Paul & Caryl Klenk House

12914 Elm Street

Built in 1926

Photographs by BIHS Executive Director Kevin Brown

 

 

This house, located in Blue Island’s “Highland Square” neighborhood, was built by Paul T. Klenk, the
then-sitting Mayor of Blue Island, and his wife Caryl in 1926. The Klenks hired Chicago-based architectural firm Doerr, Linquist, and Doerr to design and build the house. This same firm also constructed an addition to Blue Island’s City Hall in 1924.

 

The exterior of the house, constructed in a Medieval Revival style, is veritably unchanged since its construction. The exterior features gray brick walls, steeply gabled slate roofs, and ornate copper gutters. A unique element of the house is the crenelation over the main entryway. The interior retains many original features in the Gothic style, including herringbone tile in the vestibule, a functioning stone fireplace, oak floors throughout, numerous built-ins, ornate hardware, and glass door knobs.

 

Paul Klenk was mayor of Blue Island between 1921 and 1929. During his time as mayor, Klenk established the city’s first zoning code, promoted quality construction, expanded the number of wards from five to seven, and changed the house numbering system to conform with addresses in Chicago.

 

Only two families have owned the house, the Klenks and the Rolls, who purchased it in the late 1940s. The
house has remained in the Roll family since this time.

 

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