The Charles Gates Dawes House is the lakefront mansion of Charles Gates Dawes, whose plan to alleviate the crushing burden of war reparations Germany was required to pay because of its aggression during World War I earned him the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize. Dawes was U.S. Vice President under Calvin Coolidge. The site is significant more because of Dawes' ownership than for its architectural distinction.
The house was built in 1894 by Robert Sheppard , treasurer and business manager of Northwestern University, and designed by H. Edwards Ficken (1844-1929) of New York.
Ficken was born in London and educated in Europe. He came to the United States in 1869 and began his career as an architectural renderer, and was the partner of Boston architect Charles G. Gambrill at the time of the latter's suicide in September of 1880. (Gambrill had, the previous year, ended a twelve year partnership with Henry Hobson Richardson.)
Ficken's career included several distinguished commissions, including ones for the New York Athletic Club and Yale University and he was a supervising architect and engineer for Woodlawn Cemetery on Long Island. Ficken is perhaps best know, however, as the architect for Pepperidge Hall (1896) in Oakdale, New York.