2017 Preservation Heritage Grant Recipients

Belleville Historical Society - Blazier House, Belleville

The Belleville Historical Society purchased the Terry and Thelma Blazier House in Belleville in November 2015. The historical society has invested about $60,000 toward restoring the home, designed by local Belleville architect Charles E. King in 1952. The historical society now seeks funding to convert one of the bathrooms into an ADA accessible restroom to meet code. The bathroom for this project is in a later addition to the home. The society intends for the house to serve as a Midcentury Modern Architecture Museum, which will feature the architectural works of Charles King.

Bishop Hill Heritage Association - Carpenter Shop, Bishop Hill

The Bishop Hill Colony, established in 1846, is a state historic site and a National Historic Landmark. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association (BHHA) is currently working to restore the Carpenter and Paint shop, which was constructed in 1851 and originally used as a workshop to create all of the furniture for the settlement and is currently host to the town’s post office and a gift shop. The building suffers from water damage due to improper grading around the building as well as leaking gutters and downspouts. The BHHA plans to complete a restoration of the building, beginning with Phase I to include regrading, gutter replacement and repointing.

Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission - Boardman Cemetery, Bolingbrook

The Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission (BBHPC) was established by the Village Board in 1993 to preserve Bolingbrook’s rich heritage. At the Boardman Cemetery, established in 1832, BBHPC is restoring headstones, grave markers and plaques at Boardman Cemetery. It is also seeking a non-invasive Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) at the Cemetery to identify unmarked burial locations and archaeological features. The inclusion of GPR testing will allow for a full account of persons buried on site, and allow for further cultural research of the area.

Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, Chicago

The Canaan Baptist Church of Christ at 6657-6659 S. Harvard Avenue in the Englewood Neighborhood is a Chicago Landmark. The Solon S. Beman-designed building is located within the Neighborhood Conservation District study area that LI has been developing with community members through the Cornerstones for Community Program. The 1905 Classical Revival-style building was constructed in 1905 and retains a high degree of historic integrity. At the request of LI, WJE has prepared a Historic Structures Report (HSR) for the congregation to use in planning for the repair, maintenance and preservation of the building. Based on the HSR, the congregation has determined a strategy to address the priority repairs.

Friends of Pullman State Historic Site: Rear Erecting Shop at the Pullman State Historic Site, Chicago

The Rear Erecting Shop (RES) at the Pullman State Historic Site survives as the remaining southern book-end of the rear erecting shop buildings. The estimated 38,600-square-foot structure is composed of solid masonry, multi-wythed brick and limestone walls, gambrel roofs, structural steel column and truss assemblies, oversized rail car access doors and brick flooring. The RES is the original singularly and worthy structure that can validate the site origins of Pullman steel rail car manufacturing. The building’s condition is critical. With the 2015 designation of the NPS Pullman National Monument, a comprehensive restoration and renovation project will be necessary. The Friends of the Pullman State Historic Site was recently awarded a $5,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation toward an evaluation of the condition of the RES. They are requesting the necessary financial match to this grant.

Hyde Park Historical Society: Cable Car Building, Chicago

The Hyde Park Historical Society is located within a former cable car building built c.1893 for the Chicago City Street Railway. This cable car system was created to handle the additional traffic of the World’s Columbian Exposition and once connected Hyde Park with the Loop. The brick and brownstone passenger depot is likely the only surviving building from Chicago’s once extensive cable car system. The building is used by the HPHS as a museum and exhibition space, office space and for public meetings and events. It was restored in the 1980s, but other than maintenance, has had no major renovation work since that time. A building assessment was completed in 2015, and the HPHS has been using this as its plan for necessary rehabilitation work and is currently seeking funds for the restoration of the original windows and doors.

Urban Juncture Foundation: The Forum, Chicago

The Forum, located in Bronzeville in Chicago, is a complex of three connected buildings designed by Samuel A. Treat. From the 1920s to the 1950s, the Forum played a key role in labor and civil rights, fraternal and social groups, culture and commerce that were at the core of Chicago’s Black Renaissance in Bronzeville. The owner plans to develop retail and performance space in the building, but currently needs to complete structural repairs that will address key safety issues.

Music Institute: Music Institute of Chicago building, Chicago

The Music Institute of Chicago is located in a building originally designed as the First Church of Christ Scientist by Solon S. Beman in 1912. A three-year renovation converted the church into the Music Institute and Nichols Music Hall, which reopened in 2003. This adaptive use was honored with LI’s Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award. The Institute is seeking funds for masonry restoration of the main entrance to address safety concerns. As the scope of this project is very large, funding is requested for the restoration and cleaning of the stone urns at the main entrance.

Gifford Park Association: David Cook Home, Elgin

The David C. Cook home, built in 1885, remained in the Cook family until it was converted to a nursing home in 1945. Located within the Elgin National Register Historic District, the property is currently bank-owned. The City of Elgin and the Gifford Park Association are working on taking over the ownership of the property and determining the best future use. Plans to remove later additions to the property are underway and the building will be mothballed until an appropriate permanent owner is determined. The Gifford Park Association is seeking funding to conduct a feasibility study of the property.

