Erasing history? Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home staring down demolition

The new owner of the home filed demolition plans with the North Shore suburb weeks after buying it
May 22, 2019 04:00PM

Frank Lloyd Wright and Sherman Booth Cottage

Frank Lloyd Wright and Sherman Booth Cottage

A suburban cottage designed by Frank Lloyd Wright may be nearing a date with the wrecking ball.

Weeks after the Sherman Booth Cottage sold to an unknown buyer for $555,000, its new owner filed demolition plans with the village of Glencoe, according to the Chicago Tribune. Its previous owner, the estate of Meyer and Doris Rudoff, had sought more than $1 million when it brought the 106-year-old wood frame cottage to market in late 2017.

If the plan moves forward, the single-story house could become the second Wright-designed structure to be bulldozed in as many years, following the January 2018 demolition of a medical office he designed in Montana.

Wright designed the cottage at 239 Franklin Street as a temporary home for Glencoe denizens Sherman and Elizabeth Booth in 1913, according to the preservation group Landmarks Illinois, which added the building this year to its list of the state’s “most endangered historic places.” It was considered a precursor to Wright’s later series of Usonian Houses, which emphasized low, flat roofs and cheap building materials.

Glencoe officials have not yet awarded a demolition permit for the house, but they have no legal route to stop the owner from following through on the teardown, according to the Tribune.

[Chicago Tribune] Alex Nitkin