2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

Landmarks Illinois announces 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois


April 6, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, IL– Landmarks Illinois today announced its 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois, named the historic sites on this year’s list at a press conference in Springfield.

Launched in 1995, Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list calls attention to threatened historic sites in need of assistance in the form of responsible stewardship, creative reuse plans and/or advances in public policy. This year’s list includes a number of city-, county- and state-owned structures, demonstrating the challenges local and state governments face to maintain and invest in their real estate and infrastructure at a time when funding is limited budget cuts continue. Not all of the sites on our 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list are publically owned, but many still rely on important government programs for funding or to encourage private investment.

“This year’s most endangered list includes a variety of iconic places that define our Illinois communities and our state’s heritage,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “From historic bridges, to a round barn, to mid-century modern buildings, the sites on our 2017 Most Endangered list are wide-ranging and demonstrate the need for financial incentives and private-public partnerships. Landmarks Illinois stands ready to help all of these historic properties find productive and creative reuse opportunities.”

The 2017 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois includes 10 listings, including three thematic listings. They are, in alphabetical order by location:

James R. Thompson Center, Chicago, Cook County

This Helmut Jahn-designed office building in the Loop – originally the State of Illinois Building – houses Illinois state government offices, a transit station and retail space. However, current legislation is calling for the state to sell the center, leaving its future uncertain. (Read More)

O’Hare Rotunda Building, Chicago, Cook County

The mid-century building designed by Gertrude Kerbis now serves as a vestibule to Terminal 3’s Concourse G. While currently in use, it could be vulnerable in the future as major changes and upgrades are planned at O’Hare. (Read More)

Singer Pavilion, Chicago, Cook County

The last remaining building of the Michael Reese Hospital complex, which was demolished by the city following the lost Olympic bid, is sitting vacant on Chicago’s South Side. Redevelopment of the campus is pending and reuse of the Loebl, Scholssma n, and Bennett-designed Singer Pavilion is uncertain. (Read More)

Ryan’s Round Barn, Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area, Henry County

This round barn built in 1910 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places has a failing roof and a growing list of necessary repairs, increasing in price with each year’s delay. It is owned by the State of Illinois, Department of Natural Resources, and as a result of the budget crisis, critical funding to repair and maintain the barn has been put on hold indefinitely. (Read More)

McKee House, Lombard, DuPage County

Constructed during the Federal Works Progress Administration for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the Colonial Revival home formerly served as a forest preserve headquarters and residence for its superintendent. Today, the Forest Preserve District is considering demolition of the building despite studies showing its ability to be rehabilitated. (Read More)

Norway Temperance Hall, Norway, LaSalle County

This small hall in unincorporated Norway tells the story of the temperance movement as part of the Norwegian-American experience. Community members and partner organizations want to purchase the building, which is in need of significant repair, suffering from water infiltration, a shifting foundation and cracking walls. (Read More)

Federal Historic Tax Credit, Statewide

Current federal tax reform legislation is putting this vital incentive for reuse and rehabilitation of historic buildings in Illinois and the nation at risk. Specifically, historic preservation projects in Belleville (Belleville Hotel), Danville (Bresee Tower), Peoria (Chic Manufacturing Building) and Rockford (Ziock Building) are all threatened if the Federal Historic Tax Credit is not retained. (Read More)

Historic Bridges, Statewide

Ongoing investment in our state’s infrastructure, and especially our historic bridges, remains a challenge. Funding is increasingly used for demolition or replacement instead of rehabilitation. Specifically, historic bridges in Long Grove (Lake County), Maeystown (Monroe County) and St. Francisville (Lawrence County) are at risk if repairs are not made. (Read More)

Route 66, Statewide

The 90-year-old, 2,400-mile highway from Chicago to Los Angeles is an economic force in Illinois tourism. While many historic sites, motels and restaurants along Illinois’s portion of Route 66 remain in need of rehabilitation and economic development assistance, the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program will legislatively expire within three years, posing an even greater challenge to preserving sites along the historic highway. Illinois legislators are leading the charge to develop alternative programs and designations to support historic Route 66. (Read More)

World War I Monuments, Statewide

These important and historic markers paying tribute to those who fought in the Great War are nearing 100 years old and many are in need of repair to return them to their dedication-era quality and appearance. April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into WWI, and Landmarks Illinois has launched a new grant program to help communities restore these significant memorials. (Read More)

Full descriptions and photos of each site are available on our Most Endangered webpage.

Background on the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

Every year, Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois provides a focus for our organization’s statewide advocacy efforts. Over the last 22 years, a third of all properties and sites included on the annual Most Endangered list have been saved. Less than a quarter of them have been demolished, and the remainders are in varying stages between being continually threatened and rehabilitation.

You can view past years’ Most Endangered lists on our Most Endangered webpage.

About Landmarks Illinois

Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships.

(Pictured above: James R. Thompson Center. Credit: Landmarks Illinois.)

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