The William Merchant Richardson French House
9203 S. Pleasant Avenue
1894, William Augustus Otis - architect
Classical Revival - architectural style
William French was the first director of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been credited with bringing the artist John Vanderpoel to the community. Legend has it that the name of the community- Beverly Hills came from his wife's suggestion of that name for the 91st Street Rock Island Railroad Station. Mrs. French hailed from Beverly, Massachusetts and supposedly wanted a part of her home represented here. An article in The Economist (now published under the title Realty & Building) in 1894 described development along the ridge and mentions the French House, in particular. "Blue Island Ridge is doing more in the way of real development this spring than for four or five years past. At Longwood and Beverly Hills building is extremely lively. And where five or six homes have been under way at these places at this time of year before, there are now sixteen in course of construction. William Merchant Richardson French is building the most costly house at Longwood. It will be of stone and cost $10,000."