McKee Preservation Group Inc. will use the grant to help replace the roof and stabilize the 1936 structure. Landmarks Illinois had included the McKee House on its 2017 list of the most endangered historic places in Illinois.
The village of Glen Ellyn is leasing the McKee House from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. As part of the lease, the McKee Preservation Group must raise $400,000 by October 2019 to restore the historic structure, or it will be demolished.
Group members have the goal of raising $65,000 this spring for the roof as part of an effort to preserve and restore the limestone building in the Churchill Woods Forest Preserve.
"At this point, one of the most important things we can do with regard to the preservation of the house is to get the roof replaced to stabilize it," McKee Preservation Group board member Roberta Wheatley of Glen Ellyn previously told Suburban Life. "The house structurally is perfectly sound, but with the roof being a problem, our initial goal is to raise $65,000 to replace the roof and to do a restoration of the entry door. The first phase is to get the building stabilized, and then the next phase will be to do interior work."
Wheatley said there is great interest in restoring the building and noted it could be used for a variety of purposes.
"This could be a focal point in that preserve," she said.
The McKee House was built as a Works Progress Administration project. The WPA program was a federal assistance program designed to put unemployed Americans back to work during the Great Depression.
It originally functioned as a forest preserve headquarters and Superintendent Robert McKee’s residence in the Churchill Woods Forest Preserve. The house has been vacant since 2002. District staff members had recommended the building be razed because of the high cost to repair it.
How to help
Contributions to McKee Preservation Group Inc. are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 44, Glen Ellyn, IL 60138. More information is available on the group's Facebook page at facebook.com/SavetheMcKeeHouse. The group also is seeking volunteers. Those who would like to help can contact the group by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.