2021 Preservation Heritage Fund Grant Recipients

Announced December 2021

Cairo Historical Preservation Project, Inc., Cairo

Grant Amount: $2,500

The Cairo Historical Preservation Project, Inc. was recently created with the mission to ensure the preservation and protection of historic places in Cairo, a southern Illinois town located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and the seat of Alexander County. The preservation of Cairo’s Ward Chapel AME Church is the organization’s first priority, and the Preservation Heritage Fund grant from Landmarks Illinois will be used for immediate repairs to the church’s roof. Built in 1874, the church was part of the Underground Railroad network, and in the 1960s, John Lewis and Jesse Jackson participated in the freedom movement there.

The Cairo Historical Preservation Project, Inc.’s long-term preservation goal is to revitalize Ward Chapel AME Church so it can be used for spiritual and cultural events. Once stabilized, Ward Chapel will be included in the local heritage tour alongside other notable historic buildings in Cairo.

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White County Historical Society, Carmi

Grant Amount: $2,500

The 1800s, two-story log Matsel Cabin was moved from rural White County into the historical district of Carmi in 1995. It was refurbished into a functional period pioneer cabin on the prairie and is an integral part of the museums of the White County Historical Society. It is open to visitors and tours on special occasions and by appointment. Each year during Pioneer Days the cabin comes alive with 5th grade students from throughout the county to witness the life of a pioneer family with hands-on activities on the cabin grounds with butter making, washing clothes on the scrub board, rope and broom making, corn planting, shelling and grinding the grain to make mill for home consumption, cattle feed, etc.

The structure of the cabin is made of logs with the front side exposed logs and the rest of the cabin made of rough siding. The roof and porch is made of wooden shake shingles. The cabin setting is situated in a prime location in downtown Carmi among other museums and structures run by the historical society. The cabin is beautifully surrounded with trees, yard and split rail fencing. The structure is relatively safe and stable considering its age. However, the roof and porch is badly deteriorated and is leaking, jeopardizing the integrity of the building. The historical society will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to repair the roof.

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Harmony International Development Inc., Chicago

Grant Amount: $2,500

Harmony International Development Inc. is a nonprofit organization that strives to revitalize Chicago’s West Englewood and North Lawndale communities block by block and uses construction training programs to reinitiate young adults and ex-offenders into the workforce. The organization’s Train-to-Hire program educates trainees to redevelop dilapidated properties in the communities they serve.

Harmony’s immediate project is repairing the carriage house at 1432 S. Harding Ave. in North Lawndale, and Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds will go toward replacing the property’s roof. Already, the organization has raised needed funds through donated materials for the roofing as well as materials needed to repoint the building. Once complete, the building will be used to house ex-offenders reentering the workforce and include office space for a social worker and computer library. Harmony is hoping to benefit from the City’s Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance, approved in December 2020.

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PullmanArts, Chicago

Grant Amount: $1,000

PullmanArts is a local volunteer run nonprofit organization created in partnership with Artspace, Inc. and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives. The three created Pullman Artspace Lofts, the first affordable arts-based housing development in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood and a project that received a 2021 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award. PullmanArts operates the development’s Block House Gallery, a ground-floor, community run art gallery and classroom with poured concrete flooring that must be sealed before use. The organization will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to seal the floor. The gallery offers classes and highlights the work of resident artists living in the Pullman Artspace Lofts.

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Stone Temple Baptist Church, Chicago

Grant Amount: $4,000

The building now known as Stone Temple Baptist Church was built in 1925 and 1926 as a synagogue for a community of Jewish immigrants who had come to Chicago to escape anti-Semitism and pogroms in their native Romania. The building served as a house of worship and an anchor for Chicago’s Romanian Jewish community until after World War II, when Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood transitioned from a mainly Jewish community to an African American one. The church became Stone Temple Baptist Church in 1954, when the First Romanian Congregation sold it to the Baptist congregation led by Rev. James Marcellus Stone, who was active in the civil rights movement. When Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. brought his crusade for civil rights from the South to Chicago, Stone Temple was one of a small number of African American churches that hosted him.

