Advocacy Alert: Demo Application Filed for Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Glencoe Home
May 22, 2019
By Lisa Dichiera
Director of Advocacy, Landmarks Illinois
The new owners of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Booth Cottage in Glencoe have filed a demolition permit application with the Village to tear down the unique home, which Landmarks Illinois included on its 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. If demolition proceeds, this would be the first home designed by the prominent and revered architect to be torn down in the U.S. in more than a decade.
Located at 239 Franklin Road in Glencoe, the Booth Cottage was built in 1913 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Sherman and Elizabeth Booth, prominent members of the community in the early 20th century. At the time LI listed it on its 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, the Booth Cottage was for sale and vulnerable to teardown. The one-story, small Booth Cottage sits on a sizable lot, providing the space necessary for the new owner to construct a much larger home. Weeks after announcing the 2019 Most Endangered list on May 1, the Booth Cottage was sold.
Following a Freedom of Information Request initiated by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy (FLWBC), the Village of Glencoe disclosed the new owners of the Booth Cottage, who reportedly closed on the property May 9, 2019, have filed a demolition request. According to the village, the demolition permit application is incomplete at this time. When completed, it is anticipated a 180-day demo delay period will be triggered due to the home’s honorary landmark status. The last time a Wright-designed home was demolished was in 2004 when the W.S. Carr House was destroyed in Grand Beach, Michigan. Prior to that, the last Wright-designed home to be torn down was in 1973.
Landmarks Illinois remains committed to saving this architecturally significant home. LI, the FLWBC and local advocates continue to partner to find a preservation solution, which may require a relocation. The home already experienced a move in its history. It is believed the Booth Cottage was originally located at 201 Franklin Road, to the northeast of Wright’s Sylvan Road Bridge. Following the completion of a larger, permanent home for the Booths around 1917, the cottage was moved to its current location.
Those interested in joining efforts to save the Booth Cottage are asked to contact Lisa DiChiera at Landmarks Illinois by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Barbara Gordon at the FLWBC at email@example.com.
The Village of Glencoe released a statment May 30, 2019, announcing it hosted a meeting with the new owners of the Booth Cottage and the FLWBC to “discuss potential alternatives to demolition.”
“The new owners have commenced the process of applying for a demolition permit for the
structure; however, they have also indicated an interest in exploring alternatives to demolition,” the statement said. “Various alternatives include retaining the structure and building an additional structure on the property, or moving the structure to a new location altogether.”