Landmark Evanston Home Gets a Role in TV Show

March 17, 2011

Chicago housed the Playboy Mansion for years, and over the next two days, one piece of metro Chicago real estate will pretend to be just that.

Film crews from Twentieth Century Fox TV will be inside the Charles Gates Dawes House in Evanston over the next two days filming scenes for an NBC television series about 1960s Playboy clubs.

The Great Hall of the Dawes House in Evanston.

The interior of the landmark house has been cast in the role of the Chicago Playboy Mansion, which was home to Hugh Hefner and his bunnies from 1959 through the mid 1970s until he took his group west to Los Angeles.

The Dawes House, at 225 Greenwood Street, is a French Chateaux-style mansion that was built in 1894 for about $80,000 on two acres along the lakefront.

In 1909, it was purchased for a reported $75,000 by Charles Gates Dawes, the Vice President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.

In 1942, the Dawes gave the home to Northwestern, which accepted the Evanston History Center as a tenant in 1960.

The three-and-a-half story home was built with 25 rooms, including six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 12 fireplaces (one fireplace didn’t survive). There is a library, a butler’s pantry, a billiard room and a ballroom with a stage and dressing room.

An adjacent coach house originally included four horse stalls, two cow stalls and servant’s quarters. That upstairs is now rented as an apartment, the downstairs is used as storage.

The mansion is an Evanston Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Ironically, neither designation protects the interior, which could be at risk if the building is used for non-museum purposes.

The library

I would call a movie shoot a non-museum purpose.

This isn’t the first movie appearance for the Dawes House. Its exterior was featured in the 2002 film “Road to Perdition” starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.

Much of the filming for the hour-long NBC drama, called “Playboy,” will take place in the library of the Evanston mansion.

The Dawes House, which will be compensated for its time, will then become the Chicago Playboy Mansion in the year 1963.

Can’t wait to see the house on TV.

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