A lot of Chicago’s roots have been torn out over the last decade or so. Marshall Field’s became Macy’s. White Hen became 7-Eleven. And Fannie May moved manufacturing to… Ohio.
While the offices eventually moved back home (though it’s owned by the Nutella people in Italy now), the betrayal still stings. So it was with no small sense of joy and gluttony that we devoured Dennis Rodkin’s report on WGN Morning News last week that Fannie May’s house has been saved.
Watchdog group Preservation Chicago has been barking about this one for a while. The 1898 home at 854 West Castlewood Terrace in the Margate Park neighborhood has been on the market for a little under a million clams, and many feared that it would be callously dismantled the way outsiders have treated other former icons like the Brach’s Confections factory on the west side, or the Frango mints kitchen on State Street. But Crain’s Chicago Business reports that locals paid over the the asking price in order to save the 6,300-square-foot home with three car garage. That’s $1,010,000 more commitment to this town than most of us have.
“Fannie May” was Mildred King Archibald Hyde, which is as much of a mouthful as a box of Mint Meltaways. She lived in the house while building her pseudonymous candy empire, and was still living there when she died in 1937.
Word in the neighborhood is that the home was in the middle of a renovation when it went on the market. Hopefully the new owners have the cash to finish the job. If only there was something they could sell in order to raise money…