Moving History in the South Loop

Rees House being moved

Moving sucks.  Along with a wedding and a death in the family, it’s one of the most stressful events in a person’s life.  Sometimes it helps to have a professional help you out. Especially when that professional has 240 wheels at his disposal.

The big event in the South Loop this rainy day was Wolfe House and Building Movers, quite literally, moving house.  The historic Rees House ever-so-slowly crawled from 2110 South Prairie Avenue to 2017 South Prairie Avenue as Chicago Architecture Blog photographer Daniel Schell documented its trek.

Preparations for moving the 187-ton home have been underway for months, including removing trees and overhead wires, and padding the ground in places with steel plates and gravel to spread the weight.  Hefted on an enormous dolly, and braced with steel beams, the event had all the gravitas of a Discovery Channel public spectacle, but without 65,000 spectators.  Instead, a few die-hard history, architecture, and preservation fans along with curious locals mingled along the barricades and speculated about what might happen if this or that happened.

The Rees House was built in 1888, and designed by Cobb & Frost.  We’ve long admired it, standing stoic, the last Prairie-era mansion on its block.  Now it joins other homes of its pedigree and era a block to the north.  Its former location will soon become the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed DePaul Demon dome, part of the latest controversial and complicated McCormick Place expansion project.

Location: 2110 South Prairie Avenue, South Loop

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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