1422 Emerson Avenue North: Dorothy Lundstrum House

After she moved from "Twin Pillars" (1012-1014 17th Avenue), which you saw earlier on this tour, Dorothy Lundstrum owned and rented out this home while she lived next door at 1416 Emerson. Dorothy, who became a North Side legend, attended Ascension School here in the neighborhood. She began teaching dance in 1926 at the age of 13, as an assistant to Eleanor Casey, Ascension Club's dance teacher. Two years later, she opened her own studio with her older sister Marion, who played piano for the lessons. Later, their sister Lorraine joined them and taught voice for five years.

Although she received a full scholarship, Dorothy opted to forego college in order to stay home and run The Lundstrum School of Dance, Charm, and Fashion with Marion. The Lundstrum School operated at the Ascension Club for 62 years.

Dorothy became an icon of the Old Highland neighborhood. A dancer all her life, she taught until she passed away at age 85. During the Ascension Club’s heyday, she choreographed dance routines, taught etiquette, and influenced generations of girls (and probably a few boys) with her work. Her mother sewed the costumes for Dorothy's shows into her 90s, while Dorothy’s father built the scenery. Over the years, Dorothy taught Arlene Dahl, Liberace, the Andrews Sisters, Laurie Coleman, and many others less well-known. For over 70 years, she mentored thousands of students, teaching positive behavior, self-worth, and good citizenship, as well as dance and movement. Many Old Highland residents recall taking lessons from Dorothy, and the impact she had on generations of students.

Dorothy passed away in 1998, and the dance center moved from Ascension Club in 2004. The Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts is still a fixture on the North Side, now located three blocks away at 1617 North 2nd Street. The state-of-the-art facility opened in 2006, and is operated by the Casserly sisters--former students of Dorothy's who carry on the tradition of sisters providing professional expertise in music, voice, dance, and acting for the stage and camera to the North Side.

This one-and-a-half-story vernacular house has the feel of a bungalow, but includes Japanese influences which are very unusual for this neighborhood. It has a low-pitched, hipped roof with wide overhangs and unboxed, flared eaves. Note the unusual decorative brackets under the eaves, and exposed rafters that follow the flare of the roof.

The original, full-façade porch emphasizes horizontal lines. Its lower wall section has the same framing and siding as the rest of the house, Doric columns supporting the hipped roof, and the original screen panels.

The exterior siding was originally narrow in size and made of wood.