The congregation received a National Park Service African American Civil Rights Grant in 2019 to make repairs to the failing roof. Though the roof is now repaired, damage was done to the interior due to water infiltration. Stone Temple will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funding to repair walls and flooring damaged by the water.(Photo by David Schalliol)

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Save the Tabernacle Inc, Freeport

Grant Amount: $2,500

The Oakdale Tabernacle in Freeport represents a unique part of Illinois history. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries tabernacles were large gathering spaces in natural settings for the public to hear sermons or educational lectures. Camp meetings were magnetic summer happenings for people in Stephenson and neighboring counties from 1894 to 1967. Upward of 2,000 people might turn out for all or part of the 10-day sessions. The last Oakdale camp meeting program of record was in 1967. The tabernacle then closed, and in 1971, the land was sold to the Freeport Park District.

The Oakdale Tabernacle, owned by the Freeport Park District, was scheduled to be demolished in 2018 and was listed on Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. A group of preservationist created the Save the Tabernacle advocacy organization to preserve the historic gathering space and was successful in signing a long-term lease with the Freeport Park District for future use of the property. The group is now in Phase 1 of its restoration plan, which includes sealing the tabernacle from wildlife, reinstalling the window panes in cupola windows, cleaning the interior of the building to remove animal waste and removing and replacing wood around the base of the building. It will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds for this work.

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Our Saviour Parish & Grade School, Jacksonville

Grant Amount: $2,500

The Rectory of the Our Saviour Parish is a two-story, Queen Anne-style brick home that was built in 1895-1896. In 1995, with threats of demolition due to the condition of the building, the Old Rectory Task Force was created to take over the maintenance of the building and make the appropriate repairs. In 2015, the priests moved back into the Rectory, and it is now home for two priests. The Diocese of Springfield is the owner, while the parish and school are responsible for repairs and maintenance of the buildings. Our Saviour Parish will use the Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to update electrical panels located in the basement of the building.

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Ethnic Heritage Museum, Rockford

Grant Amount: $2,500

In 2016, the Ethnic Heritage Museum purchased the Graham-Ginestra House, Greek Revival, Italianate-style home built in 1857 that represents the homestead of two prominent Rockford families: Freeman Graham, Sr., a successful businessman and alderman in the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, and Leo Ginestra. Today, the museum aims to preserve the cultural history of Rockford’s early beginnings and is part of Rockford’s historical campus known as Heritage Museum Park on the block of 1100 S. Main St. The Ethnic Heritage Museum’s goal is to restore all three sections of the Graham-Ginestra House, starting with the original barn. Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds will be used for foundation repairs to the home.

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W.A. McConnell Foundation, Richmond

Grant Amount: $2,500

Olde #90 is the oldest surviving building in Richmond. It was built 1844 by Charles Cotting, a pioneer who platted the town of Richmond, was integral to settling the community and built the town’s first mill. Predominantly sitting in the center of town, which itself is a historic district, Olde #90 rests on a river stone foundation that is starting to deteriorate and affect the integrity of the whole building.

The W.A. McConnell Foundation purchased Olde #90 in September 2021 using donations and loans from community members and supporters to prevent its potential demolition. The building’s foundation is in immediate need of stabilization and repair. The foundation will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to help conduct a structural assessment of the building to determine a restoration plan. Once stabilized, the W.A. McConnell Foundation intends to use the first floor of Olde #90 as a small local history museum and the main upper floors will become offices, meeting area and storage.

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Trout Valley Preservation and Restoration Society, Trout Valley

Grant Amount: $2,500

The Trout Valley barn was constructed c. 1890 as a dairy barn. Throughout its history, the plank-framed barn with a gambrel roof and attached silo has also served as a horse and cow barn and was updated in 1920. It once was owned by John D. Hertz, founder of Yellow Cab and Hertz Rent-a-Car, who used the barn to raise thoroughbreds, and later owned by Otto Schnuring of Curtiss Candy Co., maker of Baby Ruth and Butterfinger candy bars. Beginning in 1955, Don and Norm Maxon developed the area into a community of privately owned homes, called Trout Valley. The Maxons were committed to preserving the community’s rich heritage, and Trout Valley residents continue to fund projects and donate their time to maintain this legacy. Today, the historic barn is used as the Trout Valley Association’s Center and still houses horses and is used for meetings and events. However, the brick silo on the barn is deteriorating due to age and stormwater runoff from a neighboring property. The Trout Valley Preservation and Restoration Society, a component of the Trout Valley Homeowner’s Association, will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to remedy drainage issues and then make necessary masonry repairs to the silo.

