Joe Antunovich Award for Leadership

Charles Staples


Charles Staples, an early advocate for the rehabilitation and reuse of the former Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center, is the recipient of Landmarks Illinois’ 2017 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Joe Antunovich Award for Leadership. During the 1960s, the debate around the development potential of the Library and the destruction of other historic buildings in Chicago’s Loop suggested that demolition was imminent for the 1890s structure. Seeking to change minds and envision a new future for the architecturally significant Beaux Arts building, Charles Staples and his wife Joan engaged directly with the public and fostered relationships with concerned stakeholders to organize a coalition in support of preserving the Library. Stapes continued his advocacy for the structure during its extensive restoration/renovation and its evolution into the Cultural Center throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Staples still serves as a volunteer guide and tour docent at the Cultural Center, sharing his extensive knowledge and enthusiasm for the iconic public building with Chicagoans and visitors alike.

Support our advocacy

Be a voice for the future of our communities by supporting Landmarks Illinois. Our work enhances communities, empowers citizens, promotes local economic development and offers environmentally sound solutions.

Become A Member