2017 Award Recipients


Read about our 2017 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award Winners below. Award winners exemplify extraordinary stories of people saving special places throughout our state and show how historic restoration has a positive impact on communities, the environment and the people of Illinois. You can also view a full list of 2017 winners here. You can see all years of award recipients here.

Aurora St. Charles Senior Living, Aurora

Award for Rehabilitation

(Photo credit: Leslie Schwartz)

The rehabilitation of the former St. Charles Hospital included cleaning and repairing the original Art Deco-style brick, limestone and terra cotta exterior and restoring and converting the original chapel and balcony to a community room for the building’s residents.

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All Saints Episcopal Church, Chicago

Award for Restoration

This ambitious project for the church built in 1884 included replacing the wooden foundation with concrete, stabilizing the original bell tower with an innovative system of steel straps and removing 100 years of stucco to reveal the original wood siding.

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Charles Staples, Chicago

Joe Antunovich Award for Leadership

Charles Staples was an early advocate for the rehabilitation and reuse of the former Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center. Staples still serves as a volunteer guide and tour docent at the Chicago Landmark.

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Rosenwald Court Apartments, Chicago

Award for Rehabilitation

The rehabilitation of Rosenwald includes a mix of senior housing and affordable residential housing and office and retail space, encompassing over half a million square feet in all.

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Friends of the Edwards House, Downers Grove

Project of the Year Award for Advocacy

Thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Edwards House, a number of landmarked properties in Downers Grove grew exponentially, from 2 to 15 over two years. The Village has also come to view historic preservation as a positive value and community priority.

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Joliet Central High School, Joliet

Award for Rehabilitation

This modern and engaging space, which did not compromise the original structure and respected the historic details of the highly significant and much-loved 1901 school building, now serves as a point of pride for students and the broader community.

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Unity Temple, Oak Park

Award for Restoration

The transformative restoration of this internationally renowned work allows for the continued use for worship by the congregation, improved experience for architectural tourists and improved functionality for community programming.

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Cooperage 214, Peoria

Award for Adaptive Use

This project transformed a former 27,000-square-foot cooperage factory in Peoria’s downtown warehouse district into attractive office space and 18 luxury apartments.

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District 2 Police Station, Rockford

President’s Award for Adaptive Use

Rockford’s former Turner School has been transformed into a new police station. With meeting rooms, a gym and a stage available to the public, the renovated school has resulted in a welcoming space that encourages neighborhood interaction with the police.

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Citations of Merit

Our 2017 awards launched a new honorable mention category, the Citation of Merit. Three historic preservation projects were awarded a Citation of Merit this year.


The Civilian Conservation Corps-designed comfort station at the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Lerna, constructed in 1936, was designed to look like a log cabin. The original structure provided restrooms and an open concession area. Remodeling of the structure in the 1970s and again in the 1990s removed or covered up much of the original design.

In 2016, the Lincoln Log Cabin Foundation transformed the comfort station, which had been abandoned and neglected for the last 18 years, into a gift shop. The rehabilitation peeled back modern elements exposing the original design. The Foundation has succeeded in preserving an original structure of the park and at the same time offers visitors a welcome place to purchase souvenirs and gifts. One hundred percent of the profits from sales go directly back to the site to support educational programming, special events and exhibitions, livestock care and other preservation projects.


The Townsend Garage located on Main Street in Sycamore was originally part of the Frederick B. Townsend estate.  The 1906 granite boulder structure now houses the Resource Bank, a community bank based in DeKalb, with a reputation for reusing historic structures for their local branches. When looking for a location for their branch bank in Sycamore, Resource considered not only the best location, but how they could become good stewards of the community. The opportunity arose to adapt the former garage into its new branch.

The bank took advantage of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit when completing the rehabilitation. Original materials were restored where possible and the addition and drive-up canopy use similar design and materials including boulders that were harvested from nearby fields to match.  Using historic photos, the gas pumps and signage were replaced on the exterior to reflect the original details. By restoring the building, Resource has given back to the community an asset that can be appreciated for generations.



Since the 1880s, the St. Nicholas Hotel in DuQuoin, has been a landmark serving travelers in southern Illinois. In 2005 the hotel closed and the building stood vacant. With a threat of demolition, the current owners stepped up and embarked on a five-year rehabilitation reinventing the building as the home to the St. Nicholas Brewing Company. After years of neglect, much work was needed to structurally reinforce the building and restore the façade.

Open since 2014, the microbrewery and restaurant has breathed new life into this town with a population of 6,000 people. Not only has project restored a prominent focal point downtown but it has spurred two small business startups and 25 local jobs in a community with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.

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