Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frederick Rueckheim Residence

With three different offices, Silsbee could do work in a large geographic area and for a great array of clientele.  Given that he worked at a time of great American prosperity and industrial growth, many of his projects seem to have more value for their historical context then for their design merits.

As a sign that his small candy and popcorn business was becoming a success, entrepreneur and inventor Frederick Fueckheim commissioned Silsbee to design him a home in 1886.  Several years later, Rueckheim and his brother, Louis, introduced Cracker Jacks at Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition.

Rueckheim's home still stands and though it is very modest, it is evident that it is a shadow of its former self.  The outline of a large cornice that was removed can be seen just below the roof.  The shingle cladding in the gables and the cladding of the prominent front bay are both modern and likely lacking the detail that the original home would have had.  Finally, the entry and porch have been altered.  Regardless of its current condition, it stands as a reminder of an inventor that had a huge impact on American food and marketing.   

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