Get to Know 139 S Grove Ave, Oak Park IL

A great look inside and around the area

Victorian Queen Anne with elements of the Arts and Crafts Styles

If you were a cooper in the late 19th century and you invented a way to mass produce barrels, what would you do? You would dream of building a grand home in the vibrant Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois. Built in 1894 for John Seaman, inventor of an automated barrel making process, this 17+ room Queen Anne features unparalleled craftsmanship and stands as an example of an era when artistry and attention to detail were at the forefront in the creation of spectacular, architectural home design. 

Both locally and nationally, there are few parallels to this home’s Victorian grandeur. Voted the “Best Four Corners in Oak Park“, the corner of Pleasant Street and Grove Avenue stands as one of America’s finest examples of 1890’s Victorian Queen Anne architecture and the lifestyles of the day and today. The wrap-around veranda, spacious rooms with open concepts, and well-lit nooks provide the serenity for work from home while living life to its fullest in the richly diverse city-like setting that is the village of Oak Park, Illinois.

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Gracious living spaces, art glass windows, original built-ins, and warm hand crafted woodwork surround you and form an inviting and practical home for today’s work at home/play at home lifestyle. Much like today’s more modern open floor plan concept, the owner consigned the home so that you can easily see and talk to each other from room to room. The spaciousness was created for the whole family, providing room to live, work and relax in.

As you walk in the door you are greeted with the Great Hall that is illuminated by a prismed stained glass window. Wood trim around the doors and windows is hand crafted/carved by Master Craftsman F. Ellis with woods taken from exotic trees. A beautiful example of the Queen Anne Style with elements of the Arts and Crafts movement of the time. John Seaman commissioned noted architect H.G. Fiddelke to build a 7000+sq. ft. home that was open, warm and uniquely beautiful. The floor plan lends itself perfectly to entertaining or just spending time near the family.


A very bright home, here the sun streams through Art Glass prismed windows of the Parlor. Warm, inviting and comfortable, this home provides living spaces that allow everyone to relax or work at home in concert with their surroundings. Rooms are large and open, but give a sense of privacy and quietude. 

Adjacent to the Parlor is the sun lit living room with plenty of space to spread out, myriad options from where to Zoom a little work or e-learn. Each room has a fireplace and nooks to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

Living Room

The living areas are each trimmed in a different exotic wood and the craftsmanship is still clean and crisp and represents the finest of its time.

Passing through the living room, you enter the library trimmed in an old growth Mahagony wood. The original hand painted murals still adorn the coves.

The sun illuminates the “Lamp of Knowledge” that is cut into the stained glass of the center window.

John Seaman was a Cooper by trade, but a good one at that. He invented an automation process for barrel making and amassed a good sum of money. From New York, he wanted a place that he could work at home from with a good size family and also entertain business acquaintances with pride. 1890’s were an exciting time for Oak Park and Chicago as they rose from the Great Chicago Fire.

Ascend the grand, open staircase to the second floor, where you’ll find five bedrooms, two of them with tandems. Three of them have beautiful gas fireplaces. The third floor has an enormous 41 x 25 foot ballroom along with three more nicely sized rooms and a full bath. The third floor living space provides an element for both privacy and fun while home learning/officing. Designed originally as beautiful living quarters  for in-laws and out of town guests.

 John Seaman built the home for a busy family. Wide hallways for the children to play in and family to congregate. The first floor has an open concept, yet the spacious rooms still provide the occupants with a sense of privacy. The five bedrooms on the second floor provide the space wished for a happy life.

Master Bedroom Seen Through The Tandem Sitting Room

Our children are what we let them to be

139 S. Grove Ave. Second Floor

The five bedrooms on the second floor are large and with good closet space. The Master Bedroom has a tandem sitting/dressing room and beautiful new full bath with heated floors. Three of the bedrooms have fireplaces. One other bedroom on the second floor has a tandem room, is quite sunny, has good views and serves nicely as an office.

Master Bedroom Sitting Room
Master Bedroom Fireplace
Master Bedroom Sitting Room
Bedroom South East
Master Bedroom
South Central Bedroom
139 South Grove Ave

 Walking distance to Holmes Elementary, Brooks middle and OPRF High School. Oak Park is richly diverse in many ways and from the turn-of-the-20th century has attracted people from all around the world, because of its multi-cultural heritage and its easy access to Chicago’s beautiful neighborhoods and Downtown, wide-ranging world renown architecture, and Oak Park’s tremendously successful devotion to maintaining an ethnically, culturally, racially and economically diverse population; making Oak Park one of the most unique places in America to enjoy, live-in or raise a family.

