Forest Hills Acres, Out of the City, Into the Country
When the Ladd Estate Company opened this 100-acre development it was reported, “There are many persons of moderate income who have long desired to own a home of their own, a place where they can have a nice garden, flowers, fruit, and possibly raise some poultry or keep a cow or two.”
Cows had already resided in this area since Adolphus Meyer operated a dairy farm on Atwater Lane. Meyer was married to Clara, a granddaughter of Waters Carman. Initially Meyer operated Oswego’s first dairy on Third between “A” and “B” Streets in First Addition. As town home sites became more desirable, Donald Meyer, one of their sons recalled, “They came out here [Atwater Lane] because this was about the only place available. There was a large barn here. It had been a fifty-acre farm. A man by the name of Goodall bought it in approximately 1906 and he had a big barn and a house there and it was all fenced in. But he had sold it to people by the name of Atwater [in 1909] and they divided it into lots.” Henry Atwater, a real estate man, and his wife Lenora predicted that the Red Electric rail line would service this area. Atwater subdivided the land, named it “Woodmont,” and waited for fortune to come his way. The Red Electric took a different route and the real estate venture suffered. The Goodall farmhouse, barn, and original chicken coop still stand on Knaus Road. In 1928 Joseph and Minnie Murphy, proprietors of Oswego’s 1920s Murphy Auto Camp, bought the property and one of their descendants still owns it. Goodall Road and Atwater Lane are named for these early residents. Donald Meyer passed away in 1997 and the family’s seven-acre property, including the Woodmont lot originally purchased in 1921, became Woodmont Park.
Among the early homes in this area, the Manrose House at 13741 Knaus Road was designed about 1936 in the English Vernacular style by prominent local architect Richard Sundeleaf. A generation after Sundeleaf and worlds apart stylistically, is the Lawrence Shaw House designed by innovator, architect, and preservationist, John Yeon. It was built in 1950 and was sited on almost a 6-acre parcel on Goodall Road. The house, was one of the architect’s last, and possibly finest, residences. It was heralded in a 1953 issue of House Beautiful magazine. Now completely altered by a total remodel, its original design exemplified the Northwest Regional style that Yeon pioneered.