At a meeting of government officials, Illinois and Chicago historic preservation agencies, and community stakeholders convened by the Ridge Historical Society/BAPA Historic Buildings Committee on Aug. 31, the Forest Preserves District of Cook County agreed to extend the deadline for proposals for reuse of the historic Eugene S. Pike House to Mar. 31, 2023, enabling the committee and community more time to find a suitable new purpose for the property.
The Pike house, located on the edge of Dan Ryan Woods, is owned by the Forest Preserves District of Cook County and was for many years used as the watchman’s residence. Vacant for several years, the house is in a serious state of disrepair. A recent structural assessment provided pro bono by Klein and Hoffman and arranged through Landmarks Illinois, estimated that the minimum costs for rehabilitation has nearly tripled since the original 2017 cost estimate from FPDCC. The Historic Buildings Committee is working with officials, historic preservation agencies, and community stakeholders to strategize for ways to fund and begin work to restore the Pike house.
FPDCC crews will be working this fall to stabilize the roof and other condition issues, and RHS and BAPA will be holding a fall clean-up in the yard.
The revised Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) is available online at fpdcc.com under the “doing business” tab, and organizations, businesses, individuals, and others with an interest in historic preservation and learning more about guidelines for repurposing the Eugene S. Pike house are encouraged to review the document.
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.
Potential uses include arts based and/or education-oriented not-for-profit organizations, mixed use enterprises, concessions, B&B, and business incubators.
The Eugene S. Pike House is on the Landmarks Illinois 2022 list of Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. It was designed by noted architect Harry Hale Waterman and built for Pike in 1894. It is of historical and architectural importance to the Beverly/Morgan Park community and the City of Chicago, and is a contributing structure in the Ridge Historic District, one of the largest urban historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places.