River Forest house made from a Prairie School social club now in foreclosure

The house, which was originally the River Forest Women's Club designed by architect William Drummond, was on the market for more than seven years.

Dennis Rodkin


A River Forest house that was made out of a longtime women's clubhouse in order to protect it from demolition is in foreclosure, headed toward a court-ordered sale after more than seven years on the market.

It's a disappointing end for a saga that began 14 years ago, when a lifelong River Forest resident bought the handsome but timeworn building and put it through an extensive renovation that included installing modern eco-friendly features and preserving the club's two-story auditorium as a centerpiece of the house.

The four-bedroom, 3,500-square-foot house on Ashland Avenue was originally built in 1913 as the Its architect, was one of the early designers in the Prairie Style. He in River Forest, Hinsdale, Maywood and other places.

In 2005, the women's club sold the building to Paul and Ellen Coffey after the River Forest Park District,  pulled out. No sale price was recorded in Cook County recorder of deeds documents, but Paul Coffey later told Chicago magazine that the sale price was $425,000. In 2016, he told Crain's that the total investment in the rehab was about $2 million.

Paul Coffey, who is the School of the Art Institute’s vice provost and dean of community engagement, declined to comment on the current foreclosure. Ellen Coffey could not be reached. In 2012, when first listing the house for sale at about $1.57 million, Paul Coffey that "this wasn’t done as a money-making venture. It was done to save the building."

The house was on the market from May 2012, when the asking price was a little more than $1.57 million, through October 2019, when the price was down to $632,000.

79彩票注册网址Alliant Credit Union initiated foreclosure on the property in January 2019, according to the Cook County recorder of deeds, and on Dec. 12 filed a motion in Cook County Circuit Court to have a judge approve a sale. Alliant did not respond to an inquiry placed with its media relations department.

Michael Bablo, the attorney with Bablo Law in Arlington Heights who is representing Alliant, also declined to comment other than to say that the next court date, Jan. 7, is a hearing where the judge will be asked to make an order approving a sale. Bablo did not say to whom the property will be sold.

The Coffeys' rehab included putting solar panels on the roof (on the back of the house, to preserve the historical front view of the building) and a geothermal heat system that uses the earth’s natural below-ground temperatures to assist heating and cooling of indoor air.

79彩票注册网址The  two stories high, has board-and-batten wood paneling that echoes the look of the exterior, a raised stage and a row of leaded-glass windows facing the street.

The kitchen, family living spaces and some bedrooms are beneath the auditorium level, in a raised basement that opens directly to an excavated section of the backyard.

In 2016, when the house had sat unsold for several years, River Forest village officials said they would be open to a non-residential buyer taking over the property.

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Dennis Rodkin

A row of windows in the preserved auditorium. 

Dennis Rodkin

The stage of the auditorium, set up as a dining area. 

Dennis Rodkin

79彩票注册网址A dining area in the new level of living space installed beneath the auditorium in a raised basement. 

Dennis Rodkin

79彩票注册网址Entry to the new lower level is through a sunken garden behind the house. 

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