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Preservation Resources

Reports & Surveys


Rehabilitation and Reuse Opportunities for the Maywood Home for Soldiers’ Widows

With our consulting team, Landmarks Illinois believes that due to the building’s layout and location, an office or medical office conversion would offer an excellent reuse opportunity for the Soldiers’ Widows Home. We encourage the Village of Maywood Trustees and Village staff to market the Home together with the adjacent land at 1st Avenue and Lake Street for reuse and redevelopment. Incorporating this important piece of Maywood’s history into the redevelopment of this highly visible intersection could have a positive impact on both the surrounding area and the Village as a whole.


Rehabilitation and Reuse Opportunities for the Maywood Home for Soldiers’ Widows



State Historic Tax Economic Credit Study


This report, which examines the potential rehabilitation of historic buildings using a proposed 20% statewide historic tax credit, found that:


• A statewide historic tax credit would pay for itself and create jobs across the state.

• The existing River’s Edge Historic Tax Credit, available only in 5 cities, is not sufficient for attracting investment and creating jobs statewide.

• The state would receive revenues before it would allocate tax credits to historic rehabilitation projects.

• A historic tax credit would be immediately accessible to eligible properties in communities across the entire state.


State Historic Tax Economic Credit Study




Measuring the Economics of Preservation

PlaceEconomics has prepared a report on measuring the economic impact of historic preservation for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.


In the last fifteen years dozens of studies have been conducted throughout the United States, by different analysts, using different methodologies. But the results of those studies are remarkably consistent — historic preservation is good for the local economy. This short version of the full report includes highlights from some of this research.


Measuring the Economics of Preservation




Prentice Reuse Study Released

Landmarks Illinois, in late April 2011, issued a report that shows how the nearly-vacant former Prentice Women’s Hospital building can be reused, rather than demolished.


The building’s owner, Northwestern University, recently had announced plans to raze the clover leafshaped structure in late 2011, when its last occupant is relocated. The 36-year-old concrete-and-glass building, which was designed by influential architect Bertrand Goldberg, is considered to be one of Chicago’s most distinctive architectural designs from the 1970s.

Prentice Women’s Hospital Reuse Study

For the full background of this advocacy effort, click here.



Lathrop Homes Redevelopment and Preservation Plan


Since the listing of Lathrop Homes as one of Landmarks Illinois’ 2007 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, Landmarks Illinois has attempted to demonstrate the viability of this 1937-vintage public housing complex. In early 2008, Landmarks Illinois presented to Lathrop residents a redevelopment and preservation plan, prepared by Antunovich Associates.


Please Note: The redevelopment and preservation plan link above is for the Lathrop Homes Redevelopment and Preservation Plan in PDF format. The PDF file size is 11.5MB. This large of a PDF file is best viewed on your computer and not on the web. We suggest saving the Lathrop PDF to your desktop by right clicking the link above and saving the PDF to your computer desktop or other folder.



A Reuse Plan for Cook County Hospital: A Better and More Cost-Effective Alternative to Demolition


The nearly century-old building at 1835 W. Harrison Street in Chicago had been the subject of a nine-year advocacy effort to prevent its demolition. That battle ended on March 2, 2010, when the Cook County Board voted to support a rehabilitation proposal to convert the long-vacant structure into medical offices.


Landmarks Illinois, in 2001, had included the mammoth, two-block-long Beaux Arts-style building as one of its “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.” The listing had been prompted by the construction of a replacement hospital next to the historic building.


A detailed reuse plan, featuring design solutions and construction estimates, was prepared by LI in April 2003 and was widely distributed to public officials and developers. For the full background of this advocacy effort, click here.



The Impact of Historic District Designation on Property Values


A study complied by the Rockford Historic Preservation Commission with assistance from the Rockford Community and Economic Development addresses the common misconception that inclusion in a historic district lowers property values.


The study found just the opposite: “Whether we looked at assessed valuations over time or sales prices, properties in Rockford’s four residential historic districts generally performed better over the past 30 years than did equivalent properties in comparable neighborhoods.”

Rockford, Impact of Historic Districts On Property Values



Greystone Design Guidelines Booklet


After more than 100 years of use, Greystones can exhibit a range of maintenance and repair needs. To help identify and properly treat these issues, the Greystone Design Guidelines Booklet looks at the components of a typical Greystone – masonry, front porches, windows, roofs/cornices, interiors, and mechanical systems. The Booklet focuses on each of these parts, providing simple “Do” and “Don’t” guidance and illustrations to help homeowners better consider what repairs need to be made and what architectural features/materials need to be protected or preserved during the home improvement process.


   Greystone Design Guidelines Booklet.PDF


This booklet was created by the Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative®. Educating homeowners about the care and preservation of Greystones is a central part of the mission of the Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative®



How to Save a Landmark


Whether you belong to an existing preservation organization or to a group of individuals organizing now to save an important structure or site, the fight ahead of you may be difficult. This Guide is meant to help you through the process of protecting your community’s architecturally and historically significant properties.


The Guide lays out steps you can follow in your preservation efforts. In addition to presenting ideas for organizing, tactics, and strategies, the Guide also tells five success stories.


   How to Save a Landmark.PDF



To order a bound copy of How to Save a Landmark, please call us at (312) 922-1742. You may charge the shipping cost of $1.75 to Visa, MasterCard or American Express.


Joliet-Lemont Limestone: Preservation of an Historic Building Material


This booklet is intended as a practical guide to the conservation of Joliet-Lemont limestone. It is designed to assist building owners, architects and contractors in making informed decisions and to provide scholars and the public with the historical and technical understanding of this stone which was so important to the settlement and industrialization of Illinois.


