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Historic Irving House Moved To New Lot In Evanston

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Now that a historic, 1928-vintage Prairie-style home, designed by an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright, has been moved to its new home, it's time to piece the jigsaw puzzle back together atop a new foundation.

In coming days, the three pieces will be turned so that they fit together as first built. After that, the home will be jacked up and the foundation will be poured beneath it. After the concrete has cured, the house will be lowered onto the new foundation and restoration and rehabilitation will begin on the inside.

Movement of the Irving House, in three pieces, began at 6 a.m. Thursday at the former Dominick's parking lot at Isabella Street and Green Bay Road that had been its temporary home since mid-October. The move finished, near the corner of Crawford Avenue and Old Glenview Road, just before 12:30 p.m.

The delays caused by closures on Green Bay, Central Street and Crawford as the pieces passed at an estimated speed of 1 mile an hour angered some motorists and parents trying to get their children to school on time, but did not bother residents of the northwest Evanston neighborhood who say it is a welcome addition.

"I think it's amazing," said Angela Aufegger, who lives around the corner from the new site. "There's been so many foreclosures and issues with houses everywhere, and for a really nice house to show up on the block is a really nice thing. Everything is beginning to come back together."


Owner, architect and preservationist Christopher Enck was on hand for much of the morning, but when the move stretched into the late morning he had to excuse himself to be on hand for his pregnant wife's ultrasound test.

Dirsmith Construction will be laying the foundation and working on restoration of the home in coming months. Owner/Vice President Graham Dirsmith said Enck and his wife have a decision to make because both the Irving House and the Encks' Winnetka home are under renovation.

Enck told WBBM he plans to update the kitchen and bathrooms but otherwise do a "faithful" restoration of the classic Prairie School home.

Neither Enck nor Dirsmith could say when construction will be complete, although he said many have asked, including Dirsmith's grandparents, retired architects who live in a virtually identical home in Highland Park, also designed by Wright associate John Van Bergen.

Enck bought the home from a contractor last year for $10 and has spent the months since determining where it would go, how it would be moved, and what direction the restoration inside would take. The move alone has cost several hundred thousands of dollars, although the final figures are not in yet.

"I just hope our property taxes don't go up as a result," joked neighbor Sigrid Pilgrim.

Neighbor Linda Moore said she hopes to see the finished product.

"It's really exciting. We hope they have an open house and let us see it when they put it back together and get it in order," Moore said. "It's special."


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