The house is on the move! The Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Autority, McPier, will move the Harriet F. Rees House, a 126 year old limestone edifice from 2110 S. Prairie to a vacant parcel a block north. Built in 1888, the Rees House was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and named a Chicago landmark in 2012. The mansion is one of seven historic homes still standing on Prairie Avenue between 18th and Cermak Road, according to a a 2012 report about the home prepared for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
Description courtesy of the Harriet F. Rees Facebook Page
Built in 1888
Architects: Cobb & Frost
History of the House:
Harriet F. Rees was the widow of James Rees (1813-1880), a real estate pioneer who established the concept of abstracts of title when he formed a partnership with Edward R. Rucker in 1847. Rees was 71 when she commissioned the Prairie Avenue house, and died in December 1892. The house was sold for $42,500 to Edson Keith Jr. who had grown up at 1906 S. Prairie Avenue. Keith’s daughter Katherine married architect David Adler in 1915 and authored two novels. It was about that time that the Keiths moved from Prairie Avenue and the house was converted to furnished rooms. In the early 1970s, it housed the Prairie House Café. The interior, however, has survived largely intact and features intricate wood mouldings and beautifully tiled fireplaces. Since 2001, the home has been extensively restored.
Now isolated in its location, the Harriet Rees house was originally constructed in a row of houses. The workmanship of the façade, with its sensitively handled masonry and perfectly scaled ornament, rivals that of Richardson’s Glessner house located a few hundred yards to the north. The three stories and an attic house is constructed of Bedford stone that has been completely smoothed, emphasizing the carved ornament of the façade and the beautiful masonry work of the entrance, set on a rusticated base. A great, simple arch with over-sized voussoirs shelters the entrance. To its south, a curved bay stands two stories and ends in a semicircular copper roof. A group of five arched windows light the third floor and a steep gable with a single arched window rises to a finial. A vigorous scroll of foliate carving divides the first from the second floor of the bay and is echoed in the third-floor capitals and in relief on the attic wall.