2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

Learn about the 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois below. Since 1995, Landmarks Illinois has published an annual list of the state’s top threatened culturally and architecturally significant sites threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds or inappropriate development. Learn more about the annual program here.

2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

“Our 2023 Most Endangered sites show willful disregard for the proven environmental, social and economic benefits of reusing historic buildings. At a time when Americans are calling for action to solve society’s pressing challenges, like climate change, inequality and housing affordability, there should be no passes for shortsightedness or neglect. We will continue to work with local residents and elected officials, as well as building and preservation professionals, to develop solutions for the reuse of these threatened places.”

-Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO, Landmarks Illinois

Brooklyn, Illinois

St. Clair County

Brooklyn, Illinois, is the oldest – and one of the last remaining – majority-Black incorporated towns in the country. It is threatened by a declining population, high unemployment rate and limited economy. The village has sold parcels of land to railroad companies, contributing to the ongoing disinvestment in this historically significant town located on the Mississippi River.

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Affordable Housing in Cairo

Alexander County

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to tear down the Connell F. Smith Sr. Building, making it the fifth public housing complex in Cairo closed in recent years by the federal agency.  The move will displace 60 residents in Illinois’ southernmost city and eliminate an opportunity to reuse the 1968 building in a community that is already experiencing a severe housing shortage.

(Photo credit: Don Patton, Cairo Historical Preservation Project)

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Old Lawes Hotel

Charleston, Coles County

The former hotel, originally built in 1874 as a family home, is located prominently next to Charleston’s historic courthouse square. The hotel has suffered damage from deferred maintenance during its more than 30 years sitting vacant and unused. Preservation efforts must begin soon or the building may become a public safety hazard and face demolition by neglect.

(Photo credit: Deborah Muller)

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Century & Consumers Buildings

Chicago, Cook County

These two vacant, but architecturally significant terra cotta-clad skyscrapers are located on State Street within the National Register-listed Loop Retail Historic District. Despite their prominent location and potential for reuse, the U.S. General Services Administration continues to consider demolishing them.

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Damen Silos

Chicago, Cook County

An asphalt company is proposing to demolish the iconic 1906 former grain silos in McKinley Park to build new office and trucking facilities. Local residents oppose the plans, which would rob Chicago of an important piece of its industrial history and prevent a more environmentally friendly and equitable redevelopment of this highly visible site along the Chicago River.

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Baxter International Headquarters

Deerfield, Lake County

The Midcentury Modern former healthcare company campus was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built in 1972. The contract purchaser, Bridge Industrial, plans to demolish the existing buildings and to replace them with warehouse logistics facilities.

(Photo credit: Dave Burk)

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Alexander Brothers Blacksmith Shop

Geneva, Kane County

At nearly 180-years-old, the locally landmarked limestone structure is one of the oldest-surviving commercial buildings in Geneva and represents an important part of the city’s industrial past. Following an unsuccessful demolition attempt in 2018 and ongoing neglect, the structure’s owner, the Shodeen Family Foundation, is once again trying to tear it down.

(Photo credit: Colin Campbell)

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Oak Cottage

Naperville, DuPage County

The cottage, built in 1850 as a family home for early settler William Briggs Greene, is an important piece of DuPage County’s agricultural history. The forest preserve district, which owns the property, is evaluating demolishing the cottage for open space if a third party does not propose a viable reuse for it.

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Richmond’s Historic Wooden Bridge

Richmond, McHenry County

Built in the mid-1800s, this landmark is the last of two wooden bridges constructed in Richmond’s early settlement years. However, a lack of maintenance and no plan for its preservation mean that the bridge faces possible demolition by neglect. (Photo credit: Alex Wiezbicki (IG) ajw_outdoor_photography)

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