Good News for Wright's George Millard House

We reported in November that the George Madison Millard House (1906) in Highland Park, Illinois, was under contract, though the threat of demolition also loomed. Happily, the sale did close on December 15. The Chicago Tribune reported that it sold for $687,500.

Restoration architect and Conservancy board member John Thorpe had worked on the house with the prior owners and, as a friend of the house prior to the current sale, had kept tabs on the status and advised and encouraged two earlier prospective buyers during the long marketing period. The Conservancy and Landmarks Illinois also were monitoring the status of the house very closely in the last six months and were in direct contact with the Highland Park Historic Preservation Commission.

The sellers had applied for a demolition permit in July, but contrary to what was published in the Tribune on December 16, no demo permit had been approved. The ordinance provides for a 365-day delay for demolition of any potential historic structure that meets certain criteria. The sellers had requested that the Highland Park Historic Preservation Commission waive the delay period so that the permit could be granted immediately. Both the Conservancy and Landmarks Illinois had submitted strong letters and Conservancy Executive Director Janet Halstead attended the Commission meeting on October 8 to urge the Commission not to waive or shorten the delay in order to allow maximum time for a new owner to step forward. At its meeting on October 8 the Commission declined to waive the delay period and subsequently the sellers appealed the Commissionís decision to the Highland Park City Council. The demo permit application and its related 365-day delay were still pending when the house was sold.

The Conservancy is in contact with the new owners, who saved another historic house in Highland Park several years ago, and maintains hope that the demolition permit will be formally withdrawn soon.

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