Hoping for a Landmark Decision Monee’s Fuerst-Blue House an ‘important historical property’

If the 1920s-era English Tudor Style Fuerst-Blue House in Monee is approved for landmark status, it would be the first private residence there with the prestigious landmark designation.(Photo by Karen Haave)
If the 1920s-era English Tudor Style Fuerst-Blue House in Monee is approved for landmark status, it would be the first private residence there with the prestigious landmark designation. (Photo by Karen Haave)

By Karen Haave
A 1920s-era English Tudor Style house in Monee is under consideration as a Will County Historic Landmark.
The house would be the first private residence there with the prestigious landmark designation. Owned by Janet Blue, it is the third landmarked structure in the village, joining the ranks with St. Paul Cemetery and the Monee Heritage Center.
The Monee Village Board already approved an ordinance to authorize the Will County Historic Preservation Commission and Will County to “review and consider 5359 W. Margaret Street for historical preservation status.”
The ordinance notes that the village “recognizes and designates” the property “as historically significant.”
The original application for landmark designation was submitted to the Will County Historic Preservation Commission in 2021.
As WCHPC Commissioners, Christi Holston and Andy Partak researched the historical and architectural significance of the site in 2022.
According to background information compiled by Holston, the Fuerst-Blue House is a privately owned and occupied single family residence located in the Village of Monee. The original house was constructed c.1857 and extensively remodeled in 1925.
Therefore, the period of significance runs from c. 1857 to 1925 when the last major changes occurred. The Fuerst-Blue House has historical and architectural significance as a good example of the English Tudor Revival Style and has served as single-family home for the entirety of its existence.
The house, and its outbuildings have undergone minimal exterior and interior changes since the remodel of 1925 and the property has been a local landmark in village life for generations.
The property was bought by Henry Fuerst and his wife, Elfrieda, in 1925 for $5,000. A Chicago millionaire and contractor who built the Palmer House hotel, Fuerst planned to use the property as a summer home.
“The Fuersts made extensive upgrades to both the house and the grounds,” Holston noted. “They enclosed the property with an attractive fence and gates, planted a rose garden and drew up plans for arbors, trellis’s, a sunken garden, a vegetable garden and orchard. They also erected a coach house, caretaker’s cottage, and various other outbuildings.”
In his Architectural Evaluation, Partak wrote, “Ignoring later additions and repairs, the exterior of the buildings is an excellent example of the English Tudor Revival Style. The formal living spaces definitely follow this style, as well. The site itself gives the feeling of being in an English garden.
“Indeed, an important historical property.”
Before the board unanimously approved the ordinance, Trustee Heidi Gonzalez asked if the village would incur any financial responsibility for the property and its maintenance or improvements.
Village Attorney Larry Greczewski replied that all liabilities and responsibilities are with the owner.
The board agreed that landmarking the home would be a point of pride for the village.
Janet Blue, a former village trustee, later voiced thanks “to all those who have helped me restore it thus far, and a special thank you to Christi Holston for her work in pulling the historical data together for the presentation.”
Blue plans to open the house, which she has named The Rose Garden, as a Bed & Breakfast some time next year. She said the date has not been confirmed yet.
Holston said the WCHPC is likely to review the application for landmark designation at its January meeting.
“There shouldn’t be any issues with it,” she added, predicting its approval.
Karen Haave is a freelance reporter.

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