|Open windows where the original stained glass was removed|
on the north-facing side of the home
|The front trees come down|
|The stained glass window in the front has been removed|
The Victorian home that stood at 4642 North Magnolia for parts of three centuries will be demolished as early as today. The back fence has been removed; the stained glass windows have been taken out; and the mature trees on the lot have been cut down.
It's hardly a surprise. From the first notices sent out in October, the specter of demolition was on the table. The former and current owners repeatedly said the lot would become a "parking lot" if upzoning for a six-flat weren't approved.
In October, Ald. Cappleman said in his newsletter: "The prospective buyer is only interested in purchasing this home if he is allowed to tear it down in order to build something else on this site. ... If the Historic Preservation Division does not want to proceed with landmarking this building [which is what happened], the house will be torn down and the new owner will present new building plans to the Magnolia-Malden Block Club. If the new proposal requires an upzone, members of the block club will have a strong say on whether or not this would occur. If the new proposal does not require any zoning change, the new owner does not need community input to build as long as it remains within the current zoning guidelines."
As most of us know, the block club voted unanimously against upzoning, a sale did take place, and now the owners are making good on their often-stated intention to tear down the home. We hate to see another part of Sheridan Park's history disappear, but they bought that right.
We do find it perplexing that developers are purposely creating a long-term vacant lot. Owner Michael Finan told Chicago Magazine: “I’ll knock it down and it will be another vacant lot in Uptown... I’m going to demo it and let that vacant lot sit there.” Like Thorek Hospital's vast real estate holdings of empty space, we call that land-banking, not developing.
Chicago Magazine has a story published January 20th that includes interviews with many involved in this issue, called "This Old House Will Soon be a Vacant Lot." It includes a photo slideshow of the interior of the house in its last days as well.
For 118 years, there was something beautiful there. Let's remember it this way: