With the sale of 2 Prairie Ave. mansions, a residential revival

by Emily Mack

The Prairie Avenue mansions via Zillow via Positive Image

A pair of Near South Side mansions, located at 1801 and 1811 S. Prairie Ave., have sold for nearly $4 million — and the transaction marks a new period for the historic structures. The 19th-century houses have acted as offices for the U.S. Soccer Federation since 1991. But the new buyers plan to utilize the conjoined properties as a home.

“I can confirm that the buyers’ intention is to return the property back to its original, single-family, residential use and [to restore] the old charm of the mansions,” said Mariam Moeinzadeh, an agent with Compass who represented the buyers. The identity of those buyers remains undisclosed.

The sale, which closed on Aug. 11, is the latest in the mansions’ long, metamorphic timeline. The red stone building (on right of the photo) and the limestone building (seen on the left) were built in 1886 and 1892, respectively, when Prairie Avenue boasted some of the city’s most elite addresses, home to big names like Marshall Field and George Pullman.

The red stone house, also called the Coleman-Ames House, first housed the hardware retailer Joseph Coleman and his family and eventually the coal mine tycoon Miner T. Ames. In 1921, the building became office space for a publishing company and has not been residential since.

Meanwhile, the limestone house, also called the Kimball House, was originally home to the piano manufacturer William Kimball and his wife, Evalyne, After Evalyne’s death in 1921, it was transformed into a boarding house and, three years later, an architects’ club. It has not been residential since 1924.

The houses became a package deal for the first time in 1947 following their purchase by the Domestic Engineering publishing company. They are now physically connected through backyard coach houses.

As of now, it’s unknown whether the new buyers will use the shared 29,000-square-foot property as a single home or two separate entities.

Melanie Giglio and Marc Bahnsen of Compass represented the U.S. Soccer Federation in the selling of the mansion pair, which went for a total of $3.9 million.

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