Pike House is One of Landmarks Illinois Most Endangered Historic Places  

 

Landmarks Illinois announced the in April that the Eugene S. Pike House in North Beverly is one of five locations on its 2022  list of the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.  

The late 19th-century home once used as a Watchman’s Residence for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County sits at the southern edge of the Dan Ryan Woods and is part of the National Register-listed Ridge Historic District. It is vacant and deteriorating and needs an outside user and investor.  

BAPA and the Ridge Historical Society successfully nominated the Pike House for inclusion on the Most Endangered list as part of their effort to save the house, which is vulnerable to demolition unless a serious investor commits to rehabilitation and reuse of the historic building. Persons interested in learning more can contact Grace Kuikman at BAPA, gkuikman@bapa.org. The Forest Preserves District of Cook County is issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), with a proposed summer deadline.  

This year’s Most Endangered list is a targeted call to action for historic and culturally significant sites in Cook, Will and Winnebago Counties that face a serious risk of demolition and/or are suffering significant neglect due to lack of maintenance or insufficient funding for repair.   

“The 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois are prominent examples of how a lack of funding, planning, creative vision and political will to invest in our historic sites has a detrimental effect on our communities,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “These endangered sites all have historic, cultural and economic value, and we want their preservation to serve as catalysts for hope and positive change. Demolishing or improperly redeveloping them would rob current and future generations of the chance to experience them and learn about their unique stories.” 

In addition to the Eugene S. Pile House, sites included on the 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois are Century & Consumers Buildings, early 20th-century commercial buildings at 202-220 S. State St., which sit within the National Register-listed Loop Retail Historic District, and face demolition by the federal government; Will County Courthouse, Joliet, built in 1969 the Brutalist building is at risk of demolition due to Will County’s current lack of interest to explore reuse opportunities for the architecturally significant but vacant structure; Elks Lodge No. 64, Rockford, a former community meeting space built in 1912, the architecturally significant but long-vacant structure faces demolition by neglect; and Gillson Park, a 60-acre, Prairie-style public park sitting along Lake Michigan that features naturalist landscapes where the Wilmette Park District is considering altering the passive design and removing greenery to add roads and parking. 

The annual Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois is Landmarks Illinois’ largest and longest-running advocacy program, beginning in 1995. The annual list aims to boost advocacy efforts and build support for each property’s eventual preservation.  

 

Landmarks Illinois works with local advocates associated with each property to understand the historic/cultural significance of the sites and the preservation challenges it faces. Once a property is included on the Most Endangered list, Landmarks Illinois remains committed to its preservation efforts, continuing communication and relationships with local advocates and elected officials to provide resources (including small grants) and connections where possible.  

Learn more about our Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois and see previous Most Endangered lists landmarks.org.   

BAPA and RHS are engaging other community organizations and officials to support saving the Pike House with efforts that include helping to identify and assist potential investors who can work within Forest Preserve District parameters and find a reuse for the building that benefits the community and falls within the FPDCC mission.  

The Pike House has been vacant since 2015, and fallen into a state of disrepair. BAPA and RHS are working with agencies and advocates to get the building stabilized and find a plan to secure the building’s future.  

The Eugene S. Pike House is of historical and architectural importance to the Beverly/Morgan Park community and the City of Chicago. It is 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.  

Founded in 1972, Ridge Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the history and architecture of the Ridge communities that include Beverly/Morgan Park.  Founded in 1947, Beverly Area Planning Association is a civic organization that serves the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood with programs that enhance the value, lifestyle, and historical distinction of the community.        

Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based historic preservation nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. They inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships.  

 

 

 

 

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