From about 1887 to 1889, Joseph Silsbee's popularity as a fashionable residential architect seemed to soar and he became responsible for designs of structures for a myriad of lawyers, bankers and other notable local figures scattered across the country. At this time, he was at work on structures from Syracuse, New York to San Diego, California and all parts in between. Given that his primary office was in Chicago at the time, it is no surprise that the greatest number of these works were scattered across the state of Illinois.
In 1887, he was commissioned by banker and former City of Waukegan mayor, Charles R. Steele to design a substantial home, befitting his prominent social position. Sadly, it is unlikely that Steele ever saw his home completed as he died in 1888.