WIN: After 75 Years, Prairie Avenue Mansions to Return to Private Homes

William W. Kimball House, 1892, Solon S. Beman, 1801 S. Prairie Ave. Photo credit: Positive Images
Coleman-Ames House, 1886, 1811 S. Prairie, Henry Ives Cobb and Charles S. Frost. Photo credit: Positive Images

“The U.S. Soccer Federation on Aug. 11 sold two adjoining vintage Near South Side mansions that it long had used as its headquarters for a combined total of $3.9 million — and the new owners plan to return the mansions to residential use and occupy them.

“The two mansions, at 1801 S. Prairie Avenue and 1811 S. Prairie, both date to the late 19th century and were part of the South Prairie Avenue ‘millionaire’s row, which was the most exclusive and fashionable neighborhood in Chicago in the late 1800s and early 1900s. However, for more than 75 years, the mansions were used as office space.

“The soccer federation had used the two mansions since moving its headquarters from Colorado Springs to Chicago in 1991. Last year, the group decided to move its headquarters offices from the two mansions to the downtown high-rise office building at 303 E. Wacker Drive.

“Mariam Moeinzadeh of Compass Realty’s Lincoln Park office told Elite Street that the buyer’s intention is to return the property back to its original single-family residential use and restoring the old charm of the mansions.

“The mansions are anything but small. Built between 1890 and 1892 for piano manufacturing magnate William W. Kimball at a reported cost of $1 million and designed by Pullman architect Solon S. Berman, the French Chateauesque-style, 14,734-square-foot house at 1801 S. Prairie, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, stands three stories tall and has a Bedford limestone exterior, a slate mansard roof, a variety of steeply sloping roof shapes, dormer windows and tall slender chimneys. Modeled after the 12th-century Chateau de Josselin in Brittany, France, the mansion’s interior features carved woodwork, onyx-adorned walls, a black onyx fireplace and leaded glass windows.

“Meanwhile, the three-story, 12,648-square-foot Romanesque Revival-style sandstone mansion at 1811 S. Prairie was designed by noted architects Henry Ives Cobb and Charles S. Frost and has carved woodwork, cast plaster, leaded glass windows and a billiard room with built-in cue holders. The two mansions are connected on two levels through an adjoining coach house.

“‘Even though it will take a ton of work to be able to bring the standards of living in it, it still has a lot of original woodwork intact and is in very good condition because of how it was well maintained over the years, listing agent Melanie Giglio of Compass told Elite Street. When we had showings, every person who walked through there said they were very impressed’

“I hope and I believe he’s going to be keeping most of the original aspects of the homes,’ Giglio said. He’s got a big project on his hands, and he’s super-excited to get going on it and excited about a lot of the changes he’s going to do to turn it back into residential.” (Goldsborough, Chicago Tribune, 8/2/23)

Read the full story at the Chicago Tribune


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