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Washington Historical Society, Washington

Grant Amount: $2,500

The building at 128 Washington Square, built in 1897, is one of the oldest buildings on the square in Washington. Prior to the Washington Historical Society purchasing the building in November 2020, the exterior of the building had been substantially modified and sat mostly vacant for about 10 years. While the exterior has currently been mostly restored, the building’s interior needs improvements to tailor the building for the historical society’s use. The Washington Historical Society intends to maintain the upper floor to host events and meetings and to have displays of historic artifacts. The main level is to be updated for a future tenant.

The Washington Historic Society will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant to complete electrical upgrades to the building and create ADA compliant restrooms, making the historic space usable for both the historical society and a tenant.

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Zion United Church of Christ, Waterloo

Grant Amount: $2,500

Zion United Church of Christ, located just southwest of Waterloo, Illinois, was built in 1884 by German immigrants on property owned by the church since 1861. In 1948, a Hammond Organ was purchased and is still in use today, and in 1949, stained-glass windows were installed. The church stands on a high point along the Kaskaskia Trail, one of the oldest trade routes in Illinois. This trail became critical to the French trappers and pioneers as well as the later arriving German immigrants. Zion United Church of Christ is one of the few churches that remain in the rural setting of the trail. The congregation will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to make repairs to the church’s steeple.

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Announced June 2021

Blackwell-Israel Samuel A.M.E. Zion Church, Chicago

Grant Amount: $4,300

The church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood is the only known church in the city designed by nationally recognized architects Edbrooke and Burnham, who were responsible for designing the Government Building at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The church congregation provides many social services in this building including voter registration, tutoring, adult education, political awareness and health resources.

The congregation has contracted McGuire Igleski Associates to conduct a conditions assessment and determine the priority needs for repairing the church. The congregation will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funding to help make necessary repairs at the northeast entrance of the building where there is substantial water infiltration from an active leak in the roof, which is contributing to the deterioration of the limestone and missing mortar.

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Morgan County Historical Society, Jacksonville

Grant Amount: $2,500

The old Post Office Building in Jacksonville is a 1920s-era structure that served as the community’s main post office for nearly 50 years. The Morgan County Historical Society purchased the long-vacant building with plans to restore it and use it to house the Jacksonville Area Museum with the assistance of the Jacksonville Heritage Cultural Center Board. The historical society is currently restoring the structure’s many historic windows, and will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to restore some of the most damaged south-facing windows on the post office.

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City of Lockport, Lockport

Grant Amount: $1,700

Downtown Lockport is seeing a recurrence in reinvestment and activity, with historic building facades being restored and new buildings being constructed. In an effort to manage the review and evaluation of development, Lockport city officials want its Heritage and Architecture Commission — charged with reviewing and approving projects — to continue to receive appropriate training to maintain a strong, historically sensitive downtown. The city will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant fund to help hire Michael Lambert of Arris Architects + Planners and the City of Geneva’s Preservation Planner to lead members of the Heritage and Architecture Commission through a two-day training session.

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Wood Dale Historical Society, Wood Dale

Grant Amount: $2,500

The Rosenwinkel Barn, constructed the mid 1800s by local builder Marshall Newtown, is the oldest structure in DuPage County and one of its last remaining wooden peg barns. In 1972, the farm property where the barn sits was donated to the Wood Dale Historical Society to be maintained as a museum. The historic society will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant funds to help make repairs to the barn’s roof, which has damaged singles that leave the barn susceptible to water and wind damage.

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Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, St. Charles

Grant Amount: $2,500

The William Beith House is one of the few surviving examples of limestone houses from the 1840-1850s in the Fox Valley that has not been significantly altered. The house now serves as the headquarters of the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley (PPFV) who rescued the House in late 1970s and restored it to operate as a Preservation Study House. The house, however, is in need to repairs to its mechanical, electric and plumbing systems. The PPFV will use Landmarks Illinois’ grant fund to help pay for a condition assessment to the building to determine the scope of work for these repairs and establish a timeline for completing them.

