07 May 2013

Louis Solomon on the Lakeshore

The Solomon Enclave-Beverly Shores
 The development of the lakeside resort community of Beverly Shores grew quickly in the post-war years.  Many of the seasonal residents were Chicagoans who brought their Windy City architects with them.  One of those architects found respite in the dunes himself and purchased a large lot in 1948 on which he constructed three side-by-side vacation homes for his family.

Louis Solomon was a prolific Chicago architect known primarily for designing large apartment buildings.  Solomon attended the University of Illinois during the 1930s and later established his firm with a brother-in-law who was a contractor.  The firm expanded and continues to this day.  Solomon practiced in the International Style.  The introduction of this style of house in Beverly Shores would have been unusual except for a prior introduction of the style that arrived....by barge!

Interior of one of the Solomon houses
The developer of Beverly Shores, which began in 1927, was a Chicago real estate developer by the name of Frederick Bartlett.  Bartlett's son, Robert, purchased six of the futuristic homes that were located at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair "Century of Progress" exhibition.  He dismantled two-those he could-and trucked them to Beverly Shores in 1934-1935.  The remaining four houses he placed on barges and floated to the new resort.  He hope the futuristic homes would bring attention to the development and attract more home building.  The Century of Progress houses are still located along the bluff overlooking the beach and have been restored through a cooperative agreement between Indiana Landmarks and the National Park Service.

The National Park Service purchased several properties throughout the lakeshore in order to create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore during the 1960s.  They reached an agreement with the Solomon family as well and currently own the three-home enclave.  The homes were listed on the National Register in 2011.

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