The House

Ricker House circa 1912. Courtesy of E.M. Nicholls Collection, National Library of Australia.

Benjamin Ricker served on the committee that commissioned Walter Burley Griffin in 1911 to design a memorial fountain for Dr. Elbert Clark, a prominent Grinnell resident and civil servant who had died the previous year. As Griffin worked on the fountain, Ricker commissioned him privately to design a residence for him and his wife, Mabel, to be constructed on two lots Ricker had acquired at the intersection of Broad Street and 10th Avenue, then at the extreme north end of the city of Grinnell.

Built by local contractor Ross V. Coutts and completed in 1912, the five-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home bears many of the hallmarks of the mature Griffin style. Notable on the exterior is the brick-and-tile decoration framing the windows on all four façades, a signature of Marion Mahony Griffin. This work continued on the inside with tile murals adorning both the library and living room fireplaces.

Ricker House living room fireplace tile detail