Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley
A gift from Norway during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, this Viking ship replica sailed across the Atlantic and served as a major attraction during the fair. For many years, the ship was in dry dock in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo but it was eventually relocated to its current site in Geneva’s Good Templar Park during the mid-1990s. After more than a century of exposure to the elements and numerous relocations, the ship was in need of a more permanent preservation solution. In the winter of 2006-07, the Viking ship was named to both the Fox Valley and Landmarks Illinois’ statewide list of endangered historic resources. Soon afterward, the ship was selected as one of 25 candidates to compete in the Chicagoland Partners in Preservation Grant challenge, which was co-sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The online voting process lasted four weeks and prompted a creative “Get out the Vote” campaign by this local grassroots organization. Finishing in second place, the Viking Ship stabilization effort was awarded 100 percent of the requested $52,000, which have been used to rebuild the structural support system, repair cracks in the wood and provide a secure shelter and viewing platform for the vessel.