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Historical society to plaque Lorimer House in Crystal Lake

Published: Monday, May 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

UNION – The McHenry County Historical Society Committee will plaque the Josephine and William Lorimer Jr. House, 615 Lake Ave., Crystal Lake, at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The current owners, Rudolph Magnani and Lynn Lourie, have preserved and restored this 1929 grand residence and will be awarded the plaque in a public ceremony.

In the 1920s, Chicago businessman William Lorimer Jr. was doing well in the timber industry. His business required him to make frequent business trips south, and he often was accompanied by his wife, Josephine, who was inspired by the South’s pre-Civil War architecture.

Eventually, the Lorimers bought several acres just across the street from Crystal Lake’s Main Beach, bordered by Lake Avenue, Country Club and Ringling roads. By 1928, they hired a local builder, W. Frank Robbin, to create the Lorimer Mansion, a bit of Natchez, Miss., in Crystal Lake.

Completed in 1929, this 5,000-plus-square-foot Federal Revival home, with its truly magnificent white portico, centrally located Palladian window and unique white glazed brick Duntile walls, often was referred to as “the White House.”

The Lorimers’ luxurious White House lifestyle was short-lived as the Depression took its toll on their business, and by 1930, they were forced to leave.

Through the years, several families came and went, and the home was divided into a rather neglected duplex. Today, thanks to the restoration efforts of the current owners, the Lorimer home once again can hold the “White House” title.

The McHenry County Historical Society invites people with architectural and/or historically significant buildings, homes, businesses or farms to apply for a plaque.

To do so, contact the McHenry County Historical Society at 815-023-2267, Info@MCHSonline.org or visit www.MCHSonline.org.

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