While Southern California’s Beverly Hills is obviously the most famous, it’s not the only Beverly Hills in the country, nor even the first — for instance, Illinois’ Beverly Hills has been around a couple decades longer. Located in the far south side of Chicago, the community is considered part of the Blue Island Ridge, a prehistoric glacial ridge that was once an island and lays claim to the highest elevation point in the city. Developed in tandem with the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad lines, the picturesque enclave contains a cornucopia of impressive residences in a variety of styles, including Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Tudor, French Provincial, Prairie, Craftsman, and International Modern.
Fresh on the market in the historic tract is an imposing manor designed in 1929 by James Roy Allen, a prominent local architect whose projects include the Barrell Memorial Gateway at Lake Forest Cemetery and the Riviera Ballroom in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Mixing elements of Tudor, Renaissance, and Neoclassical Revival styles, the brick and limestone mansion was commissioned by George W. Reed, an executive for the Peabody Coal Company. Following Reed’s tenure, it was owned and occupied for several decades by a branch of the Columban Fathers, a society of Catholic missionaries.
Constructed along a pinwheel-esque plan, with four wings connecting to a central core, the 7,858-square-foot home contains seven bedrooms, all on the upper floor, six full and three partial baths. Public spaces include a brick arcade, marble foyer, living room, formal dining room, library, and solarium.
While undeniably in need of updating, polishing, and who-knows-what-all-else, the former coal baron’s abode shows major diamond potential nonetheless. The Great Depression seems to have had little impact on Reed’s finances, given the fine quality of craftsmanship and building materials employed. Deluxe original features include carved oak and walnut paneling, marble floors, leaded glass windows, intricate plaster moldings and ceiling medallions, a massive custom built-in Jewett refrigerator, and wrought ironwork by noted blacksmith Samuel Yellen. Other highlights include multiple fireplaces accessorized with sterling silver andirons, as well as sterling silver sconces. Elsewhere on the approximately one-acre grounds is a carriage house with a one-bedroom guest apartment over a three-car garage, mature trees, and landscaped flower beds.
A block or so east of the Dan Ryan Woods Forest Preserve, the property is listed with Tom O’Connor of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago at an asking price of $1.8 million.