2017 Preservation Heritage Grant Recipients

Belleville Historical Society - Blazier House, Belleville

The Belleville Historical Society purchased the Terry and Thelma Blazier House in Belleville in November 2015. The historical society has invested about $60,000 toward restoring the home, designed by local Belleville architect Charles E. King in 1952. The historical society now seeks funding to convert one of the bathrooms into an ADA accessible restroom to meet code. The bathroom for this project is in a later addition to the home. The society intends for the house to serve as a Midcentury Modern Architecture Museum, which will feature the architectural works of Charles King.

Bishop Hill Heritage Association - Carpenter Shop, Bishop Hill

The Bishop Hill Colony, established in 1846, is a state historic site and a National Historic Landmark. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association (BHHA) is currently working to restore the Carpenter and Paint shop, which was constructed in 1851 and originally used as a workshop to create all of the furniture for the settlement and is currently host to the town’s post office and a gift shop. The building suffers from water damage due to improper grading around the building as well as leaking gutters and downspouts. The BHHA plans to complete a restoration of the building, beginning with Phase I to include regrading, gutter replacement and repointing.

Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission - Boardman Cemeter, Bolingbrook

The Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission (BBHPC) was established by the Village Board in 1993 to preserve Bolingbrook’s rich heritage. At the Boardman Cemetery, established in 1832, BBHPC is restoring headstones, grave markers and plaques at Boardman Cemetery. It is also seeking a non-invasive Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) at the Cemetery to identify unmarked burial locations and archaeological features. The inclusion of GPR testing will allow for a full account of persons buried on site, and allow for further cultural research of the area.

Urban Juncture Foundation: The Forum, Chicago

The Forum, located in Bronzeville in Chicago, is a complex of three connected buildings designed by Samuel A. Treat. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the Forum played a key role in labor and civil rights, fraternal and social groups, culture and commerce that were at the core of Chicago’s Black Renaissance in Bronzeville. The owner plans to develop retail and performance space in the building, but currently needs to complete structural repairs that will address key safety issues.

Music Institute: Music Institute of Chicago building, Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago is located in a building originally designed as the First Church of Christ Scientist by Solon S. Beman in 1912. A three-year renovation converted the church into the Music Institute and Nichols Music Hall, which reopened in 2003. This adaptive use was honored with LI’s Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award. The Institute is seeking funds for masonry restoration of the main entrance to address safety concerns. As the scope of this project is very large, funding is requested for the restoration and cleaning of the stone urns at the main entrance.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County: Sagawau Farmhouse, Lemont

The Sagawau Farmhouse is a two-story, wood-frame structure dating from the mid-1850s located in the Cook County Forest Preserve in Lemont. The farmhouse was a private residence until 1936 when the YWCA assumed ownership and used the building for a girls’ summer camp. It was also was part of the interracial camp from 1934 until 1952 and is the only remaining structure from the YWCA period of use. The Forest Preserve has owned the property since 1952, using it the as a ski lodge and nature center. The Forest Preserve is working with Loyola University students on a National Register of Historic Places nomination. However, there it is in need of structural repairs due to water infiltration.

City of Lincoln: The Tropics sign, Lincoln

The Tropics neon sign is a classic example of Route 66 signage. The 25-foot-long, 10-foot-tall sign was installed in front of the Tropics Restaurant in 1950 and is in dire need of restoration. The restaurant closed and was later demolished in April 2017 to make way for a McDonalds. While the sign was moved slightly from its original location and sits on McDonald’s property, the City of Lincoln entered into an easement agreement in which the City is responsible to operate, maintain and repair the sign. The Tropics Sign Project Committee is now seeking funds to restore the sign.

Maeystown Preservation Society: Maeystown Stone Bridge, Maeystown

A stone arch bridge over Maeystown Creek marks the entrance to Maeystown – an entire village listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is a landmark itself, depicting the craftsmanship of the German stonemasons who were among the early settlers of the village. Although the bridge has passed the last IDOT inspection, the Monroe County Highway Department has concerns for the condition and integrity of the structure. The Maeystown Preservation Society is seeking funds to install a culvert adjacent to the bridge wing, which will redirect rain water and help eliminate future damage on the wing spans.

Save the Massac: Massac Theatre, Metropolis

The Massac Theatre, designed by O.W. Steigemeyer in 1938, closed in 1978 and has changed hands multiple times and has sat vacant since 2006. Save the Massac, Inc., a community organization with a mission of preserving the theatre, currently owns the building and has installed a new roof. Currently, the group is looking to install a new roof and make structural repairs to the building’s west wall.

Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation: LeTourneau House, Peoria

The LeTourneau house in Peoria was part of R.G. LeTourneau’s first steel housing system and community designed in 1936. It has not been used since the 1980s. It had previously been used an office at the manufacturing facility where it is currently located. The house will be relocated through an effort called the Steel House Revival, which is a collaboration of three cultural organizations: Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation (CILF), Peoria Historical Society and Wheels O Time Museum. Although legally owned by CILF, the house will be on permanent display at the Wheels O Time Museum. CILF wishes to relocate the house.

City of Wilmington: Old City Hall, Wilmington

Constructed in 1879, the former Wilmington City Hall was used continuously as the formal seat of government until 1992 when a new city hall was constructed. The building currently serves as a museum and office for the Wilmington Historical Society. In cooperation with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the City of Wilmington is undertaking a broad-range study of the downtown to develop a vision and action plan for the improvement, enhancement and preservation of the area, which includes preservation of the Old City Hall. The City is seeking funds to assist with re-roofing the structure. This is the first part of a long range plan for the building’s rehabilitation.

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