Threat of demolition looms for 119-year-old Hoffman Estates farmhouse

  • Hoffman Estates village board members Monday may decide the fate of the 119-year-old Bergman farmhouse near the northwest corner of Algonquin and Ela roads based on the progress -- or lack thereof -- of a proposed restoration project.

    Hoffman Estates village board members Monday may decide the fate of the 119-year-old Bergman farmhouse near the northwest corner of Algonquin and Ela roads based on the progress -- or lack thereof -- of a proposed restoration project. Daily Herald file photo, 2016

 
 
Updated 5/8/2019 8:34 AM

Hoffman Estates village board members Monday will revisit the four-year-old dilemma over whether the approximately 119-year-old Bergman family farmhouse on Algonquin Road just west of Ela Road can be saved from demolition.

When the board voted in September to give a developer until August 2019 to move forward with a restoration, Trustee Karen Mills suggested it be the last extension.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Trustees have long expressed frustration with the slow progress of CASE Properties LLC since its representative Chad Evans reached an agreement with the village to renovate the house in June 2017.

Mayor Bill McLeod was particularly concerned that the aging structure hadn't been secured for winter, increasing the amount of restoration work ultimately needed.

Not even a building permit has been obtained, village officials say.

Evans told the village board's planning, building and zoning committee a month ago that he is awaiting permission from the Illinois Department of Transportation for a new driveway curb cut that the project would need.

Monday's meeting was scheduled specifically for an update on that situation, but could determine the project no longer has any viability, said Trustee Gary Stanton, who chairs the committee.

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Evans could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The idea of restoring the house was pitched in 2015 as developer M/I Homes got to work building the 81-home Bergman Pointe subdivision surrounding the old farmhouse. While M/I Homes had no interest in restoring the house itself, it didn't oppose another party doing so.

Village officials never accepted any financial stake in preserving the house, but believed it had sufficient historic value to postpone demolition.

A study by Benjamin Historic Certifications of Highland Park in 2015 concluded that the Bergman house would be a strong contender for listing on the National Historic Register because it was owned by four generations of the same family without any significant changes.

The study determined the house had been built about 1900 by Daniel Bergman Sr. His grandson Harold, who continued to grow hay on the property until his retirement and sale of the land in 2015, was born in the house in 1916.

Though the original hope was to preserve the house as some type of public amenity, the two proposals that ultimately materialized in 2016 were to restore it for private residential use.

Of the two, only that of Evans and CASE Properties demonstrated sufficient financial resources but hasn't yet established the required escrow fund to guarantee completion of the project.

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