From the outside, the 100-year-old Kroehler Mansion doesn’t look all that different from when Peter Kroehler built it in the early 1900’s. The inside of the former mayor of Naperville and furniture magnate’s home is now outfitted for Little Friends’ high school.
What’s Inside The 100-Year-Old House?
A total of 19 rooms are in the historic mansion. A room once believed to be the living room, is now used as a classroom, some bedrooms are now therapy areas, and the former dining room is now an office.
“We do incredible work with what we have. But we can do so much better and we can provide so many more opportunities for the kids we have if we had the right environment,” said Mike Briggs, the CEO and president of Little Friends.
Upstairs on the second floor, there are some remnants of the past. Bathrooms still have bathtubs and tile, but plumbing for the showers doesn’t work and parts of those areas are deteriorating.
Also on the floor is where you’ll find Kroehler’s bedroom.
“So it looks like this appears to be the master suite. So this was the master restroom, dressing area, and the previous classroom that we were in appeared to be the master bedroom,” Leanne Meyer-Smith said.
Just outside the master bathroom is a safe, which has never been opened by Little Friends.
“We have actually no idea what’s behind that. At some point if we’re able to tear the home down we would absolutely make sure we open that up and find out if there’s anything in there,” said Briggs.
HPC Votes No To Demolition Of Historic Mansion
A structural analysis and feasibility report by Farnsworth Group estimated that turning the mansion into single family home would cost around $90,000. Little Friends did their own report, and say estimated renovations would be near $4 million.
The Farnsworth report cities, plumbing, new kitchen, and garage as primary cost, but Little Friends says there are other issues that need to be addressed like HVAC, electrical, and plumbing issues.
“If we relocated the home site to another location we would build a new foundation,” said Meyer-Smith. “If we kept it here, we would have to do significant water and damp proofing on this basement. As you can see it was a brick down to a concrete ledge and it continuously seeps water.”
Little Friends has appealed the HPC’s decision and hopes to present to city council on November 19.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.