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Dickey, Duane E. (1912-2003) | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Name: Dickey, Duane E. (1912-2003)

Historical Note:

Duane E. Dickey was a architect who designed most of his residences for Community Builders in the Chicago North Shore area, from ca. 1950 to the mid 1980s.  In Lake Forest he designed scores of homes on one-acre lots from the 1960s for the Villa Turicum subdivision of the early 1900s Harold and Edith Rockefeller McCormick estate by that name, two hundred acres designed by Charles A. Platt  (house, bldgs., and formal hardscape features), apparently Rose S. Nichols (gardens), and Warren Manning (naturalistic woods and landscape).  By the 1970s he was designing for the Robert Kendler led firm the Ponds subdivision, also represented in these drawings, located west of the Skokie River and east of Route 41. 

Dickey was trained at the University of Minnesota architecture school, Class of 1933, where Frank Lloyd Wright gave a series of visiting lectures.  After relatively unrelated work in the later 1930s, he was employed during World War II doing architectural drafting for the Manhattan Project, Tennessee. After the war he served as a draftsman for L. Morgan Yost, architect, while also attending night classes.  After two years he qualified for an Illinois professional architect's license, granting him the privilege of signing off on plans.  

By ca. 1950 he was hired by Robert Kendler, Sr., of Community Builders, and valued by him also for his ability to negotiate between couples' divergent wishes for their homes.  His drawings as found here represent historicist (Tudor, French, etc.) versions of mid-century housing norms, on a bit larger scale and incorporating some of the open plan ideas from Wright's examples and teaching years before at Minnesota. 

Dickey was born on February 4, 1912 in Wapello County, Iowa and graduated from Hedrick High School in 1929, in a class of twenty.  His grandfather had homesteaded there, where Dickey's father had followed also as a farmer. 

In the Chicago area he and his second spouse, Barbara Held Dickey lived in Wilmette and were members of the Michigan Shore Club.  the couple had two children, Mary Dickey (Ronald) Brown and Steven Kent Dickey.  He died nearby in Evanston on August 27, 2003. 


"Duane E. Dickey [obituary]," Winnetka Talk (September 4, 2003), 154.

White, Ronald.  "Duane E. Dickey...Architect," typescript copy of a text in progress based on interviews with the subject, second draft, January 2002, 13 pp.  Includes a listing of Dickey's drawings.

Note Author: Arthur H. Miller, Archivist, Lake Forest College library Special Coll., amiller@lakeforest.edu

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