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Cameron's House From "Ferris Bueller" Among Threatened Landmarks

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 17, 2009 3:20PM

Photo via Landmarks Illinois

When we were wee lads growing up in Highland Park, we dreamed of owning this one particular home in our neighborhood, which was only fitting given our love of exotic cars and modern architecture. And while riding bikes with our friends one day, we watched a film crew drop a red Ferrari out the back of its glass garage. That, of course, ended up becoming one of the most famous scenes in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," but the home's cinematic legacy may not be enough to save the mid-century masterpiece. The Rose House and Pavilion is included on Landmarks Illinois' latest list of endangered architectural landmarks in our state. Home to Ferris' friend Cameron in the film, the sleek glass house with its own car museum -- cantilevered over the ravine below -- was Designed by A. James Speyer for textile designers Ben and Frances Rose. Completed in 1954 (Pavilion in '74), the Highland Park home remains in relatively good shape for its age. So why is it threatened?

Frances Rose passed away earlier this year, and the house is currently for sale -- at a price tag of $2.3 million. The fear is that lofty asking price and large lot might induce somebody to buy the property and sub-divide it into multiple lots. Prime East Highland Park is quite difficult to come by these days. A number of potential buyers have inquired with the city about tearing down the house and splitting the lot, and while it's protected by landmark status, a prolonged time on the market might compel the city to allow for its demolition. Hey, if we had $2 million, we'd snap it up in a second. Alas, our paycheck wouldn't come close to covering the monthly mortgage payments. The Rose House is joined on the 2009 list of endangered landmarks by a trio of Frank Lloyd Wright homes on the North Shore, the former Libertyville Township High School, and the South Side Masonic Temple.