I'm working on a column about the life of Springfield attorney and public citizen Logan Hay.

Most of today’s Springfieldians who have heard of Logan Hay know him because his name was attached to his nobly proportioned house at South Grand Avenue. More imposing than graceful, the house was a bit of Monticello Hay had built between Lincoln and Dial Court in 1905 in what was then the countrified fringe of town on grounds  reached from South Grand to Laurel.

Many years later, the house would become a minor local cause célèbre. After the mansion had fallen derelict, it was leased to a private school backed by the owner, Carolyn Oxtoby. She decided to sell to condo developers after ten years or so to free up capital for other projects. Edward Pree, a noted local lawyer and former high official in the Stratton Administration, argued that the house should be appropriated by the State of Illinois for official guests, as the Blair House in Washington is used by presidents. Alas, the state, which probably was the only possible buyer for a house of that size, did not want it; it was razed in 1979, an outcome Pree called “another irreparable loss to the city of Springfield.”

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