The Maywood Home for Soldiers Widows after improvements were made to the building’s exterior last year. | Courtesy Trustee Michael Rogers
Monday, May 30, 2016 || By Michael Romain || UPDATED: 5/31/16
To recognize Memorial Day, WBBM set its sights on Maywood’s historic Home for Soldiers Widows, 224 S. First Avenue.
The “beautiful red brick Georgian building” was featured in a May 30 broadcast along with Maywood Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Tom Kus, who described the building as “one of the few structures that still links Chicago to the Civil War.”
The building was constructed in 1924, 60 years after the Civil War ended, but as CBS points “there were still some Civil War widows around.”
The Georgian Revival building was designed by renowned Maywood architect Francis E. Dunlap and built in 1924 to house the widows and children of Union Civil War veterans.
In the late 1970’s, after the last of its Civil War-related clientele had either died or moved out, the building was re-purposed to house the mentally ill. In 2003, however, a kitchen fire resulted in the building’s vacancy and it’s been vacant ever since.
In 2008, the Village of Maywood purchased the building and the two lots adjacent it, eventually pouring nearly $70,000 in TIF funds to restore part of the building’s exterior.
According to the radio report, “Preservationists are in the process of trying to get the building landmark status and have it listed on the National Register of Historic places, Kus says.
“The building is historic, but Kus and other Maywood leaders hope its future use is as a restaurant or a club, anything that can bring revenue to the suburb that has had its struggles.
“Kus says the home is a reminder of Maywood’s rich patriotic history.
“‘This is a very strong veteran community here,’ he says.” VFP
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