A Historic Kenilworth, Illinois, Home Saved at the Last Hour

Skiff Home pic

Skiff Home
Image: chicago.curbed.com

As head of CH Ventures, LLC, in Chicagoland, Cameel Halim has pursued numerous development projects that involved the value-driven restoration and rehabilitation of historic buildings. Cameel Halim was featured in a 2006 Chicago Sun-Times article that focused on his and his daughter Nefrette’s successful efforts to save the Skiff Home on 157 Kenilworth, in a storied northern suburb of Chicago.

The late 19th century prairie-style home was envisioned by Daniel Burnham, a well-known local architect who was director of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and creator of the Chicago Plan. Unfortunately, a wave of knock downs of historic Kenilworth homes was gaining momentum and the Skiff Home was undergoing a pre-demolition sell-off auction organized by a local developer. This involved the sale of moldings, doorknobs, and even staircase banisters.

The residence was saved at the last hour, as pressure from Citizens for Kenilworth caused the developer to reconsider her plans and agree to negotiate the sale of the Arts & Crafts home to Mr. Halim. The sale was a small victory, considering the larger issue in which Kenilworth civic leaders were unwilling to institute the landmark and historic district ordinances set in place by neighborhoods such as Lake Forest, claiming that they impinged on property owners’ rights.

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