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Chicagoland Watch List Property Suffers Damaging Fire

Chicago

 

Sunday, February 15, the Washburne Trade School suffered a four-alarm fire, believed to have been accidentally started by a homeless person taking refuge in the building. The building is located in the Little Village neighborhood at the corner of 31st Street and Kedzie Avenue. Washburne was on Landmarks Illinois’ 2006-2007 Chicagoland Watch List.

The Washburne Trade School is a Prairie-style structure dating from 1909 (Nimmons & Fellows). A more deteriorated 1935 Art Moderne addition was torn down two years ago.

The local alderman and many in the community had wanted the vacant complex torn down two years ago to create a community park. After successful negotiations with the City, the park was shifted to another location and local advocates and community leaders had recently agreed to pursue conversion of part of the Washburne site to a smaller park and part of the building for affordable housing. The recent fire may now make such a plan difficult. The city’s Building Department and Chicago Board of Education, which still owns the building, are expected to have a structural assessment in the upcoming weeks.

Last summer, the former Westinghouse High School (Bunte Candy Factory, Schmidt, Garden & Martin, 1909, 2005-06 Chicagoland Watch List) was also lost to demolition for a new athletic field. If Washburne is demolished, it would be two losses of Prairie School industrial buildings in one year.
 

 
         
 

 

 

 

 

 

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