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Chicago’s historic Daniel O. Hill House granted preliminary landmark status

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The 1905 structure was previously used by a Serbian cultural organization as a museum 

Chicago DPD

Representing a victory for local preservationists, the Chicago Commission on Landmarks voted in favor of a measure giving the 11,400-square-foot Daniel O. Hill house at 448 W. Barry Avenue protected status. Located in East Lakeview, the 1905 American Foursquare-structure was threatened with demolition this spring before Ald. Tom Tunney stepped in and urged the Commission to save the historic eight-bedroom home. Though deferred in April, the measure was finally adopted at yesterday’s meeting.

Originally designed for silk merchant Daniel O. Hill by notable Windy City architect Frederick Wainwright Perkins, the property had served as Chicago’s Serbian American Museum St. Sava since 1952. As a cultural institution, the structure featured exhibits highlighting famous Serbs such as tennis great Novak Djokovic and inventor Nikola Tesla as well as a funky cavern-like performance venue and cocktail bar in its basement.

“The Cave.”

After falling behind in repairs and upkeep, the museum listed the property last year for $3,850,000 as a potential means to finance a new facility that could offer easier parking and better expressway access than the East Lakeview location. According to the Chicago Tribune, the museum’s board was against the landmarking efforts, claiming that move would negatively effect the sale price by as much as $1 million.

While the property’s future remains unclear, preservations can take a deep breath knowing that the building is at least protected from the wrath of the wrecking ball. As of today, the self-listed property is still available for the aforementioned asking price of $3,850,000.