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This historic mansion was constructed between 1916 and 1917 for the family of Chicago rubber industrialist George Dryden and his wife Ellen, heiress of Kodak Eastman company founder George Eastman. The wealthy couple lived in the house designed by well-known Prairie School architect George Maher, whio designed the home in the Georgian-Revival style mirror that of the house where Eastman had previously resided in Rochester. The building enjoyed many modern advancements such as fireproof construction, a built-in vacuum system, and a water purification system. George Dryden donated the home to Northwestern University at the time of his death. The property was later sold to the school district and sold again to a Chicago-area developer in 2002.

  • Front of Mansion, Taken on August 22, 2009
  • Staircase of Dryden Mansion, Recent Picture
  • Taken 1920, found in "The Western Architect."
  • Back of the Mansion, Taken 2012.
The George B. Dryden House, a Georgian Revival home built from 1916 to 1917, was home to prosperous Chicago rubber industrialist George B Dryden and his wife Ellen A. Dryden, who was the heiress of the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, George Eastman. Together, the couple amassed tremendous wealth, likely around $9 million by the 1950s (a value worth more than $75 million in 2018). Not only does the house enjoy historical connections to Eastman Kodak, and the Dryden family who resided there, but it also was built by a principal member of Chicago's famous Prairie School architects.

An influx of residents moved to Evanston (and other nearby suburbs) during the early part of the 20th century to avoid the congestion and urban ills found in Chicago proper. The Dryden couple purchased the lot, a half city block in size, in 1911 and hired architect George W. Maher to design the house.  Though a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright and known for his Prairie School designs, he designed the house in a Georgian-Revival style per Dryden's request to model the house for which George Eastman resided in Rochester, NY. 

George, born in Ohio a couple of years after the end of the Civil War married Ellen, niece and heiress of George Eastman, in 1901. He went on to found the Hoof Pad Company, which became the Dryden Rubber Company. As is the case with most wealthy businesspersons of the era, he also served on the Board of Directors of other companies, including the Borg-Warner Corporation, the Marbon Corporation, and City National Bank and Trust. Furthermore, both served their community. For instance, George and Ellen both served on the Board of the Evanston Infant Welfare Society and Northwestern Settleman, while Ellen was active at Northwestern University and the Evanston Hospital. 

Ellen passed away in 1950, followed by George in 1959 at the age of 90. George bequeathed the property to Northwestern University, which they used until the Evanston school district acquired the house in 1960. The school district used the mansion as their headquarters for more than 30 years and sold the building in May 2002, for $2.8 million.  

Information about Ellen Dryden's Uncle, George Eastman.
American entrepreneur George Eastman (1854 – 1932), the only person represented by two stars in the Hollywood walk of fame, founded the Eastman Kodak Company, which popularized roll film and subsequently modern photography. As well, the roll film served as the foundation for the invention of motion picture film stock in 1888. 

City of Evanston Histtory. Evanston History Center. . Accessed April 25, 2018. 

Eastman Museum. . Accessed May 25, 2018. 

Horton, Phyllis. "Nomination Form: George B. Dryden House." National Register of Historic Places. July 28, 1978.

Quinn, Patrick M. "Evanston." Encyclopedia of Chicago,  Accessed April 23, 2018.

Stangenes, Sharon. "Mansion life just the ticket for some buyers." Chicago Tribune(Chicago), May 18, 2007. , The House Hunter sec.

Photo Sources

Back of the Mansion, Taken 2012: Teemu008 at Flickr -

Front of Mansion, Taken 2009: By Zol87 from Chicago, IL, USA -, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Staircase: Taken by @properties, found at

Taken 1920: By Unknown - The Western Architect, Public Domain,