Walker and Carolyn Johnson
Walker and Carolyn Johnson have been stalwart supporters and advocates of historic preservation for decades. Walker, an award-winning architect, is one of the most recognizable and enduring figures in Chicago’s preservation community. He has contributed to or completed feasibility studies for some of the area’s most prominent historic buildings, including the Marquette Building, Glessner House, the Chicago Cultural Center, Ragdale, the Foellinger Auditorium and the Wacker Drive reconstruction. In 1992, he founded Johnson-Lasky Architects, a pioneering restoration architecture firm. Walker’s commitment to preservation is extracurricular, as well: he served on the first board of directors of Landmarks Illinois in 1971, and has similarly served countless other preservation advocacy organizations over his 40-year career.
Carolyn Johnson joined the staff of Landmarks Illinois (then the Landmarks Preservation Council) in 1976, and during her 20 years with the organization, she worked as a speaker, educator and advocate both statewide and nationally. She organized what is considered the country’s first Preservation Caucus, as well as the first Illinois Statewide Preservation Conference. Following her departure, she took on various executive roles in local preservation and arts advocacy organizations, including the Chicago Maritime Society and the Illinois State Historical Society.
Walker and Carolyn Johnson are pioneers. Without their combined 80 years of preservation service and advocacy, Illinois would likely have lost much of its architectural treasures. Accordingly, the Johnsons helped legitimize and grow the field of historic preservation, opening the door for countless local restoration architects and professional advocates.