Major repairs at the Givins Castle, the landmark at the corner of 103rd Street and Longwood Drive, are officially underway.
After inspections found extensive deterioration in recent years, the turrets at the Castle, 10244 S. Longwood Dr., are being replaced in coming months, and the roof will be repaired on a building that is over 130 years old.
Jean Robinson, a member of a task force that led fundraising efforts to complete the repairs, visited the site on May 29 to see construction up close.
“We’re really thrilled,” Robinson said. “We’d have a celebration if it weren’t for the pandemic. We’re here to see the first stones come down.”
Indeed, workers removed the first stone from the southwest turret, which is nicknamed “Mama.”
The southeast turret, which is larger and called “Papa,” will also be repaired, as will the northeast turret, which is called “Baby” and has the same diameter as “Mama,” although it appears to be smaller. All the turrets are made of limestone.
Mama and Papa will have their stone replaced to roof level, while Baby will receive new stone at a slightly lower level.
The project, including roof repairs, is expected to be completed by November.
About $1 million was raised through the Givins Beverly Castle Restoration Campaign, with donations coming from members of Beverly Unitarian Church, which has owned the Castle since 1942, community members and city and state grants.
Donations are still being accepted.
Adair Small, a task force member, was the first person to notice cracks in one turret about three years ago. Cracks were also found in another turret, and steel bands were installed to keep the structures steady.
Mark 1 Restoration Company, of Dolton, is overseeing the repairs.
“These people really know what they’re doing,” Small said. “It’s so impressive.”
Her husband, Ken Small, became giddy watching Mark 1 staff prepare to begin the project.
“I thought it was really exciting to see the scaffolding go up,” he said. “As a kid who loved finger toys and Erector sets, I thought, ‘This is the best there is.’ … It’s fabulous up there.”
The Castle—touted as the only one in Chicago—was built in 1886 and is named after Robert Givins, a local real estate mogul.
The building is recognized by the Chicago Landmarks Commission as part of its Longwood Drive Historic District, and it is also part of the Ridge Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.
Robinson had relatives who assisted in fundraising efforts through a matching grant effort earlier this year.
Seeing construction begin, she said, was exciting.
“This makes it real.”
For more information on fundraising efforts, visit givinsbeverlycastle.org.
Donations may also be mailed to the Givins Beverly Castle Restoration Campaign, 10244 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago, IL 60643