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Jarvis Hunt, 1s751 Hawthorne Lane, Wheaton, IL 'Ferris Bueller' house, 3 Frank Lloyd Wright homes on new list of endangered Illinois landmarks
18 homes surrounding the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton also in peril

By Bob Goldsborough, Special to the Tribune, September 17, 2009

A Highland Park home and pavilion made famous in the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," three Frank Lloyd Wright-designed houses and a historic district of homes in Wheaton that were designed by architect Jarvis Hunt and considered one of the nation's first golf club communities were named on Wednesday as some of the Chicago area's most endangered places by the non-profit Landmarks Illinois preservation group.

The buildings are part of Landmarks Illinois' eighth annual list of what it deems significant historical buildings or collections of buildings that are in danger of demolition or substantial alteration. Although no funding comes with the designation, Landmarks Illinois' annual list is designed to educate the public and spur action.

Jarvis Hunt, 1s751 Hawthorne Lane, Wheaton, IL
Jarvis Hunt, 25w431 Plamondon Road
Jarvis Hunt, 25w431 Plamondon Road, Wheaton, IL

Other structures on the list include the South Side Masonic Temple in Chicago, a streetscape of commercial buildings owned by Children's Memorial Hospital at Lincoln and Fullerton Avenues on the North Side, the former Libertyville Township High School in Libertyville, the 1875 Cornelius Field House in Highland Park, the Church of the Resurrection in West Chicago and Alden Road, a historic two-lane road in western McHenry County. The Wright-designed houses are the J.J. Walser house in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, the William F. Ross house in Glencoe and the William J. VanderKloot bungalow in Lake Bluff.

Built from 1952 until 1954 and designed by architect A. James Speyer, the Highland Park home and pavilion that appeared in the 1986 movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is for sale for $2.3 million. It is at risk of being torn down, Landmarks Illinois officials say, because several inquiries have been made regarding the demolition of the house and a possible lot split.

Referred to in early newspaper articles as "the Colony," the Wheaton district encompasses 18 houses on all sides of the Chicago Golf Club, which is the nation's oldest 18-hole golf club. Built between 1896 and 1916, the homes largely were constructed as summer residences for Chicago businessmen, who deliberately located the club near the planned right of way of the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago electrical railroad, which opened in 1902 and erected a small brick depot across Warrenville Road from the club in 1910.

The early Colony inhabitants were motivated by a desire to be superior to their East Coast counterparts, said Chip Krueger, a Wheaton Center for History board member who has studied the homes extensively. They attempted to make the Chicago Golf Club's course the finest one in the country and wanted the houses to be at least among the nicest ones in the Midwest, if not the nation, he said.

"The Wheaton Colony is a significant and very interesting part of Chicago and Wheaton history that has been largely forgotten," Krueger said. "The Colony really stemmed from the ideas and concepts that came out of the Columbian Exposition in 1893 and was the implementation of many of those ideas."

Hunt (1863-1941) first moved to Chicago in the early 1890s to design his native Vermont's state building at the Columbian Exposition. He constructed his own summer residence on land just east of Chicago Golf in 1898 and sold it in 1934. The house was razed in 1984.

Later converted to year-round residences, the Colony houses in Wheaton are on Golf Lane, Hawthorne Lane, Plamondon Road, Arbor Avenue and Roosevelt Road.

"While there are common themes in the architecture, there's a lot of diversity in the architectural styles as well, and that's typical for Jarvis Hunt," Krueger said.

Most of the Colony's remaining homes are well maintained and in good condition, Krueger said. But at least four currently are on the market and occupy large tracts that developers could seek to subdivide. One home, a dilapidated gatehouse on 2.81 acres on Plamondon Road that was built in 1897, currently is for sale for $1.55 million and is being marketed as a teardown.

Ten of the Hunt-designed houses lie inside Wheaton's corporate limits, while eight are in unincorporated Wheaton.

In the past, Landmarks Illinois has urged the DuPage County Board to create a countywide historic preservation ordinance. Wheaton's existing historical ordinance is purely honorific and does not actually protect historic structures.

Jason Gerwig, a spokesman for DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, said Schillerstrom has instructed county staff to review the issue of a preservation ordinance.

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune

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