The weekend of August 5-7, 2022, estate liquidators Ty & Lynne McDaniel, owners of Estate Sale Goddess, drew a large crowd of shoppers to the former estate of prominent power couple William E. and Peggy Brazley in Olympia Fields, IL.
The 7,000 square feet 15-room mansion, designed by Brazley, has a chef’s kitchen with several cookbooks, an Olympic-size pool, billiard room, sauna, movie theater, bar, and a lower-level walk-in wine cellar.
The Brazley’s were the owners of the largest black-owned architectural firm in the Midwest. William E. Brazley & Associates was founded in 1975 in Matteson, IL. The firm had more than 40 employees and two additional offices. In its 30-year history, the firm completed more than 500 projects, including McCormick Place Annex, cargo facilities for Lufthansa and Air France at O’Hare Airport, the Convocation Center at Chicago State University, Navy Pier expansion, the modernization of Cook County Hospital, and several churches and schools in the Chicagoland area and the states of Indiana and Michigan.
Architect William E. Brazley, Jr. graduated from Thornton High School in Harvey and obtained his degree in architectural engineering from Purdue University. Brazley was a Director of Facilities Management at Governors State University in University Park. Brazley was instrumental in fundraising for the late Mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington.
In 1992, Brazley and Eric Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Johnson Product Co., broke racial barriers as the first African Americans to be approved for membership at the Olympia Fields Country Club. William E. Brazley passed away on November 8, 2008. Brazley’s wife and socialite, Peggy, was a member of Jet Setter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Inc.
The McDaniel’s, known as the god and goddess of estate sales, have hosted estate sales for the families of husband and wife, Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press and actress Etta Moten Barnett, Ebony Magazine Editor Lerone Bennett, and Olympian Jesse Owens.
Estate sales shoppers arrived early Friday morning outside the home of the Brazley estate. Ty McDaniel provided food catered by Evelyn Shelton of Evelyn’s Food Love and a music playlist featuring John Coltrane/FELA mashup.
The Brazley estate included an abundance of furniture, designer clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry, and fine artwork. Shoppers walked into a time capsule of the history of the lives of a black architectural power couple. Some historical items in the home that were for sale include a vintage signed photograph from a young Pearl Bailey, authentic slave shackles, Baby Grand Wurlitzer piano, William Brazley’s high school diploma, Rogers Jeweler’s engagement payment book, wedding invitation, and a love letter. Lynne McDaniel says, walking into the double doors of the Brazley’s mansion felt like she was in a palace. “The Brazley’s had impeccable taste, traveled all over the world, they knew and got what they wanted,” says McDaniel.
The McDaniel’s call themselves cultural anthropologists. Every estate is unique and different and has a story. “From the photographs, clothing, fine art, and memorabilia, we put together a story for people to come out and shop for precious items to cherish,” says McDaniel.
For updates on future estate sales from the Estate Sale Goddess, go to estatesalegoddess.com.
Tammy Gibson is an author, re-enactor, and black history traveler. Find her on social media @sankofatravelher.