Fyi: 139 S Grove Ave was restored/renewed exterior and mechanicals (heating, plumbing, electric) by Warren Stewart, one of Oak Park’s authorities on authentic restoration. Recent improvements : New Baths, roof and exterior paint; Coach House kitchen and ba.

Let's take a stroll through the area! is an interactive website that brought you this Get To Know 139 S Grove Ave page. I designed it for your enjoyment with the idea that you can get to know Oak Park, River Forest and the surrounding community better through the lens of it’s homes, businesses and people. Share homes with your family and friends, ask me questions about homes you see or about the neighborhood. Come tour homes with me or ask me about a market analysis for your Oak Park/River Forest home.  

My hopes are that I will show you a vibrant Oak Park/River Forest community and help you get to know where you are going….

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Oak Park is Chicago’s closest western suburb approximately 9 miles west of downtown Chicago. Transportation to Chicago is provided by 2 Metra trains, two elevated trains, and an expressway leaving you approximately 22 to 45 minutes away from beautiful downtown Chicago or the Shores of Lake Michigan. Oak Park is richly diverse in many ways and from the turn-of-the-century has attracted people from all around the world because of its proximity to Chicago, wide-ranging architecture, and its devotion to maintaining an ethnically, culturally, racially and economically diverse population. Making Oak Park one of the most unique places in America to enjoy, live-in, and raise a family.

An 1895 local publication described the home as an eclectic blend of colonial style veranda, while having a distinctly “Flemish style” roof line with its high dormers and art glass windows.

Great Hall

There were few homes on the land at the time that John Seaman bought the empty prairie that is now the 100 block of south Grove Avenue. He commissioned architect H. W. Fiddelke to build several homes along the 100 and 200 blocks of Grove Avenue.

He built 139 S. Grove for his own family.

Lamp of Knowledge

139 S. Grove Avenue has won multiple awards including Oak Park’s Cavalcade of Pride award. 

From the 1870’s, Oak Park experienced an exuberance that manifested itself into a transformative and integral part of the United States, and the evolution of the amalgamation of the world’s population. Oak Park was born in a unique time and drew people from all over Chicago. The people from Chicago had been drawn from all over the world for the same reasons. It was a place that the common man and woman could arrive at and feel free and unencumbered from what was in many places the norms of society. 

Serving Hutch in white Oak, carved inset in mahagony

At the corner of Grove and Pleasant Street, the orderly integration of this Oak Park location and the diverse buildings and styles on the nearby blocks coalesce into a fairly harmonious suburban landscape plan. It is one of the strongest points that I can think of to living in Oak Park/River Forest. There is striking harmony between the building types, the order and relation of building and homes to each other, and to the framework of this streetscape of this community. It fosters a happy feeling amongst it’s residences.

N.W. Corner of Pleasant Street and Grove Avenue Built 1894

139 S. Grove was built in 1894 and, along with the surrounding area, is what most people are thinking when turn of the century home-life comes to mind. The handicraft work of the Victorian builders, porch spindles, fishscale shingles, and individually crafted homes. Many of these influences coalesced most dramatically in the new works of the entrepreneurs of the time. Tradesman and architects  emerged and life long traditions began to manifest their way into the architecture of society. The modern concept of the School of Architects of Design had now begun; architects, whose works are evident throughout Oak Park and the world continue to influence.

139 S. Grove South from Coach House
139 S. Grove Coach House over 6 Car Garage
Coach House Weather Vane

From this location in Oak Park, turning a corner leads one from the quiet, neighborly 18th century homes to a corridor of bustling, high-density apartments and the turn-of-the-century Oak Park, Marion Street business district. 

The alternating character, and balance, of apartment or business corridors and suburban streets was highly unusual for the time, and is continuously evolving to a new way of living – From the early owners of these homes came the planning and this has proven highly successful, and quite successfully achieved. 

Pleasant St. & Grove Ave. was voted the best four corners in Oak Park, IL.

S. E. Corner of Pleasant Street and Grove Avenue 1897
N. E. Corner of Pleasant Street and Grove Avenue 1883
W. W. Corner of Pleasant Street and Grove Avenue 1890
213 S. Grove Ave., Oak Park, IL
215 S. Kenilworth Ave 1883
New Homes For Sale In River Forest IL

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