A historic mansion on Glencoe’s blufftop whose asking price was cut down by over $3 million is itself now getting ready to be taken down—and fans of architectural salvage will get a chance to haul home pieces of it this weekend.
Now containing 18 rooms in its 9,000 square feet, the house started out in 1896 as a smaller farmhouse and was later owned by a Chicago Tribune executive, William H. Field, who in 1919 moved to New York to help run that city’s Daily News. Field sold the house for $40,000 to Bruce MacLeish, an executive (and future chairman) at Carson Pirie Scott. The house remained in his family until the mid-1980s. In 2003, Ken and Katherine Weber paid $3.825 million for it and launched a meticulous renovation that included updating all the mechanical systems, the kitchen, and the bathrooms, while also restoring numerous vintage craft details.
I showcased a lot of those details—as well as the funicular (or cable car) the Webers installed down the 60-foot bluff—in this 2010 video tour, when the house was on the market at $7.5 million, reduced from a 2009 asking price of $8.999 million. The house finally sold in March of this year, for $4.58 million, about half the original asking price.
In June, representatives of the new owners, the Glencoe residents David and Susan Sherman, told the village’s historic preservation commission that they planned to demolish the house and build a new one. Although an application for a demolition permit was first activated in April, a representative of the village’s building department told me Tuesday that no plans had yet been filed, so no demolition or building permit has been issued.
Nevertheless, in preparation for the eventual demolition, on Saturday the house will be the site of a Murco auction, where DIYers can buy and take home just about any piece of the property, from the chandeliers to the tile to the towel racks. Many examples are listed, along with details on how to participate in the auction, on Murco’s website.
While salvage fans may be drawn to the auction by the paneling and carved moldings, there are relatively new items as well. “The kitchen has probably $60,000 worth of appliances that the last owners put in,” says Murco’s Jodi Murphy, whom I dubbed a “homewrecker” back in 1994, when her business was young.
“My intention is to extract and redistribute as many materials as we can,” says Murphy. “The hand-carved casings and the libraries are there for the aficionado, and on the other side of the coin, there are all new kitchen cabinets and bathrooms that you can [reinstall] at home. It’s the perfect combo platter of old and new stuff.”
Murphy says that virtually everything in the Glencoe house that is not structural is fair game, and so is all landscaping on the blufftop section of the lot. The funicular is not available, and Murphy did not comment on the fate of the lakefront decks and boathouse.
Murco does teardown auctions on homes of all sizes, but Murphy says that few of them held as many “treasures that can be diverted [from the landfill]” as this one. She says that this Glencoe home ranks as her second best ever, after a 1932 Tudor in Hinsdale that she auctioned in 2008. That home was later replaced with this 27,400-square-foot residence.
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