The Town of Fort Sheridan is a national historic landmark in its entirety, with 94 structures dating to the 1890s Army installation. In an act of blatant nepotism, Brigadier General Samuel B. Holabird awarded the design commission to his son William’s fledgling firm Holabird & Roche (in 20 years they'd be one of the country’s largest). Fort Sheridan was de-commissioned in 1988 and parceled off by residential developers in the late 1990s under a new master plan. Its now complete transition to civilian community is strikingly beautiful and successful, buffeted by forest preserve, laced with ravines, and melding 551 units of old and new masonry housing—condos, townhouses, and single-family homes.
Sixteen of the standalone houses are, per military hierarchy, officer’s quarters. They are now bundled and sold as lieutenants’, captains’, and commanders’ mansions. These 125-year-old properties were expanded in the fort’s redevelopment with new rooms, decks, and garages. Not necessarily mansions in scale, their position within the fort lends that feel: threaded along little cul-de-sacs (or “loops”) dead-ending at public lakefront, and across the parade grounds from the barracks and Venetian water tower. On March 13 an original four-bed hit the market for $1,136,000, joining two others.
This lieutenant’s mansion is 100 yards from the lake, and like all the other mansions is subdued Richardsonian Romanesque—all brick with a sharply pitched roof, a front archway, and an off-center porch, but with spare ornament. Francie Hoffman, who bought in 2005 as the second private owner and is headed to California, emphasizes the care given to architectural integrity inside and out. Except in the rear addition, a vaulted great room with fireplace above the two-car garage, hardwood floors are original. So is the dining room’s built-in buffet. The living room is also an attractive piece of restoration with a refurbished wood burning fireplace, baseboards, and large windows.
According to Hoffman the attic was used for servant’s quarters with a back staircase to move between the bed and kitchen. It’s now a star of the show with wide-open family room, cathedral ceiling, dormer windows, bedroom, bath, wet bar, and clear lake views. The octagonal master suite, anchoring the second level, offers a walk-in closet and Jacuzzi tub.
The home notches 3,896 square feet of living space, which jumps to almost 5,000 if the finished basement is included. This no-nonsense carpeted level throws in a few more rooms, two of which have bedroom potential. Much of the usable yard is in front and along the east side.
Price Points: The two other on-the-market officer’s mansions alluded to are close neighbors. One, another lieutenant’s mansion listed for $991,500, is two doors west with similar interior treatments and a larger yard and has been available since November. The other, a magnificent captain’s mansion with a blend of classic and modern finishes, is asking $1.2 million. Sales prices in Fort Sheridan are on the rise again after a topsy-turvy 2014 that saw sold price per square foot eclipse listed price per square foot before dropping well below.
Janet Borden and Barbara Brown of Coldwell Banker have the listing.