- by the episodic historian & webmaster: Bob Bulmash -
||Pools to Pews: Why is a church in
our front yard?
The structure that the West Alliance Korean Church currently occupies was built in the early 1970's by Pulte Builders while it built Thornwilde's first phase (near the creek). It was a club house for Thornwilde residents. The Edgebrook area was then a prairie.
The club house had an outdoor pool and a heated indoor / outdoor pool. It also had a private bar with glass doors leading to a BBQ patio, a ballroom, office, kitchen & more. The foyer had a 30-foot faulted ceiling with a huge stone-faced fireplace, and nice furniture. One side of the ballroom was open, overlooking the foyer. Another side had sliding glass doors opening to an exterior balcony overlooking the pools. Locker rooms were downstairs.
The club house's roof extended over the front entrance, creating a large high canopy above a driveway, allowing guests to enter with comfort in rain or snow. The place was grand.
In summer, the pools were the place to be, and the club house was often used for festive events in the lives of our residents. Any Thornwilde owner that maintained their clubhouse membership could reserve exclusive use of the entire building at no charge, after it closed for the evening. This writer occasionally took advantage of the perk for small parties with a few friends. What a blast!
Pulte had told new buyers it would fund any membership revenue
||About Thornwilde -
Ever wonder why Pulte built two types of residences; town houses in Thornwilde and single family attached houses in Edgebrook? Well, the answer is, 'The City of Warrenville'.
When Thornwilde was completed; both the brown and the later beige units, Pulte went to the city council for approval of the next phase. But the council said it did not want the density of the Thornwilde portion of the development, in the next stage of Pulte's plans.
So, Pulte presented the council with a plan to build single family attached homes. The council evidently thought it would be less dense than another townhouse development, and approved the single family attached home proposal.
~ ~ ~
initially was about $200 yr / household) until club house
membership roles reached about 300 households.
Thornwilde home buyers thought that wouldn't happen for
Then, when Pulte's Edgebrook segment was completed, Pulte offered all Edgebrook and Thornwilde residents substantially reduced club house membership rates, thus expanding membership to a level where Pulte was no longer liable to fund the clubhouse's revenue shortfall.
The next year, without the Pulte subsidy, the cost of club house membership returned to normal levels. But Edgebrook residents, who paid so little the prior year, were reluctant to maintain their memberships at the higher rate. As the membership role decreased, costs per household for the remaining members increased, until the Thornwilde Club House was forced to cease operations.
Thornwilde now owned a beautiful, unused, locked structure. We hoped someone would buy it soon after it closed to mitigate our property tax liability and any damage that the elements and winter temperatures may have on the club house. We were also concerned that the empty building may attract vandals.
Soon, in the early 1980's, a health club manager made us an offer of $126,000 for the building and land, intending to operate the facility under a non-profit umbrella. We accepted the offer, and each Thornwilde home owner, who was a club house member at the time of its closing, got a check for around $2,200. Sadly, the health club lasted only about a year, again leaving the property vacant.
Then, some outfit offered to buy it and use the land for a strip mall. Though some residents didn't mind the idea, others (including this writer) fought against the rezoning of the property for commercial use. A number of Thornwilde residents attended city council meetings to block the rezoning. In response, the strip mall developer tried to spook other residents with the possibility that someone else could buy the property and turn it into a crematorium without the need for rezoning. He knew we'd be dead set against such a use.
Nevertheless, we held our ground and convinced the city to not rezone the property for commercial use.
A short time later, Advocate Health Care bought the property and used it as a regional headquarters. They stayed about 10 years; selling it in the mid-1990's to the current owner, the Korean West Alliance Church.
It was either the church or Advocate Health that enclosed the area under the driveway canopy in front of the club house, thus adding substantial floor space to the building. When you look at the building today, you'll see the siding in front is a different shade than the siding elsewhere. Also, both pools have been filled in.
Notes on what it was like.
<- in/outdoor pool