312 East Agincourt Avenue
The house at 312 East Agincourt Avenue (on the right in this photo by Ploiphan Saengporm) was built circa 1911 from plans by Chicago architect Lawrence Buck–an excuse to rummage in the Arts & Crafts Movement, as if I needed one. At this stage I’m usually sorting through a series of options for documenting the house and the various people associated with it. The outline is beginning to take shape.
- Aidan Archer was born circa 1870 in the neighborhood of Rockford, Illinois. With a high school diploma (more than most had in that era) Archer began working in a Rockford manufacturing facility of some sort; don’t know what sort, but Rockford was replete with them.
- Archer worked his way from the assembly line into a supervisory role, attracting the attention of management.
- David Parmelee owned the company, one of several manufacturing interests his family operated in northern Illinois.
- Archer married the boss’s daughter, Cordelia Parmelee (born 1878), in 1899.
- Expanding his business interests into Iowa, David Parmelee built a small factory at Agincourt to manufacture enamel cookware—durable sepia-speckled pots and pans called “Hearthstone.” Archer was offered the position of plant manager.
- The Archers, five years and two children into their married life, relocated to Agincourt in 1904, taking rooms at the Park Hotel while they searched for housing. They rented a home in the northwest quad near the Darwin School in 1905.
- Archer’s father-in-law David Parmelee built a Rockford home designed by architect Lawrence Buck (yes, there really was a Lawrence Buck; he did have offices in both Chicago and Rockford; and he did design a substantial home for a client named Parmelee in 1910).
- Parmelee gifted his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren with a new house, one that was also designed by architect Buck. I suspect additional children were crowding the Archers out of their first home.
- Construction began in the Summer of 1911; the Archers moved in to celebrate their first Thanksgiving that fall.
I’ll use the Archer home to explore domestic life circe 1910-1920: relationships among family and friends; the likelihood they have a live-in. Will they remain in town through the 1920s and experience the Market Crash and its consequences? I’m fortunate to choose the periods when and where I can design. Perhaps I choose the easy ones.