A Chicago Suburb Could Lose a Wright
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Aug. 13, 2008
The words Frank Lloyd Wright and subdivision may seem contradictory, but in 1915, the architect designed a group of six houses in Glencoe, Ill., and even designing a bridge for Ravine Bluffs.
Now a replica has replaced the National Register-listed bridge; several new houses have been squeezed onto the original lots; and one of the six houses is for sale as a teardown.
The William Ross House is listed for $625,000, essentially the cost of the land in the Chicago suburb where McMansions have replaced many houses. It is not a registered city landmark, but even that designation would merely delay demolition for 180 days, says Lisa DiChiera, advocacy director for Landmarks Illinios.
"It's a weak ordinance. Glencoe is teardown hell," DiChiera says.
The three-bedroom house has not been well maintained. It has suffered water damage, and previous owners added a boxy entryway. "It really needs a loving person who understands Prairie architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright and can see past all that," DiChiera says.
The owner's real-estate agent, Ila Coretti at Baird-Warner, says she has shown several people the property. "They go in there, and they're scared off. It requires a lot of work," she says. "It's heartbreaking because it's amazing. Even the garage was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright."
The Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, based in Chicago, is trying to track down a buyer for the William Ross House. "A lot of people are worried. [But] we have been able to find people to buy houses in worse condition, so if we have enough time, that might happen," says Ron Scherubel, the conservancy's executive director. "The other homes are in good shape, so it would be a shame to see this one go."
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