Home free to a good owner — if they take it away, and soon

The historic, mid-century modern home in Kane County used to have official landmark status. Now it’s just in the way, and was on the verge of demolition before a prospective owner surfaced recently.

SHARE Home free to a good owner — if they take it away, and soon
The Tollgate Road, Elgin, house has been offered at no cost since November to anyone who can make plans to move it.

This house on Tollgate Road in Elgin has been offered at no cost since November to anyone who can make plans to move it.

Kane County Development Department

A historic Kane County home that will be demolished unless a new owner is found may have at least one person seriously interested.

The home, built in 1967, sits on 32 acres along I-90. Local architect John Schmidtke designed it in mid-century modern style, and the home was designated a landmark by Kane County in 1996.

But it lost its landmark status in November, when the Elgin City Council voted to annex the lot and make way for an industrial development by High Street Logistics. The home is one of six that would be leveled.

Given its history, however, the developer said it would allow time for someone to step forward to save the house. They can have it free — provided they move it away themselves before construction begins this spring.

Even with that daunting condition, “at least one person is diligently trying to make it work,” said Julia Thavong, preservation planner for the Kane County Development Department.

A couple of architects have been very interested in the property, she said, and appear to have an exclusive working relationship with the developer.

“It’s no small undertaking,” Thavong added. “We figured that it’s going to cost probably a half-million dollars to complete a project like this. So, not for the faint of heart.”

Even so, the 2,300-square-foot house at 35W655 Toll Gate Rd. garnered attention from all over the country. A recent Instagram post via the account Cheap Old Homes has boosted interest, accumulating more than 70,000 likes.

“The developer will give the house to anyone who will move it and staff has shared this offer with its network of preservationists, including Landmark Illinois,” Marc Mylott, Elgin’s director of community development, said in the Nov. 5 meeting.

Transporting the house will be difficult, as will finding a suitable new location, said architect Chris Enck, who works on a volunteer basis with Kane County.

“One of the most critical aspects is finding a site that’s really close by, because the farther that a building gets moved, the more logistical challenges there are,” Enck said. “Finding a replacement site to move a structure to can be a challenge, to find something that’s available and affordable.”

Nearby power lines and the weight of the house — lots of bricks, lots of metal — make the move even more difficult, he said.

Although the original deadline set by the developer was April 1, Thavong hopes the deadline can be pushed back to allow time for any new owner to deal with the wide array of logistical challenges.

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