iOS app Android app More

Bobby Franks House Restored: Leopold And Loeb Murder Relic Getting A Facelift (PHOTOS)

Posted: Updated: 05/21/2012 4:50 pm

Bobbyfrankshouse
The former home of Bobby Franks at 5052 S. Ellis Street.

A house with strong ties to one of Chicago's darkest hours is getting a facelift.

The Franks Residence at 5052 S. Ellis St., adjacent to the Obama family's Hyde Park house, was once home to Bobby Franks, the victim at the center of what was once called "The Crime of the Century" in Chicago in the 1920s.

In 1924, when he was 14, Franks was kidnapped and murdered by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in an ill-fated attempt by the bright, young academics to commit a Nietzschean "perfect crime." The ensuing criminal trial captured the nation's attention: famed attorney Clarence Darrow tried to argue that Leopold and Loeb could not be held accountable for their actions, which were an unavoidable product of their high-society upbringing.

He lost, and both Leopold and Loeb were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The house once owned by Bobby's millionaire father, Jacob Franks, is the only relic that remains from the news-making crime based in the Kenwood community, according to the Chicagoland Real Estate Forum. The three-story house had fallen into disrepair after more than 10 years of vacancy.

Foster Design Build, a construction management company that just completed a similar high-profile historic rehab in the Kenwood area, will oversee the project.

"We are looking forward to restoring this landmark home and to tackling this renovation project that has many levels of complexities," said Robert Berg, President of Foster Design Build, in a statement.

The project will include approximately 10,000 square feet of complete renovation, including an adjacent coach house and garage, according to Foster Design Build's reconstruction plan. Roof leaks, broken water pipes and windows will present a challenge, but the group promises to restore the historic building to appear as it did a century ago.

Photo by Zol87 on Flickr.

H/T to Chicagoist.

Correction: A previous version of this story suggested that both Leopold and Loeb died while in prison. Nathan Leopold was in fact released from jail in 1958 and died in Puerto Rico in 1971.

Check out photos of the Franks house, and other Chicago-area landmarks related to the Leopold and Loeb crime:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Franks House

  • 54 Courthouse Place

  • 54 Courthouse Place

  • Franks Family Mausoleum

  • Bobby Franks Grave

FOLLOW CHICAGO

Filed by Lizzie Schiffman  |