Why these suburban sites made the National Register of Historic Places

  • Built in 1942, the Sam and Eleanor Himmelfarb House and Studio in Winfield has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  "I hope that it will help in its preservation, because until recently the trend was to build bigger and bigger homes and homes of the midcentury era tend to be teardowns," said John Himmelfarb, son of the couple.

      Built in 1942, the Sam and Eleanor Himmelfarb House and Studio in Winfield has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. "I hope that it will help in its preservation, because until recently the trend was to build bigger and bigger homes and homes of the midcentury era tend to be teardowns," said John Himmelfarb, son of the couple. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The iconic covered bridge in downtown Long Grove in 2017, before it was hit by a truck that wrecked the wooden structure.

      The iconic covered bridge in downtown Long Grove in 2017, before it was hit by a truck that wrecked the wooden structure. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • The horse barn at Corron Farm in Campton Hills.

    The horse barn at Corron Farm in Campton Hills. Courtesy of Corron Farm Preservation Society

  • The original owner of the Corron Farm in Campton Hills, Robert Corron, settled there in 1835, according to the Corron Farm Preservation Society and Campton Township Open Space.

    The original owner of the Corron Farm in Campton Hills, Robert Corron, settled there in 1835, according to the Corron Farm Preservation Society and Campton Township Open Space.

 
 
Posted2/9/2019 6:00 AM

The Winfield home nestled in the woods has all the hallmarks of an artist's haven: floor-to-ceiling windows, a deep connection to nature and sloping terrain to the DuPage River's West Branch.

For the artist who designed and lived in the home with her husband, it was a rural retreat she preserved against the threat of developers even in her 90s.

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The couple's daughter, Susan Himmelfarb, has carried on her mother's preservation efforts and secured the listing of her childhood home on the National Register of Historic Places -- one of only four suburban and 30 statewide sites added to the roster in the last year.

The recognition helps raise the profile of landmarks at least 50 years old, but it doesn't place any obligations on private owners, state officials say.

Here's a closer look at the suburban additions to the national register.

Sam and Eleanor Himmelfarb House and Studio

The late husband-and-wife artists Sam and Eleanor Himmelfarb designed their Y-shaped home and studio with influences from the Modern Movement and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Susan Himmelfarb, who now lives in the home along Marion Road, sought the designation to draw attention to its architectural significance and the contributions of her father to an evolving modern art scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was a time in the Chicago area and around the country of new ideas and new forms and new ways of thinking about all of our cultural and intellectual life," she said.

This Winfield home was designed by the artist Eleanor Himmelfarb, here standing on the back porch, and her husband, Sam. It has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Eleanor Himmelfarb lived in the house until her death in 2009.
This Winfield home was designed by the artist Eleanor Himmelfarb, here standing on the back porch, and her husband, Sam. It has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Eleanor Himmelfarb lived in the house until her death in 2009. - Daily Herald file photo

The design also was a "rethinking" of the suburban home, with little ornamentation, a flat roof, flagstone and other natural materials, and an openness to the environment. Eleanor Himmelfarb, who grew up on farms near Wayne and Barrington, was so enamored by the setting she worked with the Naperville-based Conservation Foundation in 2003 to obtain a conservation easement enforced by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

The easement limits, in perpetuity, the type of development that can occur on 4 acres around the home, said Dan Lobbes, the foundation's land preservation director.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"That was everything to her," Lobbes said. "Much of her work and her artistry involved the natural world."

Eleanor Himmelfarb, an abstract painter and instructor at the Morton Arboretum and other institutions, lived in the home until she died in 2009. His parents would have been "very pleased" that the home is seen as a national treasure, their son and Chicago artist John Himmelfarb said.

"It was a labor of love to design it as a place to raise a family," he said.

The former Larkin Center at 1212 Larkin Ave. in Elgin began helping people in 1896 as the "Larkin Home for Children."
The former Larkin Center at 1212 Larkin Ave. in Elgin began helping people in 1896 as the "Larkin Home for Children." - Courtesy of "Elgin, Illinois: Wish You Were Here" Postcard History by William E. Bennett and The
Larkin Center in Elgin

The historic building, at 1212 Larkin Ave., was built in Georgian-revival style by local architect Georgie Morris in 1912.

"Initially established as the Elgin Children's Home Society in 1898, the Larkin Home for Children was founded when the society outgrew its original donated home and raised money for the construction of a larger residence on what were then the outskirts of the city," an Illinois Department of Natural Resources news release states.

