Known as the “Joel Wiant House” to many West Chicago residents, the structure located at 151 West Washington Street has become a regular place to visit and observe as it undergoes a complete restoration.
What was once a building with serious structural and cosmetic deficiencies and at risk of being demolished, has now become a treasure reflecting the craftsmanship and grandeur of the past. Originally constructed in 1859, the home saw many changes over the years and most recently was used as office space on the first floor with two, single bedroom apartments occupying the upper level.
The West Chicago Community Center (WCCC), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to preservation and education, saw the challenge as an opportunity to meet their mission in a big way. The City agreed to sell the building to the WCCC with the condition that the exterior be improved to eliminate code violations that had existed for many years.
“The restoration has gone well beyond simple code compliance; this has become a labor of love with the goal of making it a showplace.”
David Sabathne, President of the WCCC
Dental and crown moldings were restored and fabricated to an exact match. Brick and mortar were replaced where structural integrity became a serious concern, adhering to the original formula which did not contain Portland cement, a much harder mortar that is used in today’s construction.
Interior improvements have now begun as the cold weather prohibits additional exterior improvements. There are however, plans to completely reconstruct the original east side porch including the return of the roof which was removed decades ago.
Information for this article is courtesy of the WCCC.