Next Steps to Save the Pike House 

 

Through the RHS/BAPA Historic Buildings Committee (HBC), Ridge Historical Society and Beverly Area Planning Association are working to save the historic Eugene S. Pike House, located on 91st Street in the Dan Ryan Woods, and to find a suitable and sustainable reuse of the house. 

Last April, the HBC successfully nominated the Pike House for inclusion as one of only five buildings statewide on the Landmarks Illinois list of the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. This achievement is part of BAPA’s and RHS’s effort to save the house, which is vulnerable to demolition unless a serious investor commits to rehabilitation and reuse of the historic building. 

To that purpose, the Committee, with the assistance of Landmarks Illinois, created the Eugene S. Pike House Foundation and received 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status. The Foundation, which is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of representatives from BAPA, RHS and the community, will enable the new organization to engage community members and elected officials in efforts to work with the Forest Preserves District of Cook County (owner of the Pike house) to stabilize the house, identify and secure a suitable reuse, and strategize ways to fund restoration. 

The Eugene S. Pike House Foundation is currently working with a local not-for-profit organization that is interested in activating programming at the Pike House if the house – left empty and deteriorating for several years – can be stabilized and prepared for reuse. The new Pike House Foundation is submitting a proposal to the Forest Preserves District of Cook County that outlines the intention to raise awareness, funds, and assistance needed to underwrite essential repairs and updates for the Pike House.  

BAPA and RHS are engaging continued community support for saving the Pike House with efforts that include helping to identify and assist potential investors to get the building stabilized and find a plan to secure the building’s future that benefits the community and falls within the FPDCC mission.  

The Eugene S. Pike House a contributing structure in the Ridge Historic District, one of the largest urban historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

The Tudor Revival style house was designed by noted architect Harry Hale Waterman and built for Pike in 1894. Waterman had worked in Joseph Lyman Silsbee’s office with preeminent prairie school architects Frank Lloyd Wright and George Maher.  

Eugene S. Pike, for whom the house was built, was a prominent Chicago real estate developer and financier, as well as a leader in rebuilding the city following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  

Originally part of Pike’s private estate at the edge of the woods, the house and 32-acre grounds were purchased by the FPDCC in 1921 and the building was used as a superintendent’s office and later the Watchman’s Residence.  

The Foundation welcomes volunteer assistance from area people who represent fields such as tax law, construction and restoration trades, real estate, not for profit organization, and historic preservation, as well as interested members of the community.  

Persons and community groups interested in learning more and getting involved can contact Debra Nemeth, Ridge Historical Society, dnemeth.rhs@gmail.com or Grace Kuikman, Beverly Area Planning Association, gkuikman@bapa.org.  

Our new foundation is committed to helping interested persons or groups throughout the RFEI process, for which the Forest Preserves District has extended the date for submitting RFEIs to March 31, 2023. Please see savethepikehouse.org for details.  

 

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