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Demolition deferred for Lakeview’s historic Daniel O. Hill house

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The threatened building at 448 W. Barry Ave. appears to be safe for now

Redfin

A preservation fight to save a historic 1905 American Four Square-style mansion in Chicago’s East Lakeview neighborhood took an interesting turn at yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Chicago Commission on Landmarks. The property at 448 W. Barry Avenue, which was originally built for silk merchant Daniel O. Hill and served most recently as Chicago’s Serbian American Museum, was listed twice on the group’s April agenda.

The first item sought prelimary landmark designation to protect the Frederick W. Perkins-designed structure. The move to landmark the building was championed by Ald. Tom Tunney, whose 44th Ward includes the old Daniel O. Hill house. The prospect of protecting the structure into perpetuity, however, did not have the current property owners particularly thrilled.

Vesna Noble, a member of the Chicago Serbian American Museum’s board, told the Chicago Tribune last month that the designation would significantly reduce the property’s value. According to Noble, the museum had lined-up a buyer willing to pay the building’s $3.85M asking price, but would have to reduce the value by $1 million should the protected status be adopted.

Yesterday’s decision for landmark recommendation was ultimately deferred to a later date, as was a second—far more alarming—item on the agenda: a move to demolish the Daniel O. Hill house. According to the City of Chicago, the applicant withdrew its request for a demolition permit.

With the destruction at least pushed back, the old Lakeview mansion appears to temporarily be safe. With that being said, it’s unclear if and when either item will go back before the city and the battle to save (or raze) the historic American Four Square would start all over again.