Larkin Center items, memorabilia set to go up for auction on Saturday
By Janelle Walker For Sun-Times Media December 12, 2013 3:38PM
Scott Bowers of Auction Consultants hopes to sell prints of a commissioned painting at $100 each to raise funds for the Larkin Center during an auction Saturday at the shuttered center. | Janelle Walker~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2014 12:52PM
ELGIN — Industrial ovens, chest freezers, computers and office furniture, and a commissioned oil painting and prints of that painting depicting the Larkin Center’s main building at 1212 Larkin Ave. all will go on auction at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Elgin-based Auction Consultants is handling the live auction at the old Larkin Center, clearing out everything left behind when the 117-year-old Elgin social service institution closed in October.
Proceeds from the auction will go toward paying down the center’s debt, said Beth Kruger, who had sat on the Larkin Center Board for the past seven years.
Kruger volunteered as a board member because her grandmother was a cook at the center when Kruger was in middle school. She often would spend time in the kitchen as her grandmother prepared meals for the youths living there, she said.
Later, her stepmother worked in the Larkin Center office, Kruger said.
Walking into the kitchen on the last day the center was open broke her heart, Kruger added.
Whatever does not sell Saturday likely will either be recycled or go into a Dumpster, said Scott Bowers of Auction Consultants.
Most of the computer monitors will go to recycling, Kruger said. Between the 200 employees who worked for the center when it closed and the school on Sports Way, there are many computers and office equipment for sale.
Lawrence Hall, the Chicago-based youth home that took over Larkin Center operations, did purchase items from the school that the organization wanted to retain.
But other things remain.
An upright piano and organ that had been in the school auditorium, for example, was moved Wednesday for placement in the auction.
Most prized at the auction may be the Suzanne Poursine Massion oil painting, commissioned in 2005 by Dr. Roberta Nauman Burnidge and W. James Burnidge. Nauman was a former Larkin Center Board member and benefactor.
Works by Massion, a Hampshire-based artist, are valued at about $3,000 retail, Kruger said.
In addition to the painting, 10 reproduction lithographs of the painting are for sale as well, Bowers said.
Those prints were once given to donors as thanks for their contributions to the center.
Other historical pieces — including photos and framed photos of children and staff during the Larkin Center’s time as an orphanage — are going to the Elgin Historical Society, Kruger added.
What happens to the historical Larkin Center building and campus is unknown at this time, as the center closed in heavy debt, she added.
The site sits on a city-block-size parcel.