The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed B.Harley Bradley House in Kankakee features a recently restored rain garden thanks to members of the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford Assocation of REALTORS® (KIFAR). KIFAR chose this historic home as their bicentennial legacy project, providing landscaping restoration and new foliage to the rain garden area. 

The Bradley House is operated by the Wright in Kankakee Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the upkeep of the historic house. While the home was previously restored, the grounds still needed work, specifically the landscaping in front of the home, where the rain garden formerly existed. 

“KIFAR was excited to take part in the restoration of the rain garden at the Bradley House,” said Leanne Provost, Past President, of KIFAR. “The rain garden was part of the original home, but it fell into disrepair in past years.” 

Due to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design there are no gutters on the roof to channel the rain.  It is designed so that the rain will run off into this small sunken area known as the rain garden. Using a grant from the Illinois REALTORS®, KIFAR purchased appropriate plants that will thrive in this rain garden environment. Members volunteered time to replant the area.  

Provost adds, “We did the groundwork in June of 2017 with the planting of the various species of plants, but now this year we can see the results, as the tiny plants have grown considerably.”  

The Bradley House was built in 1900 and was one of two homes that marked the beginning of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style architecture that he is known for. These homes were also the first where Wright was able to have total control over the exterior and interior, including furnishings, art, and windows. Today, the house is open for tours, is the location of many local events and meetings.

REALTORS® across the state are working with heart in their communities to complete projects like this to commemorate the Illinois Bicentennial. KIFAR’s project is one of more than 30 legacy projects supported by our local REALTOR® associations. 

Projects have included fundraising for local historic home improvements and community murals or promoting local historical properties and societies. Illinois REALTORS® donated land in downtown Springfield next to its headquarters and built Bicentennial Plaza – a REALTOR® Community Partnership, which is a signature project of the state bicentennial celebrations. 

The association is an official endorsed partner with the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, which oversees the state’s plans for the milestone birthday. 

(This blog post is part of a series over the next several months covering Illinois REALTORS® local associations legacy projects leading up to the state of Illinois 200th Birthday. Learn more.) 

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