Rebuffing B&B offer shames history

To the Editor:

Kenwood is justly proud of the magnificent homes that line its streets. With that in mind, I was saddened to read in the Herald of the controversy over two of its most important houses, Blossom and McArthur. My parents bought a house on Kimbark Avenue in 1950 for less than $20,000. Shortly thereafter my mother, Phyllis Will, and other “Kenwood ladies” formed the Kenwood Open House Committee to encourage others to purchase a home in our suburb in the city and prevent them from becoming rooming houses. Fast forward 60 years and we see the very significant long-term fruits of their labors as homes now regularly sell for well over a million dollars.

I believe my mother and her colleagues would also be saddened to see the community not supporting the restoration of these architecturally and historically significant buildings. I took the opportunity to tour them on Dec. 15 and was, once again, in awe of their beauty and the obvious work of Frank Lloyd Wright almost hidden inside them. I hope members of the community and the alderman will reconsider the very quick decision to deny permission to allow the houses to be rehabilitated and run as bed and breakfasts. A buyer with the resources to accomplish this and protect these gems should be embraced and encouraged. These buildings have long been a source of pride in the community and to deny the opportunity to return them to their earlier glory seems unthinkable.

Nikki Will Stein