Noble-Seymour-Crippen House

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There's nothing extraordinary about the history of Norwood Park: It was settled in 1833, by a farmer from Yorkshire, became a small farming community with its own rail depot and tavern, and was brought into the city in the 1890s, as Chicago was bulking up for the Columbian Exposition. But its first house, built by that same Yorkshire farmer, Mark Noble, is still standing, so the Norwood Park Historical Society has converted it into a museum. In the early 20th Century, the house belonged to Stuart Crippen, a pianist who toured on the Chautauqua circuit, a more cultured version of vaudeville. One of the upstairs bedrooms has been decorated to look the way it did when Crippen's daughter was a young woman in the 1920s. There's a Singer sewing machine, a mirror, a comb, a tin of Outdoor Girl Face Powder and even a few pages from her diary are on display. A few years ago, someone swept the grounds of the house with a metal detector, and the findings are on display in another room: bottles, chinaware, nails, a lead soldier and coins dating back to 1854. The museum also has an old wooden pipe, part of Norwood Park's water system when it was still a village, and a wheel of lumber from what was reputed to be Norwood Park's oldest tree, a 150-year-old cottonwood felled in 1988.