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Frederick & Bessie Bills House, 301 S. Prospect St.

c. 1912, Craftsman style

This house was constructed in 1912 by Leonard Eaton, Crescent City’s most prominent architect and builder during the historic period, for Frederick and Bessie Bills. It is a classic example of the Craftsman style bungalow with its low-pitched gable roof, gable roof entrance porch, open eaves, triangular brackets, and varied exterior wall fabrics. Frederick Bills was born in England in the 1850s. He came to the United States as a young man and settled first in Chicago where he became a house painter. He later moved to Davenport, Iowa and established a successful rose growing business. Bills first visited Crescent City while on a tour of Florida in 1912. Impressed with the beauty of Lake Crescent he decided to purchase a lot and construct this residence. While living at the house, Bills served as a city alderman from 1913-1914 and was a very active member of the local Mason Lodge. After the death of his first wife, Bessie, Bills married Florence Johnson, a winter resident of Crescent City from Illinois. The couple sold the house on Prospect Street to Kirk M. White and moved to Pasadena, California in 1924. The house remained in the White family until 1985 when John and Grace Thomas, both teachers, purchased the property. They sold it in 2016. The high architectural detail and the important historical associations that the house possesses make it eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.


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