Name: A. W. Gridley House
Location: 605 North Batavia Road, Batavia, Illinois
Year Built: 1906
Style: Prairie Style
After my visit to the P.D. Hoyt House in Geneva, IL, I searched for FLW’s other sites located in the region. Hailing from the south side of Chicago, the (north?)western suburbs of Chicago have always been a mystery to me. I located the A. W. Gridley House on the map and went on my way. Driving south on Route 31, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but knew what to look for, a Prairie Style house. Route 31 follows the Fox River so it is easy to be distracted by the beautiful landscape and river views, but no fear, the A. W. Gridley House cannot be missed.
The A. W. Gridley House is located in Batavia, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, just west of the P.D. Hoyt House in Geneva, IL. The A. W. Gridley House was built by FLW in 1906. It was named the “Ravine House” by FLW himself. The house sat on 15 acres with a wildflower ravine on the south side of the property.
The house now sits on a modest lot, but nothing close to the original 15 acres. It sits up on top of a gently sloping hill providing views of the Fox River across the street. I can only imagine the views this house hosted in 1906 when it stood by itself on 15 acres.
HINT: If you are traveling south on Route 31, you may miss the infamous FLW side porch with overhanging eaves due to the less than modest speed limit and distracting river views. I recommend turning on Timber Trail and parking your car. There is a sidewalk that runs between the house and Route 31 providing visitors with a guilt free viewing area of the A. W. Gridley House. There is also a historic sign commemorating the house and site, paying tribute to Mrs. Gridley.
The front of the house boasts a beautiful front porch area. I imagine once the doors to the porch are open, the outside floods the inside, as FLW must have intended. The house shape is similar to a crucifix formation which can be found in other FLW Prairie Style house designs.
The Prairie Style house my father designed and built also has a crucifix design formation; I remember him pointing this out to me as a child and not understanding the significance, but now I understand. He was paying tribute to FLW while building his own Prairie Style house.
I tried to find additional information on Mrs. A. W. Gridley, but unfortunately, this information is not as easy to find. From what I gathered, Mrs. A. W. Gridley met FLW through her connection with Mr. P. D. Hoyt. Like most FLW homeowners, Mrs. A. W. Gridley suffered financial difficulties and only lived in the house a short time.