(From left) Lorraine Shoto as Dr. Isabella Garnett Butler, Nancy Pollack as Mary Chaplin Glenn, Kathy Metzger as Frances Willard, Kate O'Connor as Florence Walrath and Carolyn McConnell as Carol Blymyer Dawes.  Photo by Erica at Erica Pospeshil Photography

Five historic Evanston women stopped by the Stone Terrace, the bed-and-breakfast at 1622 Forest Place, for tea and crumpets on April 22.  

The “Tour and Tea” event, hosted by innkeepers Tom and Sue Zipprich, was open to the public for a ticket price of $40 per person.

Guests were treated to an hour-long presentation in which five actors in full costume portrayed the ladies of Evanston:

Frances Willard (1839-1898) – founder of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Movement; Carol Blymyer Dawes (1866 -1957) – co-founder of the Illinois Children’s Home and Aid Society and wife of U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes; Dr. Isabella Garnett Butler (1872-1948) – one of the first African American physicians in the country and founder of the Evanston Sanitarium and Training School;

Mary Chaplin Glenn (1892-1972) – one of the first women in uniform to serve her country as an ambulance driver in World War I; and

Florence Walrath (1877-1958) – founder of The Cradle adoption agency in 1923.

After the presentation, guests were invited to tour the historic home, including the five suites, each of which is named after one of the five distinguished women. Tea and the Inn’s Signature Scones made by Mr. Zipprich, a trained chef, were served in the home’s formal dining room.

“We wanted to bring these women to life,” Ms. Zipprich said. “We have a plaque in each of the rooms representing the ladies, but having them right here in our living room telling us their stories was incredibly informative and inspiring.”

The Stone Terrace, originally built as a Queen Anne Victorian mansion in 1883 before being remodeled in the Tudor Revival style in 1910, was an idyllic setting for the five prominent women to make an appearance.  

The home was decaying when Jennifer Pritzker and her associates purchased the structure in 2012 with the intentions of transforming it into the bed-and-breakfast. The building underwent a full restoration with extra effort made to reuse original elements of the 19th-century building, including the ceiling moldings, hardwood floors and fireplace mantles.

“Thanks to the vision of Jennifer Pritzker and the hospitality of Sue and Tom Zipprich, this historic Evanston mansion has come back to life, and today we were given the opportunity to bring some remarkable Evanston women back, too,” said Kate O’Connor, who spent the afternoon portraying Florence Walrath.

Moira Caserio, who lived in Evanston as a child and graduated from Northwestern University, brought her two young daughters to the event.  

“I’m always looking for opportunities to expose my daughters to women’s history,” Ms. Caserio said. “These women were pioneers, and they refused to allow the prejudices of the times to keep them from doing what they believed needed to get done.”

Kathy Metzger, who played the role of Frances Willard, noted the similarities between these women and the many people who continue to fight for social justice today.

“When we are involved in a desire to effect change in the world, it can feel like a dark place,” she said. “But keep in mind these wise words from Frances Willard: ‘This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.’”

The Zippriches said they intend to host future Tour and Tea events and are hopeful that the five “Ladies of Stone Terrace” will return.

Anne Bodine

Anne Bodine, Community News Editor, has been a part of The Evanston RoundTable since 2008 as a reporter covering businesses and institutions; arts and entertainment; and health and wellness. More recently,...