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River Forest Bank Building
7753-71 Lake Street, River Forest
(William Drummond, 1912)




Although no plans have been made public to date, the Oak Park-based developer that purchased the property has stated that “anything’s an option.” Local preservationists fear the building will be demolished for a new condominium development. The building is included in the River Forest National Register Historic District, which means preservation incentives could be utilized to renovate and re-use the building. However, National Register designation provides no protection for the property and River Forest’s newly adopted local preservation ordinance requires owner consent for landmark designation and protection. The new ordinance was dubbed “The Weakest Law” by Oak Park’s Wednesday Journal (July 18, 2007).


At the corner of Lake and Franklin Streets, the building was designed as an apartment and commercial structure by noted Prairie School architect William Drummond. It exhibits the prominent features of a Prairie-style building, with a flat, overhanging roof and continuous bands of concrete trim to emphasize its horizontal lines. Drummond was the architect of many Prairie-style homes throughout the western suburbs. Before starting his own practice in 1909, he worked in the offices of many of Chicago’s most noted architects, including Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard E. Schmidt and Daniel Burnham.






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