Robert E. Seyfarth was born in Blue Island in 1878 to Edward and Clara Seyfarth, well-to-do merchants whose hardware store was located at the site on which his grandparents had operated the tavern and boarding house they established when then came to Blue Island in 1848. The Seyfarth Building, which stood at the southwest corner of Western Avenue and Grove Streets, was built by Robert’s father to replace the structure lost in the Great Blue Island Fire of 1896.
Robert Seyfarth attended primary and secondary schools in Blue Island and received his architectural training at Chicago Manual Training School, which was later absorbed by the University of Chicago. Upon graduation in about 1898, he went to Chicago to work in the office of George Washington Maher. Seyfarth went into practice for himself in 1911 and shortly thereafter moved to Highland Park, where he spent the rest of his life designing hundreds of homes, most in the North Shore.
Although trained in the Prairie School tradition, of which his own house is an example, Seyfarth did not claim the style for his own, and after he left Maher’s employ never designed another Prairie School building. In the design of his buildings, Seyfarth borrowed freely from the past to create houses that were imbued with the warmth and character of earlier times.
continue the tour –> 19. William Seyfarth House
Robert Seyfarth tour –> 19. William Seyfarth House
Photo Credits: Christine L. Hawley