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.