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Glasner House Owner Donates Preservation Easement

Photo by John Waters

The Glasner House, Wright’s 1905 design for Cora and William Glasner, along a ravine in Glencoe, Illinois, is now protected in perpetuity by a preservation easement held by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. Owner Jack Reed donated the easement, which protects the house’s exterior as well as all the significant spaces of its main floor. Reed bought the house in 2003 and then invested well over its purchase price in a major restoration of the house overseen by Vinci-Hamp Architects. The restoration included structural reinforcement of the roof, restoration of interior finishes and a renovation that added extra living space to the house’s lower level. Reed’s recent work on the house has focused on the restoration of its landscape.

When Reed bought the house, it was under threat from real estate pressures in the area. Preservationists feared that it would be demolished to make room for new construction. This was not the first time it had been under threat. In 1997, the house had been on the market and the Conservancy worked to save it. At that time, the house was included on Landmarks Illinois’ most endangered list. Preservationists breathed a sigh of relief when the house passed to preservation-minded owners, but the threat of demolition returned when the house went back on the market in 2003. Without the strong protection of a preservation easement, this scenario would likely be repeated the next time the house went up for sale. Through his donation of a preservation easement, Reed has ensured that his efforts to restore the Glasner House will be protected for future generations.

The house has long been considered unique among Wright’s buildings. In his renderings, Wright accentuated its ravine-side setting, a setting Reed is now working to restore. Soon after its construction, the house was promoted in publications as “the servant-less house.” Its open plan, with a dining area that is a part of a larger living area, has led to it being considered by some to be a forerunner of the Usonian house. The Conservancy applauds Jack Reed’s commitment to preserving and protecting Wright’s legacy though the donation of a preservation easement.

Posted on December 14, 2021

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