Statewide Endangered Updates


Ten Most Endangered Historic Places Technical Assistance Reports
With a grant from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Landmarks Illinois was able to provide follow-up technical assistance reports for six properties that were included on our 2011 and 2012 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places lists. Ranging from physical condition assessments and reuse recommendations for historic properties in Bloomington, Bolivia, Charleston, Freeport and Paxton to an organizational/fundraising action plan for the Kalo Foundation’s Iannelli Home and Studio efforts in Park Ridge, these reports will help guide next steps for advocates involved with preserving all of the sites. We hope the reports also can serve as models for similar building types and efforts in other areas of the state as well.

Technical Assistance Reports

Will Rogers Theatre, Charleston
Saved: The theatre was purchased in November, 2011 by preservation-minded owners who plan to fully restore the building to its former grandeur. The purchasers, Katie and James Troccoli of Ottawa, Illinois and Tim Burke of Los Angeles, California (an Ottawa native), also own the historic Majestic Theater in Streator, Illinois. They report that cleaning out the building has begun and hope to start renovation in spring, 2012. The new owners learned about the building from the publicity generated by its inclusion on Landmarks Illinois’ "Ten Most" list. Charleston Preservation Commission Chair Kit Morice said the listing not only created statewide awareness for one of their city’s most historic buildings, but also helped local officials recognize its architectural importance.

Iannelli Home and Studio, Park Ridge
Saved: The Kalo Foundation purchased this vacant set of buildings that were once the home and studio of noted artist Alfonso Iannelli. Targeted by developers for demolition and redevelopment, the foundation raised the needed purchase funds from local donors and closed on the property in August 2012. The foundation will undertake repairs on both buildings and pursue a fundraising campaign to establish the Iannelli Studios Heritage Center. To learn more about this effort, go to:


Illinois Main Street Program
Saved: New state legislation would reorganize this program – which serves 51 communities – into the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Introduced by State Representative Pat Verschoore, House Bill 3414, creates a statute to formalize the existing Illinois Main Street program.

Red Cliff, Moline
Rehab Pending: This 1874 frame Italianate was purchased in April 2011 by a private owner who intends to rehabilitate the property.


Lewis Pharmacy, Canton
Saved: Six months after the last milkshake was served and the soda fountain closed, the historic 1915 Lewis Pharmacy has found a thoughtful new owner. Canton native and historic preservation supporter, Bill Cook, purchased the former Lewis Pharmacy on August 7, 2009 with the intent of rehabilitating and reopening the 94-year-old institution. PHOTO
News: Go to

Porthole Barns, Greene County
Still threatened: In 2009 the Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association received a Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund Grant to fund a timber framer to demonstrate the basics of barn construction and general repair. The Porthole Barns were the main focus of the workshop during the annual Greene County Days festival.

Riverside Arcade, Riverside
Saved: A developer is restoring this vacant, 19th century commercial structure, an icon in this National Historic Landmarks community. Two retail tenants have been secured to date. Recent work includes restoration of the slate roofs, reconstruction of the missing cupola and finials, and reinstallation of art glass transom windows above the storefronts. The owner is taking advantage of the Cook County Class-L Property Tax Incentive and has applied for a Federal Rehabilitation 20% tax credit.


Spoon River Bridge, Bernadotte
Still threatened: A recent Hog Roast fundraiser brought in $9,700 to hire an engineer to help convert this 1903 structure into a pedestrian bridge. The Bernadotte Historical Society is working with county officials to transfer the bridge to the BHS. See for more information.


Viking Ship, Geneva
The Viking, a 78-foot-long Viking ship that sailed from Norway to Chicago to be exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, was officially transferred from the Chicago Park District to the trusteeship of Friends of the Viking Ship, NFP (FOVS) on September 12, 2012. The Viking was listed to Landmarks Illinois’ 2007 “Ten Most” list. Read more: Press Release.


Rock Island Arsenal Reservoir Bridge, Rock Island
Partial demolition: The historic stone bridge (on Arsenal Island) is still standing and still in dire need of repair. As far as can be determined, there are no imminent plans for such repair. The old stone reservoir on the arsenal was demolished a year after it was designated. It had been "repaired" over the years in a way that contributed to its unsustainable condition and was deemed, probably correctly, irreversibly decayed. PHOTO


Gillett Memorial Arch, Elkhart
Saved: A Landmarks Illinois Heritage Grant Fund will provide for maintenance and tuckpointing of the arch in spring 2007. The Elkhart Historical Society and local governments continue to tackle the issue of how to insure the bridge; but all parties have agreed to allow the Elkhart Historical Society to make repairs and maintain the bridge. PHOTO
Contact: Elkhart Historical Society, Gillette Ransome, (217) 947-2238.


Fuller Home Dome, Carbondale
Saved: The geodesic dome is Buckminster Fuller's most enduring legacy, and the city of Carbondale is the proud home of the only dome which Bucky lived in and owned. For RBF Dome NFP, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring Buckminster Fuller's legacy, restoring Bucky's home is just the beginning. Read about their plans here and then donate here: Every donation will be matched by the Save America's Treasure Grant, doubling all contributions up to $125,000. The Fuller Dome Home was a LI Heritage Grant recipient.


Alton City Hall, Alton
Saved: The Alton City Hall has been completely renovated. In February of 2007, the city government moved back into the renovated building which proved to be less expensive than demolishing and constructing a new city hall. PHOTO
Contact: Alton Area Landmarks Association,, (618) 465-3030.

Hibbard “Cupola” House, Marengo
Still threatened: The city has encouraged the owner to have the building painted, the brush cut back in the yard and the have the windows and doors boarded up. The House is still unoccupied after 26 years. PHOTO
Contact: Marengo Society for Historic Preservation, Lisa Trainor,, (815) 568-1107.

Illinois Central Railroad Depot, Mattoon
Saved: For many years the majority of this 1916, three-story structure had been vacant and deteriorating, despite its continued use as a stop on the Chicago-New Orleans passenger train route. Now the building has a new tenant – the Mattoon Arts Council (MAC) – which will house offices and community space for artists. With grant funding and private donations underwriting the $100,000 renovation bill, the MAC hopes to be in its new location soon. Go to: to be involved or contribute toward this effort. PHOTO

Kendall County Jail & Sheriff’s Residence, Yorkville
Still threatened: Efforts within the County Board to demolish the property have been held back. Small repairs on the building roof have been made through private donation, but the building still has substantial deferred maintenance issues. PHOTO
Contact: Stephanie Todd,, (630) 554-2321.


Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet
Still threatened: The Urban Land Institute, with a grant from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, completed a study in early 2012 for the long-vacant historic limestone building and its surrounding industrial and quarry sites on the city’s east side. Government officials and community leaders agree that this important landmark must be saved and the plan presented by ULI included the potential for recreational, retail and residential redevelopment. But ten years of neglect by the state have taken their toll on the historic building. ULI advised there is a small window of time to act and encouraged the City to continue to work with the State to protect this great site so that it can once again take its place in the life of the community. PHOTO

Mallinckrodt Campus, Wilmette
Saved: The main building of the Campus has been converted to condominiums. PHOTO


Loop Elevated Stations, Chicago
Still threatened: One historic station (Washington-Wells) was replaced by a new, contemporary-styled station. Several others continue to deteriorate and are scheduled to be replaced, although funding constraints make timing uncertain. PHOTO

Photo: 2010 and 2001 Most Endangered Historic Places, Manske-Niemann Farm, Litchfield (credit: Frank Butterfield)