It took the name "Larkin Center" in 1971 when it expanded its services to adults. It closed in 2013 due to financial difficulties and has been empty since summer 2014.

The former Larkin Center, 1212 Larkin Ave., has been vacant since 2014.
  The former Larkin Center, 1212 Larkin Ave., has been vacant since 2014. - Rick West | Staff Photographer

The building was designated a local landmark in 2004 and was nominated for the national designation by Full Circle Communities, a nonprofit that wants to redevelop the site -- and preserve the main building -- into affordable housing. This way, the nearly $19 million project is eligible for federal historic tax credits, officials said.

The national recognition "is certainly a humbling designation to recognize such an iconic building from Elgin's past," city spokeswoman Molly Center said. "The city of Elgin strongly values the preservation of its history, and the National Register of Historic Places designation allows the building an opportunity to be redeveloped and given a second life. "

This is a 1908 postcard of Long Grove's bridge over Buffalo Creek. A "nostalgic cover" turned it into a covered bridge in 1972 and it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018. The bridge was constructed in 1906.
This is a 1908 postcard of Long Grove's bridge over Buffalo Creek. A "nostalgic cover" turned it into a covered bridge in 1972 and it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018. The bridge was constructed in 1906. - Courtesy of Long Grove Historical Society
Long Grove Covered Bridge

Downtown Long Grove's Robert Parker Coffin Road covered bridge landed on the National Register of Historic Places last June.

Constructed in 1906 by the Joliet Bridge and Iron Co., the Buffalo Creek span is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected pony truss bridge built for an urban setting, according to documents submitted for the national landmark process.

Originally open with metal rail sides, the bridge got a historic-looking "nostalgic covering" in 1972 to help preserve the one-lane span and limit traffic from trucks and other heavy vehicles.

Long Grove's bridge over Buffalo Creek was built in 1906, received its "nostalgic cover" in 1972, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018. The timber cover was damaged by a truck driver last year and later removed.
  Long Grove's bridge over Buffalo Creek was built in 1906, received its "nostalgic cover" in 1972, and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018. The timber cover was damaged by a truck driver last year and later removed. - Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

Just two weeks after the bridge landed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cover was hit and damaged by the driver of a rented box truck that authorities said exceeded a 10-foot, 6-inch height limit and a weight restriction.

Long Grove hired a company to dismantle the timber covering and plans to have a replacement installed, along with other possible renovations.

Corron Farm hosts Campton Township's annual Prairie Fest. The carriage on the side of the house, shown around the turn of the century, has been restored.
Corron Farm hosts Campton Township's annual Prairie Fest. The carriage on the side of the house, shown around the turn of the century, has been restored. - courtesy of the Corron Farm Preservation Society
Corron Farm

The Corron Farm, 7N761 Corron Road in Campton Hills, was settled in 1835 by 19-year-old Robert Corron and held in the same family for more than 160 years, according to Campton Township Parks and Open Space.

From 1850 to 1854, Robert Corron had a Greek Revival-style home built, with bricks made of clay found on the site. Its nickname is "Old Brick."

COURTESY OF CORRON FARM PRESERVATION SOCIETYA 1935 photo shows the front of the "Hired Man's House" at Corron Farm. The pony cart has been restored.
COURTESY OF CORRON FARM PRESERVATION SOCIETYA 1935 photo shows the front of the "Hired Man's House" at Corron Farm. The pony cart has been restored. -

Four generations of Corrons worked the land, mostly as a dairy farm. The original part of the dairy barn, bearing the label "Robert Corron Farm," dates to 1874.

The family sold most of the farm to the Kane County Forest Preserve District (122 acres) and Campton Township (212 acres) in 2002. Since the sale, there has been work to preserve the barn and renovate other buildings, including the Italianate front porch on the house. Walking trails have been added and 180 acres of farmland restored to prairie.

Corron Farm's "Old Brick" was built between 1850 and 1854 from bricks kilned from clay on the property. The Greek Revival home features 40 windows, with window lintels and doorway thresholds quarried in Batavia.
Corron Farm's "Old Brick" was built between 1850 and 1854 from bricks kilned from clay on the property. The Greek Revival home features 40 windows, with window lintels and doorway thresholds quarried in Batavia. - courtesy of the Corron Farm Preservation Society

The farm was listed on the Kane County Historic Register in 2003. It received a Governor's Home Town Award in 2006 for restoration of another house on the property, called "The Hired Man's House."

• Daily Herald staff writers Elena Ferrarin, Bob Susnjara and Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report

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