A turn of the century mansion designed by George Maher, one of the most celebrated architects of the Prairie School movement, is hitting the market today for $4.5 million. Part of the Hutchinson Street Historic District in Buena Park, the 10,000-square-foot home at 839 West Hutchinson Street occupies nearly six city lots and is one of five homes in the district designed by Maher.
This is the first time in more than thirty years that the home has been for sale. Owners Jerry and Linda Meyer purchased the mansion in 1987 for nearly $1.5 million, says Jerry. At the time, the global economy was amid a downturn that affected millions.
“The previous owner was forced to sell the house because of the stock market crash of 1987,” Meyer says. “I think we bought at a favorable time, even though for me that was a huge amount of money.”
The home is exquisitely finished with hand carved wood details, including a grand foyer flanked by a master staircase and windows that shower the home in natural light. Meyer and his wife were impressed not only by the home's architecture, but by how well it had been preserved over the decades. Meyer believes that he and Linda are only the fourth owners of the home, and the longest tenants of the Prairie style mansion.
Constructed in 1909, 839 West Hutchinson Street was commissioned by neighborhood resident Robert Greenlee as a wedding gift for his daughter and her new husband, according a report by the Pleasant Home Foundation provided to the Meyers. The estimated cost of construction in 1908 was approximately $25,000.
In recent years, the Meyers made a number of updates to the home, including an automated driveway gate, a new kitchen, and a renovated master bathroom and spa. Exterior conditions and mechanicals have also been improved, including extensive tuckpointing, new plumbing, and new electrical wiring.
Despite its architectural pedigree and protected landmark status, Meyer says the home great for both families and for entertaining guests. “I grew up on the southeast side of Chicago and didn’t even know this world existed, but it didn’t take us long to get comfortable with the house."
Representing the Meyers, broker Carole Cousin with @properties says the home’s stats and location are as significant as its architecture. “It’s a home designed by a noted Prairie School architect, on a corner lot, on nearly six city lots,” she says. “That’s a pretty rare find.”
Meyer and his and wife, now empty nesters, recently bought a condo downtown and are spending more time outside of Chicago, thus offering up their prized home. However, the couple hopes to keep the tradition of architectural stewardship alive by finding a buyer who appreciates the home's history like they did.