Preservation News Roundup: October 2018

Below is a roundup of Illinois preservation news stories for the month of October and updates on some of Landmarks Illinois’ major advocacy efforts. You can also receive these monthly news roundups directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of the page.

LI urges Evanston residents to vote in support of preserving Harley Clarke on Nov. 6!

The Evanston Preservation Commission voted unanimously on October 23 against the city’s request to demolish the Harley Clarke Mansion, included on LI’s 2016 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois attended the commission meeting, helping to round up dozens of experts who testified to Harley Clarke’s historic significance and stable condition. Despite the positive step taken by the Preservation Commission against demolition, the Harley Clarke Mansion remains threatened. The City Council is expected to challenge the commission’s vote, and a small group of Evanston residents continues to pursue privately funding demolition of the publicly owned building, which is a designated Evanston Landmark and included in the Northeast Evanston Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Landmarks Illinois is urging Evanston residents to contact their City Council members and voice support for preserving Harley Clarke. They also can vote “Yes” in favor of preservation of the historic mansion on the upcoming November 6 ballot.

(Photo: LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald (center) joins Evanston advocates at the Oct. 23 Preservation Commission meeting on Harley Clarke)

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Yorkville exploring potential reuse of Kendall County Jail

In October, the Yorkville City Council twice decided to delay a vote on demolishing the Old Kendall County Sheriff’s Residence andJail, included on LI’s 2003 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois is working with Yorkville city officials and local advocates to find a viable adaptive reuse scenario for the historic, 1893 building. City Council has directed city staff to draft a request for proposals (RFP) for those interested in purchasing and rehabbing the property. Landmarks Illinois has assisted the city by providing building experts who have confirmed the structural stability of the old residence and jail and by providing information on financial incentives for the RFP to attract a preservation-minded buyer. Look for future a posting of the RFP on LI’s website in late November.

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Rock Island preservation supporters rally to save historic courthouse

This spring, Landmarks Illinois included the Rock Island County Courthouse on its 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Months later, the Rock Island County Board voted to pursue demolition of the 1897 building, determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. However, local advocates in Rock Island continue to push for preservation, recently holding a rally and reaching out to a number of developers about potential reuse of the courthouse.

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Learn More about the Rock Island Courthouse

LI-commissioned SOM design study wins AIA Chicago Award

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP won an honor award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects for an adaptive reuse design study of the Elgin Laundry Building. In 2016, LI commissioned the study for this unique accordion-shaped facility, designed by Bertrand Goldberg, to provide reuse options for the City of Elgin. The1967 building, formerly part of the Elgin Mental Health Hospital grounds, was acquired by the city to expand its recreational facilities. At its Designight ceremony on October 26, AIA presented SOM with the Honor Award in the Unbuilt Forward category, which, according to AIAChicago, are given to unbuilt projects that “address relevant social, cultural and environmental challenges, as well as technological innovations that drive the architecture profession into the future.” See the project description here.

(Photo: AIA Chicago board member April Hughes, LI Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera, AIA Chicago board member Jen Park and Eric Keune of SOM. Credit: SOM)

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Kincaid Mounds Archaeology Field Day

An Archaeology Field Day took place October 27 at the Kincaid Mounds, included on LI’s 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The free tour and event included a walking tour and Mississippian artifact displays. Archaeological and anthropology experts were featured speakers during the tours, as well.

(Photo Credit: Mike Walker)

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ICYMI: LI announces grant recipients in October

Earlier this month, LI announced its latest round of grant recipients through the organization’s Preservation Heritage Fund and the Landmarks Illinois WWI Monument Preservation grant programs. Five grants were awarded through the Preservation Heritage Fund and five grants were given through LI’s WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program. In all, LI awarded nearly $42,000 in grant funding during October to historic preservation projects throughout Illinois.

(Photo: The Studebaker field gun, a WWI Memorial in Blue Island, is among the recent grant recipients announced in October.)

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