Hi neighbors!

180 S. Channing recently sold for $200,000.

It sold of $295,000 in 2007 and $177,500 in 2013

Click here to view the listing and lots of nice interior pictures of 180 S. Channing today.

Where these new houses sit used to be a large curved driveway for a huge mansion that sat at the top of the hill.  Being so high it must have had a wonderful view of the city, especially from its belvedere ( an open-sided gallery, usually at rooftop level, commanding a fine view.) so to this day it is called Grand View.  The mansion's lot contained  the whole width of the block from Channing to Gifford. The homes at 165 S. Gifford and 175 S. Gifford were part of the original lot. There was a long driveway from Gifford up to the back of the house.  The hill the house sat on was actually a geological formation called a Kame - a huge pile of stone, sand and gravel left by a glacier.  When they dug the foundations the earth was orange gravel and potato sized rocks polished by the glacier. The developer took about 15 feet off of the top of the hill despite being told to leave it and to build a retaining wall. 

Here is how it looked before the houses were built. The circular driveway was here with the house being further up the hill.

Here is the mansion that stood there. The porch shown  is wonderful but is not original to the house.  It would have been an upgrade probably after the turn of the century:
A huge thanks goes to the Historical Society for letting us use the picture.

Here is a drawing of the back side of the house that faced Gifford. You can see part of the original front porch. It was not originally a wrap around like the picture above.

In the 50's or 60's the home was turned into a nursing home.  In 1975 the owner decided to tear it down and build a large high rise nursing home in its place.  For whatever reason the new building never came about.  The lot stayed empty and for sale for $200,000 for many years. 
Mark and Glenna Preradovic went into the site when they were bulldozing and saved the finial from the belvedere.  It is five feet tall.
Here is an original bracket from the home that was also saved by the Preradovics.

For several years the Gifford Park Association lobbied with the city to buy the vacant Grand View lot.  They wanted it to be a park with part of the lot on Gifford being a parking lot for the two huge apartment buildings on the corner.  Without adequate  parking they cannot be viable.  Councilman Wasilowski finally took on the project and the city was very close to buying the lot.  At the same time a developer heard about the property and bought it before the city could. 

A plan for 35 condos was presented to the Design Review Sub Committee.  It was close to becoming reality when the developer backed out because of the restrictions of the Preservation Ordinance.  Another developer bought it with plans for several houses facing Channing and two facing Gifford. The issue was a very contentions one with hundreds of e-mails exchanged by neighbors debating the plan. 

The Gifford Park Association paid an architect to come up with plans for a large condo building and carriage house resembling the original mansion on top of the hill.  The developer rejected the idea saying he had no experience with condos.   He decided against building homes on Gifford and asked for permission to build more than the rules allowed for  on the lot on the Channing side.  If allowed to do it he agreed to give the western portion of the lot to the city.  When it finally came down to happening, he sold it to the city for $80,000. 

The plans for the new homes were brought to the Design Review Committee and much discussion took place.  A lot of requirements were made to get the homes to fit into our existing neighborhood. 

Over the years there have been many comments made about the high porch aprons not looking correct.  The T-111 siding they used was to be temporary and there was to be landscaping in front of the homes.  The siding is still there and only two homes put landscaping in front of the apron to soften it. 

When the Parks Dept. hired a firm to help them plan the future of parks for the city they held an open hearing for public input.  It was suggested that the city owned portion of Grand View become a park. A public meeting was held to get input on a proposed park. Tentative plans were drawn up but never carried out. 

The  Grand View Homeowners Association mows the lot along with there own.  The western portion is not mowed and kept as a refuge for animals and native plants. 

Gifford Park Association
  |  gazette@gpaelgin.org | gpaelgin.org
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