11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Kenilworth, Illinois

Year Listed: 2006
Location: Illinois
Threat: Development

Significance

The idea of a model residential community was on the mind of Kenilworth founder Joseph Sears in 1889 when he made his first purchase of a 224-acre wooded site 15 miles north of Chicago. Kenilworth came into being in the rush of excitement and planning for Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, where the "City Beautiful" concept was unveiled. Among the noted architects that Sears attracted to his project were Franklin P. Burnham, who was one of Kenilworth's first residents and a director of the Kenilworth Company, which was formed to raise capital for the development. Another key player was architect George W. Maher, one of the most prolific Prairie School architects, who designed more than 40 houses in the Village and was instrumental in continuing the quality and character of the original village as Kenilworth grew to its current boundaries by the end of the 1920s, and the building of homes was essentially complete by the 1940s. Most of the 830 homes in the community are more than 80 years old, with many over 100 years old.