History of the Maywood Home for Soldier’s Widows
224 N. 1st Avenue-Maywood, Illinois
The Maywood Home for Soldier’s Widows, locally referred to as the Old Soldier’s Widows’ Home, was built in 1924. The home was privately run through the efforts of the Daughters of the Union Veterans, the Ladies Grand Army of the Republic, and the Dames of the Loyal Legion to provide maintenance, nursing and care for the elderly of fallen Union Soldiers of the Civil War and their children.
The widows had been housed at the Logan Home, named in honor of the Civil War general from Illinois, John Logan. That building was the former mansion of Maywood founder Colonel William Nichols, and was located at the northwest corner of 5th and Oak (120 S. 5th Avenue). Colonel W. Nichols fought at Gettysburg and survived. There is a monument at Gettysburg in his honor.
The new, larger Maywood Home Soldiers’ Widows provided 34 individual bedrooms, communal bathrooms, a family gathering room and a large dining room with a kitchen from which daily meals were served for the residents until 1978.
The building was designed by prominent Maywood architect Francis E. Dunlap. Dunlap was born in Maywood and later served as a Maywood Trustee until his death at only 32 years of age in 1927.
Dunlap’s stately design for this Maywood Home for the Soldiers’ Widows building is a fine example of the Federalist style featuring red brick, arched windows, limestone accents and classical detailing inside and out.
It remains today as a solidly built and highly fire-resistant structure with extraordinary character and great memorial and historical significance.
The building is believed to be one of only a few such structures still standing nationwide. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
The building has been owned by the Village of Maywood since 2008 and vacant since 2003. Recent efforts to promote commercial adaptive re-uses for this building have led to the restoration of the front portico, a comprehensive re-use study and preparations to inspire redevelopment. The Village of Maywood is currently seeking a developer/buyer to rehabilitate and reuse this historic 1924 Georgian Revival-Style structure. If interested, please contact the Village of Maywood at (708)-450-6301.
Right across the street from the Widows home is an Underground Railroad called the TEN MILE HOUSE. I don't think it's a coincidence, because the Daughters of the Union were responsible for teaching newly freed slaves how to read and write.