The Serbian American Museum & Club St Sava has been in operation since 1952 from a historic 11,400 square foot mansion in Lake View East. This extraordinary Prairie Style home at 448 W. Barry Ave was designed by Frederick Perkins and completed in1902. Its graceful proportions, broad porch, intricate classical ornament, unique and highly-ornamented arched third floor dormer and fine detailing with Roman brick make it a natural candidate for consideration as a Designated Chicago Landmark.
The Serbian cultural organization listed the building for sale in the July citing the inability of the non-profit to cover the costs for some needed repair work. Membership has dwindled as much of the Serbian community has moved out to the suburbs. The museum board wishes to relocate the museum operations to a new location with easy expressway access and with ample parking.
The property was listed for $3.85 million. The building includes 8 bedrooms, 5 and 1/2 baths, 12-foot ceilings, a theater, a full basement and a coach house. The Serbian cultural organization hoped for a preservation buyer, but chose to accept an offer from a builder with plans to demolish the building and build multifamily housing.
On October 18, a demolition permit application was submitted on behalf of the Serbian American Museum to “wreck and remove” the building and coach house.
This orange-rated building is architecturally outstanding and has served an important cultural resource for the Chicago Serbian community for over 60 years. Preservation Chicago would fully support a historic landmark designation. Preservation Chicago urges the City, 44th Ward Alderman Tunney, Lake View neighborhood organizations and Lake View neighbors to take steps to protect this important historic landmark.