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Landmarks Illinois Events

Preservation Snapshot Lectures



National Register of Historic Places: Helping or Hindering Legacy City Preservation?


Michael Allen, director, Preservation Research Office in St. Louis






National Register of Historic Places: Helping or Hindering Legacy City Preservation?

Date: Monday, May 11 – 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Speaker: Michael Allen, director, Preservation Research Office in St. Louis


The National Register of Historic Places, the backbone of American preservation practice for nearly 50 years, can look more like an impediment than a helpmate for the new era of legacy city preservation. In some cases, it actually makes preservation of places important to people more difficult. Places that matter to people don’t always matter because of the way they look—they matter because of what they mean. Michael Allen, the director of the Preservation Research Office in St. Louis, will discuss rightsizing, legacy cities, and real estate tools.


Presented in partnership with Landmarks Illinois’ Skyline Council and Häfele.


May 11, 2015 Lecture


Learning objectives:


Learn how the National Register of Historic Places designation process and the federal historic tax credit application process work;

Learn the distinction between architectural and cultural significance of properties;

Learn what "rightsizing" means for urban planning;

Learn what alternatives for preservation exist when properties cannot be listed in the National Register of Historic Places and cannot received historic tax credits.


This lecture provides 1.0 Learning Units for AIA.


About the Speaker


Michael R. Allen is the founder and director of the Preservation Research Office and a lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. His writing on historic preservation, architectural history and public art has appeared in Next City, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Temporary Art Review, PreservationNation, nextSTL and other outlets. 


Admission: Free

Registration: Required at landmarksillinois.eventbrite.com

Place: Häfele, 154 W. Hubbard St., Chicago

Photo: This building in St. Louis is not eligible for National Register of Historic Places listings, along with thousands of other historic buildings in cities across the country. As a result, there are almost no resources for its preservation and it almost certainly will be demolished.




Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago


Nick Freeman






Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago

Date: Thursday, May 21 - 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Speaker: Nick Freeman, author and artist


Large-scale neon signs have been a staple of the nocturnal American commercial landscape since the 1940s. The principal purpose was advertisement for auto-oriented uses, including restaurants, motels, shopping centers, car dealerships and small businesses. However, the designs of the signs themselves—including bright lights, colors, and geometric forms—are a testament to the art of the neon sign maker as well as to the spirit of their times. In his forward author Nick Freeman asks, “What constitutes a great sign? For me it’s an elusive synchronicity of color, shape, typography, and iconography, enhanced by authenticity and eccentricity.” Mr. Freeman will discuss the “gaudy, garish, and downright spectacular signs” of Chicago’s rich neon heritage.


To purchase: Good Old Neon: Signs You’re in Chicago

May 21, 2015 Lecture


About the Speaker


Nick Freeman, a life-long resident of the Chicago area, has been involved with words and pictures throughout his professional career. Starting at Feldkamp-Malloy, one of the last of the old-time art studios in the city, he spent 30-plus years in advertising--god help him--serving as production director at Leo Burnett and other agencies. He now devotes his time and attention to his first love, oil painting, and has exhibited his work in a number of local and regional shows. His art, both paintings and photography, can be seen at galleryfreeman.com.


Admission: Free

Place: The Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 10th floor, Chicago

Building Check-in: Lecture attendees will be required to sign in at the Roosevelt University security desk on the Main Floor, Michigan Avenue entrance. A valid photo ID is required to gain access to the building.



Landmarks Continues Partnership with The Auditorium Theater


Celebrating The Auditorium at 125Landmarks Illinois is pleased to continue its partnership with The Auditorium Theater for Spring 2015. The Preservation Snapshots lecture series will be held at Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, formerly the dining room of the Auditorium Hotel.


Learn about more Celebrating The Auditorium at 125


Tours of The Auditorium Theatre are available on Thursdays at 10:30 am. Tour tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased beginning 30 minutes prior to the tour at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office and in advance at Ticketmaster. More


    General Information  


Experts in preservation - but also skilled in wit, humor and easy understanding - will present talks on a specific subject each month. Before each lecture there will be a Preservation Update, with announcements about upcoming meetings, other lectures and upcoming events related to preservation. Join us in our new location in The Auditorium Building, Roosevelt University’s Murray-Green Library, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, 10th floor, Chicago.






    Past Lectures  



January “Chicago’s Heroic Architecture”


Presented in partnership with One Book One Chicago

March "Last Is More: Mies, IBM and the Transformation of Chicago"

April "Wright’s Dana House and the Preservation of Houses Created as Complete Works of Art"


January “International Superstar!The Significance of The Auditorium Building”

February "Henry Hobson Richardson and His Chicago Legacy"

March "Restoring The Auditorium Building: The Earliest Years"

April "Tracking the Lost Treasures of the Auditorium"

May “Lost to Progress: Congress Street, the Auditorium, and the South Loop”

June "Trailing Louis Sullivan: The Restoration of Ganz Hall"

September "Sullivan in the Loop"

October "The Auditorium in Context: Chicago in the late 1880s"

November "Historic Chicago Theaters"


Our 2014 lectures were presented in partnership with The Auditorium Theatre to honor the theater’s 125th anniversary.


January “It’s All About the Details: Randolph Tower Terra Cotta Restoration”

February “Ghost Façade: 618 S. Michigan”

March “Mies van der Rohe and Historic Preservation: A Report and Prognosis"

April “Hairpin Lofts: Art Deco Gem Transformation”

May "The Architecture of River Forest”

June "Wells Street Bridge Rehabilitation: A Moveable Monument Restored”

September "The Architecture of Barry Byrne"

October "Battledeck House: Modernism and Mechanization in Highland Park"

November "Construction, Demolition, and the Remaking of LaSalle"


Our 2013 and all previous lectures were presented in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Center.


January “Henry Ives Cobbs’ Chicago”

February “A Star is Reborn”

March “Strike! Chicago's Early Bowling Recs”

April "Myth Busters: A New Perspective on the Chicago School"

May “Typography of Courtyard Apartment Buildings: Rogers Park 1907-1933”

June “The Ross House: A Laboratory for Green Building Technology”

September “Saving Goldblatt's: The story of a ragtag community's battle (and victory!) to preserve a neighborhood landmark”

October, "Glessner House at 125: History and Preservation"

November, "Chicago’s Own American Palace"


January “Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital”

February “Absolute Sullivan”

March “Houses of Tomorrow Today”

April “Lake Point Tower: A Design History”

May “Special K: Chicago’s K-Town Historic District”

June “McCormick Place REDUX Winner”

September “Filming Chicago’s Loop”

October “40 Over 40”

November “Chicago’s Movable Bridges”









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