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Statewide Endangered

2011 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update

 

April, 2012: Landmarks Illinois was able to provide a follow-up technical assistance report for this site with a grant from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Click here for report.

 

Soper-Burr House
812-814 Prairie St., Bloomington
(McLean County)

 

Located on a highly visible corner facing a public square, this is one of the oldest and most prominent homes in the Franklin Square Historic District. Vacant since June 2009, the house has been in the City’s building court due to neglect and numerous code violations. A local bank foreclosed on the property in 2010 and is seeking a new owner. Neighboring homeowners believe if the home is not acquired and renovated soon its declining condition and appearance will negatively impact the overall health and character of the district.

One of the most architecturally significant homes in Bloomington, the residence was built in three distinct phases. Hudson Burr built an Italianate-style house in 1859 on a lot facing Franklin Square, which had been dedicated to the city in 1854. Burr expanded the home in 1871 with a two-story, three-bay addition in keeping with its Italianate style. In 1890, Burr’s daughter and son-in-law, Emma and Clinton Soper, built a third addition in the Queen Anne style. The Franklin Square Historic District was home to some of the community’s most prominent citizens, including U.S. Vice-President Adlai Stevenson and Illinois Governor Joseph H. Fifer.

In the 1940s, the Soper-Burr House was converted into apartments, which were well managed for many years. Its recent decline in the hands of a neglectful owner has had a negative impact on efforts to promote and maintain the city’s oldest historic district. The City is working with the bank that now owns the property to find a new owner who will renovate it. However, if the Soper-Burr House is not acquired and renovated soon, the City may be forced to demolish it. It would be the first house in a local landmark district lost to demolition due to neglect and the foreclosure crisis.

 

What You Can Do

 

For more information on the property, contact:

 

Greg Koos
Executive Director

McLean County Museum of History
(309) 827-0428
GKoos@mchistory.org

 

Additional Links

 

cityblm.org

pantagraph.com

National Register for Historic Places

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Landmarks Illinois
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