The Fight for the Dawes House

September 4, 2008

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While McCain's vice presidential pick has been generating controversy, the legacy of a former vice president has caused something of a stir recently in Evanston. General Charles Gates Dawes served as vice president under Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. When he died, he left his lakeside mansion to Northwestern University, with the understanding that the Evanston Historical Society would use it as a museum. The Historical Society has since become the Evanston History Center and last year university officials said it was time for them to buy the Dawes house, spend $4 million on repairs, or get out.

An article in the most recent issue of North Shore magazine details the battle that ensued. Robert Loerzel wrote the piece “General Dawes' War.” He told Eight Forty-Eight's Alison Cuddy that General Dawes may not at first glance seem historically worthy of such a fight.