Village of Elsah: Mott Building, Elsah

Built in 1894, the Mott Building was originally a drug and grocery store. The building remains one of the largest, picturesque and prominent features of the small Village of Elsah, the entirety of which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Village-owned Mott Building has been deteriorating in recent years and considerable renovations are needed. The Village is seeking funds to assist with these renovations including the repair of a collapsing section of the original stone foundation along the front of the building, install a subsurface drain to direct water away from the foundation, and replace four adjacent sidewalk panels that need to be raised to direct water away from the building. Once the building is restored, the Village will seek a buyer and/or partner interested in establishing a restaurant or other commercial endeavor that will contribute to the life of the Village while sustaining the life of the building for future generations.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County: Sagawau Farmhouse, Lemont

The Sagawau Farmhouse is a two-story, wood-frame structure dating from the mid-1850s located in the Cook County Forest Preserve in Lemont. The farmhouse was a private residence until 1936 when the YWCA assumed ownership and used the building for a girls’ summer camp. It was also was part of the interracial camp from 1934 until 1952 and is the only remaining structure from the YWCA period of use. The Forest Preserve has owned the property since 1952, using it the as a ski lodge and nature center. The Forest Preserve is working with Loyola University students on a National Register of Historic Places nomination. However, there it is in need of structural repairs due to water infiltration.

City of Lincoln: The Tropics sign, Lincoln

The Tropics neon sign is a classic example of Route 66 signage. The 25-foot-long, 10-foot-tall sign was installed in front of the Tropics Restaurant in 1950 and is in dire need of restoration. The restaurant closed and was later demolished in April 2017 to make way for a McDonalds. While the sign was moved slightly from its original location and sits on McDonald’s property, the City of Lincoln entered into an easement agreement in which the City is responsible to operate, maintain and repair the sign. The Tropics Sign Project Committee is now seeking funds to restore the sign.

Maeystown Preservation Society: Maeystown Stone Bridge, Maeystown

A stone arch bridge over Maeystown Creek marks the entrance to Maeystown – an entire village listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge is a landmark itself, depicting the craftsmanship of the German stonemasons who were among the early settlers of the village. Although the bridge has passed the last IDOT inspection, the Monroe County Highway Department has concerns for the condition and integrity of the structure. The Maeystown Preservation Society is seeking funds to install a culvert adjacent to the bridge wing, which will redirect rain water and help eliminate future damage on the wing spans.

Save the Massac: Massac Theatre, Metropolis

The Massac Theatre, designed by O.W. Steigemeyer in 1938, closed in 1978 and has changed hands multiple times and has sat vacant since 2006. Save the Massac, Inc., a community organization with a mission of preserving the theatre, currently owns the building and has installed a new roof. Currently, the group is looking to install a new roof and make structural repairs to the building’s west wall.

Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation: LeTourneau House, Peoria

The LeTourneau house in Peoria was part of R.G. LeTourneau’s first steel housing system and community designed in 1936. It has not been used since the 1980s. It had previously been used an office at the manufacturing facility where it is currently located. The house will be relocated through an effort called the Steel House Revival, which is a collaboration of three cultural organizations: Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation (CILF), Peoria Historical Society and Wheels O Time Museum. Although legally owned by CILF, the house will be on permanent display at the Wheels O Time Museum. CILF wishes to relocate the house.

Village of Rantoul: First National Bank Building, Rantoul

The First National Bank building, constructed in 1884, is the longest standing bank in Rantoul. It is one of the original buildings in the downtown, which historically was a railroad hub between Chicago and southern Illinois. The Village of Rantoul acquired the property with the intention of stabilizing the building for future restoration, creating accurate cost estimates and identifying realistic adaptive reuses for this significant building. The Village seeks funding to conduct a feasibility study of the property.

City of Wilmington: Old City Hall, Wilmington

Constructed in 1879, the former Wilmington City Hall was used continuously as the formal seat of government until 1992 when a new city hall was constructed. The building currently serves as a museum and office for the Wilmington Historical Society. In cooperation with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the City of Wilmington is undertaking a broad-range study of the downtown to develop a vision and action plan for the improvement, enhancement and preservation of the area, which includes preservation of the Old City Hall. The City is seeking funds to assist with re-roofing the structure. This is the first part of a long range plan for the building’s rehabilitation.

Zion Lutheran Church of Chestnut, Chestnut

Zion Lutheran Church of Chestnut is one of two churches in this town of just 246 people. Zion Lutheran is a Gothic Revival-style building constructed in 1927. The main focal point of the interior of the church is the free-standing, wooden Gothic altar with statuary. Behind this altar is an elaborately decorated altar wall of painted plaster. This altar wall is in need of repair and restoration. The congregation has contracted with May and Burch Conservation to complete the necessary work on the altar.

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