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Statewide Endangered

2012 Ten Most Endangered Historic Places 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bresee Tower

2-4 N. Vermilion St., Danville
(Vermilion County)

 

Vacant since 2006, the Classical Revival Bresee Tower was built in 1917 as the First National Bank, designed by the Chicago firm of Mundie & Jensen. At twelve stories, the Bresee Tower is the tallest building in Danville. Later named for brothers Paul and H.R. Bresee, who bought the building in 1963, the tower is now owned by a Kentucky-based company that is unable to finance a renovation. The company is willing, however, to “gift” the building to a non-profit. The County, the City and local groups are working together to strategize on redevelopment options and are committed to finding a rehabilitation solution. But the continuing deterioration of the building’s terra cotta facades is cause for great concern and shortens the window of opportunity for saving this landmark building. Because the building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, federal rehabilitation tax credits could be used as part of a redevelopment.

In 1916 First National Bank hired Mundie & Jensen, the successor firm of Jenney, Mundie & Jensen, to design a building reflective of contemporary trends in banking architecture. Headquartered in Chicago and founded by William LeBaron Jenney, the father of the skyscraper, Mundie & Jensen had already built several other Classical Revival buildings in the Danville area. The firm’s Baum Building, along with another significant building, the Temple Building, were listed on Landmarks Illinois’ Ten Most Endangered List of 2001. These two buildings have since been demolished, leaving Bresee Tower the only remaining significant representation of this era and style. With the emerging economic boom of the early 1900s, Classical Revival became the favored architectural motif for banks, indicating stability, permanence and rationalism. The bank building was a real estate investment and a symbol of the prosperity of the institution. At the time, a Classical Revival bank at a major intersection showed that a community had achieved prosperity and stability. Bresee Tower still speaks to Danville’s stature in Vermilion County.

In 1963 the Bresee brothers purchased the building and utilized its height as a broadcast point for WIAI radio station. The current owner, a Kentucky broadcasting company, purchased Bresee Tower in 1993.

The nature of the site, which requires a narrowly configured building, actually serves to enhance the property by increasing the amount of natural light and ventilation, as opportune today as when it was built. It is therefore conducive to a variety of uses, either as residential or office space. It is located in a TIF district and a local enterprise zone, adjacent to the primary business district and local and county government offices.
 

What You Can Do

 

For more information on The Bresee Tower, contact: 

 

Downtown Danville, Inc.
Downtown Danville, Inc.
149 N. Vermillion Street
Danville, IL 61832
(217) 443-3886

info@downtowndanville.org

 

Additional Links

 

News-Gazette
September 9, 2012

WILL-Radio (NPR)
April 24, 2012

The News-Gazette
April 25, 2012

Commercial-News
April 24, 2012

All Around Danville

Bresee Tower Sales Brochure.pdf

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112

 

 

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© 2012 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.