The sale of the Wright-designed Booth Cottage in Glencoe to new owners for the first time in 60 years closed on May 9. The sale price was reported as $555,000.
The Conservancy has reached out directly to the new owners, and we are hoping for a beneficial conversation with them about the importance of preserving the Booth Cottage. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune on May 14:
“Public records do not yet identify the buyers. However, the agent who represented the buyers, Honore Frumentino of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff, told Elite Street that she could not comment on their identity or plans for the cottage. Asked if the buyers plan to demolish the cottage, Frumentino stated only that ‘I don’t think they know yet. It’s a challenge because of the way (the cottage is) placed on the property.'”
Land costs in the vicinity are such that the lot’s use for a relatively small house like the cottage have appeared to be extremely unlikely. Because of our concern that the cottage was at risk of being demolished for a new house, the Conservancy nominated it to Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list earlier this month.
The Conservancy has worked with the seller since the cottage went on the market in fall 2017 to raise awareness of the significance of the building and to find a preservation-minded buyer. In our efforts to explore options for the cottage, we have also been in regular contact with the Village of Glencoe and its Historic Preservation Commission.
As a part of our exploration of options, the Conservancy has done a number of in-house studies on how to keep and restore the Wright building on its lot while allowing for the construction of a modern house on the property (see images below). In these scenarios the cottage could be used as a guest house or in-law residence.
Owned by the same family for the last 60 years, the cottage was built in 1913 as temporary housing for the Booth family while their permanent home, also currently on the market, was built nearby. The structure was moved from its original location shortly after the Booths moved into their permanent house and has had a number of additions. It is an early example of Wright’s efforts to develop a low-cost house, and a number of elements similar to Wright’s Usonian houses can be found in it.
Posted on May 16, 2019