.

6. The Count’s House is a pre-Civil War Greek Revival home unique because of its two forward faces. The north side has two-story Doric columns on the portico and the south side has an upper balcony. An Austrian count named Oskar Bopp Oberstadt was its first owner.

7. The 1905 Lucien Bonaparte Covell House has seven gables and a wraparound porch. Lucien and Anna Covell were highly respected. She taught school; he directed the local school board for 46 years and supervised the township for 22 years, while also running a large farm. Sadly, the couple had no children to fill the big home’s five bedrooms.

8. The 1847 Charles H. Hibbard House, also called the Cupola House, is recognized both for its Italianate architecture and interesting lore. Its octagonal cupola is thought to have served as a lookout tower for the Underground Railroad. When a light was hung in the cupola, runaway slaves knew it was safe to stop. A South Carolina native, horticulturist and storekeeper, Hibbard built the home as a replica of his 14-room childhood home.

9. The three-story Ora Pelton House, also called Izzo-Pelton House, was built in 1889 by surgeon Ora A. Pelton, who commissioned architect Gilbert M. Turnbull to design it. Of Victorian Queen Anne style, it has Stick-Eastlake influences, as seen in the porch columns and second-floor balcony. Curiously, each room is floored in a different wood species.

10. The 25-room, Norman-style Noble Judah Estate was completed just a few years before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 ended the Country Place Era. Its owners have enjoyed 17th century formal gardens; a French-cobbled, walled entry courtyard; and an indoor swimming pool. A Chicago attorney, Judah served as a state representative, bank director, U.S. Ambassador to Cuba and husband to National Cash Register company heiress Dorothy Patterson. His estate was designed by Philip Lippincott Goodwin, who later designed New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

11. Muirhead Farmhouse is the only known farmhouse designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s an example of the Usonian architecture concept, meant to be affordable, organic, functional and tailored to the specific homeowner. The 3,200-square-foot farmhouse was designed in 1950 for the Muirhead family, which still owns it. It’s open for tours on select dates.

12. Sometimes our plans are not God’s plans, as John Alexander Dowie learned at the end of his life. A Scottish-born Congregational minister who practiced divine healing, Dowie sought to build an entire City of God where worshippers would be free from the world’s evils. He secured options on 6,600 acres and mapped out his dream city in detail but was forced to relinquish it after its financial health and his own health failed. Today, his 1902 Shiloh House is a museum that tells the stories both of Dowie and the City of God – where most streets are still named for people and places in the Bible.

Quiz Answers

1. G. The William Beith House is located in St. Charles.
2. F. The Col. Gustavus A. Palmer House is located in Crystal Lake.
3. H. Elizabeth Place is in Geneva.
4. E. Octagon House is in Barrington.
5. I. The Ravine House is in Batavia.
6. D. Count’s House is in McHenry.
7. J. Lucien Bonaparte Covell House is in Richmond.
8. C. Charles H. Hibbard House is in Marengo.
 9. K. Ora-Pelton House is in Elgin.
10. B. The Noble Judah Estate is in Lake Forest.
11. L. Muirhead Farmhouse is in Plato Center.
12. A. Shiloh House is in Zion.