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Announced January 2021

Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (BCDP), Chicago

Grant Amount: $1,000

BCDP, which operates the Urban Innovation Center – an incubator for innovative solutions for community issues and opportunities, will conduct an appraisal of the Griffin Funeral Home site to help determine its feasibility for redevelopment. The former parlor, located at 3232 S. King Drive, was historically African American-owned and has a rich and diverse past, including being built partially on the site of Camp Douglas, a Union training ground and camp for Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.

The original building was constructed in the 1880s and first served as a china painting factory before it was converted into the funeral home. Ernest Griffin led the cause to address the imbalance in cultural memory that black soldiers are often not as well remembered as their white counterparts and commemorate the service of all Civil War soldiers. Griffin’s grandfather, Charles Theodore Griffin, had served in the war with the 29th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry, the first black army unit in Virginia. Griffin also created the Heritage Memorial Wall at the parlor to honor fallen Civil War soldiers on both sides of the conflict. A memorial also featured an exhibit case filled with Civil War artifacts and documents, surrounded by a fountain pool.

BCDP is evaluating using this former parlor site as a potential location for its next project. Its Urban Innovation Center currently works with social entrepreneurs to develop and accelerate start-ups, support social enterprises and implement civic projects that have the ability to scale. The goal is to create new businesses that will generate jobs and additional income stream at the neighborhood level.

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Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, Millstadt

Grant Amount: $5,000

The Old Millstadt Water Tower, built in 1931 and included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2014 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, is the most visible landmark in Millstadt and one of only a few of the “tin man” style towers remaining in the state.

The Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower have a legal agreement with the Village of Millstadt that allows the local advocacy group until January 2022 to raise the necessary funds to restore the landmark.  This grant will help the group get closer to its goal. Already the Friends have raised the majority of the funds needed even with many events cancelled in the last year due to Covid-19 restrictions. Director of Landmarks Illinois’ Springfield Office Frank Butterfield has also worked closely with the Friends for several years on restoration of the tower.

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Robbins Historical Society, Robbins

Grant Amount: $2,500

The historical society will use Landmarks Illinois grant funds to aid stabilization efforts at the historic S.B. Fuller Home, former home to businessman and entrepreneur S.B. Fuller, who founded Fuller Products. Born in 1905 to a family of sharecroppers in Louisiana, Fuller began door-to-door sales at the age of nine to help support his family. He moved to Chicago at 17 to pursue a career in sales. At his peak, S.B. Fuller owned eight other corporations, was publisher of two newspapers, led the Chicago NAACP, served as president of the National Negro Business League and was a prominent Republican.

The historic mansion in Robbins, one of the oldest incorporated African American communities in the United States and the oldest Black suburb in the Chicago area, was built in 1958. Fuller died in 1988, leaving the mansion to his family, who then went on to donate the house to the Robbins Historical Society and Museum in 2016. Unfortunately, the Fuller home has been neglected for many years and is currently uninhabitable. The Robbins Historical Society and Museum will use the Landmarks Illinois’ grant to mothball and stabilize the structure with repairs identified in an economic feasibility study that will be completed using funds from a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant.

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Kendall County Historical Society, Yorkville

Grant amount:$2,500

The Kendall County Historical Society will use the grant to help pay for a roof replacement on the Union School building, a one-story, one-room schoolhouse built in 1847. The school is now located at Lyon Family Farm, operated by the Kendall County Historical Society.

In 1974, Frances Lyon donated 40 acres of the Lyon Family Farm to establish a home for the historical society and its artifacts. The original farm buildings at Lyon Farm were restored with funds from a large bequest and members’ support. Other historic buildings and structures in the county were moved to the farm, including: The Oswego-Fox House, Plano Depot, C. B. & Q. Caboose, Union School, Seward Town Hall and the Yorkville City Hall and Fire Station. In 2012, the Herman Hanouw Museum building was built to house the society’s research library, offices and provide event space. In addition to the historic buildings, in cooperation with the Kendall County Forest Preserve, in 1988, 18 acres of farmland was restored to a natural prairie.

The Union School was moved to the Lyon Farm Village in 1976 from its original location on Wheeler Road in Na-Au-Say Township in Kendall County. The building was in use as a school until 1937 and was later used as a basketball court for many years. It is currently situated near Lyon Forest Preserve, and the roof receives little sunlight. The dark, wet conditions have led to extensive moss growth, which has accelerated the deterioration of the wood shake roof.

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