Friday, March 28, 2014

McPier Sues to Move Prairie Ave. Mansion Up the Street

Rees House at 2110 S. Prairie
(via CRED)
This is a story from a couple of weeks ago, but it's still worth posting about (via
The city convention authority has gone to court to seize the site of a landmarked Prairie Avenue mansion where it wants to build a new basketball arena for DePaul University. 
The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, or McPier, wants to move the Harriet F. Rees House, a 126-year-old limestone edifice, from 2110 S. Prairie Ave. to a vacant parcel one block north, according to a lawsuit the authority filed March 14. McPier filed the condemnation suit because it has been unable to reach an agreement to acquire the two properties, the complaint says.

While McPier naysayers will probably cry foul, in our opinion this isn't that bad.  The Rees House is a beauty, but frankly is on a lonely island since many of the other mansions are long gone.  Moving it up a block will bring it closer to some of the remaining mansions that still exist on Prairie Ave.

The article also provides some history on the Rees House:
Built in 1888, the Rees House was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and named a Chicago landmark in 2012, according to the complaint. The mansion is one of seven historic homes still standing on Prairie Avenue between 18th Street and Cermak Road, according to a 2012 report about the home prepared for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.  
“Designed by nationally renowned architects Cobb & Frost, it is an excellent and remarkably intact example of the Romanesque Revival style as expressed in the urban townhouse type,” the report said. “The ornate limestone exterior and the interior detailed in rich woods and filled with fireplaces and other built-in features, is virtually unchanged from its original historic appearance.”  
The home is named for Harriet F. Rees, widow of real estate pioneer and land surveyor, James H. Rees, who lived there until her death in 1892, the report said. The home, which was used as a restaurant for a while starting 1970, was purchased by the Martorina family in 2001.

(Hat tip:  AR!)

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