"SAVE OUR STORY - SAVE OUR STREET" - CREATION OF THE WEST BURTON PLACE HISTORIC DISTRICT
“Save Our Story – Save Our Street,” the creation of the West Burton Place Historic District, is the recipient of the 2018 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Advocacy. The campaign was an effort by residents and preservationists who petitioned and mobilized to protect a significant district on West Burton Place in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. The block is comprised of former live/work spaces that had been carved out of stately mansion in the 1920s and 1930s to house artists in Old Town’s burgeoning art scene. Many of the artists who inhabited the block, including Edgar Miller, Sol Kogan and Andrew Rebori, left their indelible stamp on the district. Advocacy efforts were instigated when a developer threatened to demolish a historic building that sat adjacent to Edgar Miller’s famous Carl Street Studios. When legal options seemed limited, a grassroots group formed, composed of residents and local advocates–each contributing to the effort by offering their own distinct skills. One engaged the developer to urge for alternative plans to demolition and another labored to garner media attention. One neighbor started a website, while another designed a logo, which was then printed on t-shirts and postcards.
The Save Our Story – Save Our Street campaign rallied neighbors and others to write letters, sign a petition and contact the alderman and other city officials. The group worked tirelessly to draft a landmark designation report, which succeeded in helping gain preliminary landmark approval from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Members delivered compelling testimony that ultimately secured the District’s protected status in the summer of 2016. Fortunately, a neighboring property owner stepped in to purchase the building and is currently rehabilitating the property.
The legacy of the Save Our Story – Save Our Street campaign continues on today in the form of the West Burton Place Neighborhood Association (WBPNA), which was formed shortly after City Council’s passage of the district’s landmark ordinance. As an outcome of the campaign, the WBPNA works in part to continue to preserve, promote and celebrate the unique artistic, cultural, and historic significance of the 100 block of West Burton Place.
Save Our Story – Save Our Street
Edgar Miller Legacy
Chicago Art Deco Society
Bill Blidy and Lisa Mayntz