   Joliet-Lemont Limestone.PDF


To order a bound copy of Joliet-Lemont Limestone: Preservation of an Historic Building Material, please call us at (312) 922-1742. You may charge the shipping cost of $1.75 to Visa, MasterCard or American Express.



School Siting Study


Local neighborhood schools are important anchors in a community. A study addressing the issue of school siting policy is being undertaken by the State of Illinois, with joint funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The study will address legislation and district procedures for determining new school locations and the barriers to maintaining existing neighborhood-based schools, most of which are historic buildings. A white paper will be produced for state legislators, in order to recommend policy changes and the benefits of renovating older schools and to retain schools that children can walk to. Landmarks Illinois is a co-sponsor of the study. For more information, go to www.standingupforillinois.org/green/school_siting.



Barn Preservation: A Survey of Illinois Activity


Above-average temperatures and a severe lack of rainfall this summer have heightened awareness of the struggles faced by small-operation farmers. As family farms struggle to endure, the preservation of historic agricultural structures—most notably, barns—is a growing concern. Each year, more and more of these “prairie cathedrals” disappear from our rural landscape.


In response, LPCI this past summer contacted county officials, AG extension agents, and other local leaders from nearly all of the state’s 102 counties. Here are a few key findings & impressive accomplishments found in the survey:




Key Findings






Architectural surveys of rural structures have been completed—or are ongoing—in 20 Illinois counties. In 16 of these counties, the surveys were initiated by a local historical society or a group of concerned individuals.


Barn tours have been established in 10 counties, ranging from Jo Daviess and McHenry counties in the north to Bond and Union counties in the south. All of these tours have become ongoing events, either as organized group or self-guided tours.


A range of other activities have promoted historic barns in at least 22 counties. These include the publication of barn calendars (e.g., Iroquois County), the organization of museum exhibits (e.g., Crawford County), and the restoration of barns for public use (a barn bed-and-breakfast in Wabash County received an award from the National Trust).




A survey of Champaign County, which was conducted by the Women’s Committee of the Champaign County Farm Bureau, documented over 650 barns. Rock Island County’s survey identified 450 barns.


The McLean County Barn Keepers, a nonprofit group, stages barn dances, publishes a calendar, and sponsors day trips of barns.


The Piatt County barn tour, now in its eighth year, attracted over 600 participants from seven states in 2004.


The Shelby County Historical Society recently published a book featuring 30 barns.


The Ryan Round Barn in Henry County is being operated by the Friends of Johnson Park Foundation, which recently raised over $5,000 to paint the barn and build a new ramp.



Our statewide survey also identified counties that might be interested in enacting a historic preservation ordinance. Currently, only five counties (Kane, Logan, McHenry, Sangamon, and Will) have preservation laws; but Logan County’s landmarks ordinance appears to be inactive.


This research also will help support the efforts of the Illinois Barn Alliance, a group that will be holding its 3rd annual conference, Sept. 16-18, in Ullin, 20 miles north of Cairo. For more conference information, go to Preservation Community Events.



For more information on our statewide survey, contact LPCI’s Advocacy Director, Lisa DiChiera, by e-mail at DiChieraL@lpci.org.


This survey was conducted in Summer 2005 by LPCI intern Nicholas Hayward, a graduate student in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University. He hails from the rural community of Chillicothe, Illinois.


Rural Preservation Activity in Illinois.PDF


(LPCI statewide survey, 108 pages)

Barn Activities in Illinois.PDF


Barn Surveys in Illinois.PDF

Barn Re-Uses in Illinois.PDF


Barn Tours in Illinois.PDF


  Illinois Initiative on Recent Past Architecture (IIRPA) Having recognized that there are several organizations committed to identifying and advocating for the protection of “recent past” architecture, LPCI has initiated a cooperative effort among these groups to organize a major survey of recent past architecture in the Chicagoland area. Click to view the IIRPA Survey.



Religious Properties


The Northeast Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Partners for Sacred Places, has just compiled a series of case studies showing new uses for closed religious properties from communities across the country. To learn more visit: www.nationaltrust.org/issues/houses_of_worship.


LPCI has prepared a short pictorial survey of Chicago’s endangered, unprotected, lost, and reused religious structures which is available for viewing by clicking the PDF file below. For more information on this issue go to Should Religious Properties Be Landmarked?


Chicago's Religious Structures: An Endangered Resource.PDF



Owner Consent Clause: Good or Bad?


Many communities debate whether or not to include an owner consent clause in their preservation ordinance, which requires that in order for a building to be landmarked, the owner must give his or her consent. While an owner consent clause is not encouraged by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency for local preservation ordinances, it is allowed.


Pia Hermoso, an intern for LPCI from the Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute, surveyed Certified Local Governments (CLG) in Illinois to determine which had owner consent clauses in their ordinances. Based on that, she inquired how each community assessed its preservation accomplishments. Her survey shows on average, CLGs without owner consent clauses have a slightly better track record in regard to landmark designations.


However, some CLGs with owner consent clauses have had effective landmarking efforts correlated with extensive educational outreach to historic building owners, specifically regarding the rehabilitation tax incentives available to owners of landmarked buildings. In either circumstance, it is clear education is the key to making owners comfortable with what it means to own a locally landmarked property. 


Preservation Ordinance Owner Consent Clause Survey.PDF







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tel. 312-922-1742 
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© Landmarks Illinois. All rights reserved. In addition to the copyright to this collective work, copyright to the materials which appear on this site may be held by the individual authors or others. Landmarks Illinois is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1971 and is the state's leading voice for historic preservation.