University of Chicago pays $3.4M for Hyde Park mansion

Historic home once belonged to late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

University of Chicago Pays $3.4M for Hyde Park Mansion
University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos and 5725 South Woodlawn Avenue (University of Chicago, Google Maps)

A piece of Chicago’s judicial history is off the market, as a Hyde Park mansion once owned by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has changed hands.

The University of Chicago bought the 5,000-square-foot brick house at 5725 South Woodlawn Avenue for $3.4 million on Oct. 31, the Chicago Tribune reported. The mansion had been owned by the McGarry family since 1987.

Built around 1900, it was designed by Rapp & Rapp, an architectural firm that was known for its work on movie palaces. Originally built for Cora Howland, daughter of former Chicago Mayor John A. Roche, the mansion holds rich historical significance.

Scalia, who taught at the University of Chicago’s law school from 1977 to 1982, and his wife, Maureen, purchased the house in 1977. Scalia was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1982, and they sold the property in March 1983, relocating to Virginia. 

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University of Chicago declined to disclose plans for the house. 

“The university owns and maintains multiple properties in that vicinity for University offices and programs, including the nearby Institute of Politics, the Department of Comparative Human Development and the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society,” said Gerald McSwiggan, a university spokesperson. “The future use of the building at 5725 S. Woodlawn will likewise be used in support of the University’s educational mission.”

The property is valued at $1.34 million by the Cook County Assessor’s Office, less than half of the university’s purchase price. Its property tax bill was $27,753 last year. 

Scalia isn’t the only Supreme Court justice linked to Chicago. The late John Paul Stevens and current Justice Elena Kagan also lived in the area.

—Quinn Donoghue


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