“Just in time for Halloween, a house made out of the remains of an old tombstone factory is going up for sale today.
“Mike Quinlan is asking just under $4 million for the house, a five-bedroom, roughly 7,500-square-foot contemporary he built inside the limestone walls of Anderson Monument Company beginning in 2017.
“The exterior limestone walls are from the early 1900s and appear to have been remodeled later in an art nouveau look, but Anderson — later called Anderson-Eifel Monument Company — occupied the Ravenswood Avenue site from the late 1850s until the late 20th century, according to old Chicago Tribune articles. The name of the company is still there, carved in the limestone facade.
“It’s not clear when Anderson-Eifel closed, but it was sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. Newspaper ads were still appearing for the tombstone company in 1973, but by 1986, its building on the corner of Ravenswood Avenue and Rosehill Drive was in another use, according to the Cook County clerk’s records. For some years, the building was operated as a cooperative artists’ studio.
“In 2016, Quinlan bought it through a land trust, paying $790,000, according to the clerk. The exterior walls, he says, ‘were beautiful and of course I wanted to keep them,’ but the interior was in poor condition. He tapped Foster Dale Architects to design a new home within the old walls that has an internal courtyard, a rooftop deck and several sustainable features, including solar photovoltaic panels on the roof and geothermal climate control systems, which rely on stable temperatures below ground to cool water for the systems in the summer and warm it in the winter, reducing the reliance on conventional fuels.
“Keeping the facade meant that visitors enter the house beneath an old lunette window whose leaded glass pattern looks, appropriately, like a cobweb. The architects reused some elements of the old building in the new one, including light fixtures and the safe, and paid homage to it with transoms above some doors and windows, like the ones it had.
“Quinlan said he’s selling because after divorcing his husband, he found the house too large to live in alone. The house, he said, ‘is on a big corner lot in a quiet neighborhood.’ Having a vast cemetery filled with handsome old monuments and tall trees across the street adds to the calm, he said, but ‘if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse over there, I’m in trouble.’ (Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 10/27/23)