KENWOOD — The historic Kenwood mansion at 4950 S. Woodlawn Ave. has gone on the market for $2.59 million, and historians say if you don't like the location, the home can always be moved — again.
The mansion designed by William LeBaron Jenney, architect of the first skyscraper, was once 1½ blocks away, but the owner at the time wasn’t happy with the location so he had it moved, according to author and real estate agent Susan O’Connor Davis.
Davis, the author of “Chicago’s Historic Hyde Park,” said the house was moved from 4940 S. Greenwood to its current location in 1921, a year before John McCormick bought the house from James Hutchinson.
“Someone picked up and moved this 6,500-square-foot house and moved it around the corner. It’s nuts,” Davis said.
She said it wasn’t uncommon for houses to be moved at the time, but it was more often small bungalows or other more modest homes. She said it’s rare for such a large house to be moved, and she still is unsure why it was moved such a short distance to replace an Italianate mansion that was demolished.
“There’s no traces in the house, it’s not like they sawed it in half,” Davis said.
She said the interior, which immediately reveals the hand of a master architect, was likely part of the reason it was worth moving.
“It was obviously someone who knew what they were doing,” Davis said.
She said the modest wood exterior on a block of stone mansions hides the surprisingly spacious interior, which has maintained many of the wood trim and details from when it was built in 1887.
The kitchen and many of the four bathrooms have been redone, but the large carved central staircase, leaded glass windows and original cabinetry have been maintained in excellent condition.
The home also has a generous yard and garage, but theoretically at least, most of that could be moved again if the location isn’t right.