1913 River Forest Women’s Club in River Forest, IL – $680,000

Contingent or Pending Sale
Status may not be current or/and may accept additional offers. Contact the agent to verify.
Added to OHD on 6/9/21   -   Last OHD Update: 6/11/21   -   11 Comments

526 Ashland Ave, River Forest, IL 60305

Map: Street

  • $680,000
  • 4 Bed
  • 4 Bath
  • 3504 Sq Ft
  • 0.36 Ac.
This masterpiece home of Prairie School design is located in the heart of beautiful central River Forest. The famed River Forest Women's Club designed in 1913 by Frank Lloyd Wright's chief draftsman, William Drummond, is now an efficient and glorious home ready for today's living and entertaining! Meticulously restored in the early 2000's the home's original 1st level theater and stage provide spectacular dining, living and family space while ready at a moments notice for you to host your favorite gatherings and holidays. Three separate bedrooms are perfect private spaces and the 2nd level loft primary sleeping space with two modern primary baths offers configuration flexibility like no other home. Four total modern bathrooms! The lower level features the grand cook's kitchen, a workout room, and a huge recreation/play space with walkout access to the lush sunken entertaining patio and your own park-like 100ft wide backyard! This home is an awesome example of modern efficiency and energy conservation with newly updated geothermal HVAC combined with conventional AC and boiler support as well as solar heated home hot water. The home is in great condition throughout but for transaction purposes being sold in as-is condition. This is a designated Landmark of Illinois home with a great relationship with the landmark office. Contact the listing agent for Landmark status and easement details.
Contact Information
Steve Scheuring, Compass
M: 708-369-8043 O: 773-466-7150
Links, Photos & Additional Info
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11 Comments on 1913 River Forest Women’s Club in River Forest, IL – $680,000

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12620 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Sold last year, back on the market (doesn’t appear to be a flip so maybe plans changed for the new owners?): https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2020/03/06/1913-river-forest-womens-club-in-river-forest-il/

  2. This place is awesome — but don’t shoot me, it doesn’t want to be a house. It wants to be a small (very small) performance venue. Jazz trio or quartet, acoustic group or solo, no (or nearly no) sound reinforcement required, which would be a LOT of the appeal to being used as such.

    It’s across the street from a school and church, so liquor would be a challenge, perhaps insurmountable. The lowest level could be used for receptions after the show. I would imagine that full capacity wouldn’t be much more than 50 or so. But what a great gig! I’d play there, for sure.

    It has FLW lineage, http://wrightchat.savewright.org/viewtopic.php?p=48977, and I’m sure there’s a lot of discussion that could be had in that regard, but I’m the wrong guy for that — my dad did his master’s thesis on FLW’s commercial designs, and that’s all I really know about him. I find that I always like his stuff a lot though (I don’t know art but I know what I like, eh). I found a book of large prints of his residential designs in an antique shop in Austin, TX maybe 10 years ago, they wanted $200. My wife talked me out of it, wish I’d have bought it.

    This location was purchased on 2005 for $425K, purportedly $2M was spent on its renovation, and went into foreclosure in 2019. It sold in 2020 for $560K. The neighborhood is open to a use other than as a residence in order to preserve the structure, from what I’ve read. All in all, a very interesting property indeed, to me.

  3. RossRoss says: 2443 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1894 QueenAnneFreeClassic
    Emporia, KS

    This is a fascinating property…

    …with an ill-conceived floor plan.

    I think having the kitchen on the main level would help things.

    And the two main bedrooms? They have to walk across the entry hall, and up a staircase, to access a bathroom.

    The whole plan would benefit from being rethought.

    • MichaelMichael says: 3370 comments
      1979 That 70's show
      Otis Orchards, WA

      I would agree with you about the floor plan, Ross. It can be a difficult transition taking a building from one use to another but some things, as you have already mentioned, are obvious!

  4. I’d put a great recording studio in that space, love it.

  5. Seems like a steal, although I don’t want to know much the utilities or property taxes are. I’m more of a Queen Anne guy, but I could be forced to live here. 😉

    • hearsetraxhearsetrax says: 247 comments

      👴 not sure how big of steal this place is
      but like most of the places I like here at the OHD…

      the odder the project, the more enjoyable the rewards after its has been finished to one’s own liking

  6. snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 586 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1782 Quaker Georgian
    Worton, MD

    I believe the interior of the great hall has a protective covenant on it, so the modern changes thoughtfully fit-around the sides to preserve the significant room. For me, it makes sense the kitchen is where it always was. The suburban furniture doesn’t help us imagine its potential much. This is an outstanding opportunity for someone in a creative field to use as a sort of live/work loft. I suspect the neighborhood wouldn’t allow for an entertainment venue, but I could be wrong.

    How about a nonprofit used book store and coffee house with shared-use by the church to barter for parking? This could help with the property tax reality. There is no shortage of good ideas.

    Sadly, the previous owners lost their shirt with their impressive, expensive, heavy-lift house conversion. Even the prairie gardens were spectacular just a few years ago. It was essentially given away in the foreclosure sale, and I admit I had OHD of a live/work studio business because of its important Prairie Style architecture and place in the community (and adjacent to Oak Park). In person, the mysterious structure is even more fascinating and brilliant in the details. Notice the Egyptian Pylon corners that give it a sense of monumental importance/mystery and the complex geometries of the side entry. It’s a bit of a white elephant (or unicorn) waiting for something special, much like with Wright’s super important (and sad) kindergarten schoolhouse in nearby Riverside [recenlty sold cheap]:

  7. PhillipPhillip says: 309 comments
    1910 Tudor/craftsman mix

    I think it is super cool and an amazing place. I would leave it just as it is. The only thing that is bad is the property taxes. But what a dramatic home it is, especially furnished with the right stuff.

    • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 586 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1782 Quaker Georgian
      Worton, MD

      In the old listings, the previous owners had a massive Prairie Style dining set on the stage and huge sofas in groupings in the hall. That looked appropriate. The choir loft (with the teepee) had a built-in master bed. I think it’s obvious that furnishings will have to be as architectural and room-within-a-room creating as possible. Remember sectional playpen sofas? I can imagine a large, square donut of sofa creating a living sanctum. We’re just dreaming here; it’s in the title.


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