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Yunker School

14299 S. Wolf Rd.,
Orland Township
Architect Unknown, 1910

 

Significance: Located in unincorporated, south suburban Cook County, this one-room schoolhouse went through interior renovations, converting it into rental space for commercial use, but has maintained its historic character on the exterior. The school was built with rusticated concrete block walls, a two-columned entrance portico and a school bell housed in a cupola.

 
 


The front of the building is marked 1910 and the door lintel is carved “School District 134.” The land upon which the school was built had been bought from William Yunker, a local farmer. The school closed in 1957 after consolidation with School District 135 and was used for storage until the current owner purchased it in 1987.

Current Condition and/or Status: The Yunker School is one of two one-room school houses remaining in Orland Township and one of a handful in Cook County. It was for sale in May of 2008 and many inquiries were made to the realtor about demolishing the schoolhouse for commercial development. The property was taken off the market after the owner decided to continue leasing it for office use instead of selling.

Potential Threat: Surrounding development continues to threaten the schoolhouse. It is located in an area of strip malls and vast commercial growth. Discussions continue between local and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials regarding a future widening of 143rd Street (State Route 7), which would bring the road within a few feet from the school’s front steps. Because the school building is located on a site that is part of Orland Township, the Village of Orland Park has no legal jurisdiction to designate the building a local landmark. Orland Township does not have a preservation ordinance.

What You Can Do: Encourage Orland Park and Orland Township officials to work with the current owner toward developing a preservation plan for the building. Encourage the local legislator, Representative Kevin McCarthy, to work with IDOT to assure a state road widening project will not threaten the property.

Other Contacts: For more information on the history of the building and its significance to the community, contact: Rosemary Estand, Chairman, Orland Park Preservation Commission, (708) 349-7548.

 

Photos: Janine Wilkosz/Landmarks Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

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