April 2024 Preservation News Roundup

The monthly Landmarks Illinois News Roundup keeps you in the loop on the latest preservation news stories from the month as well as Landmarks Illinois’ main advocacy efforts, projects and announcements. You can also receive these monthly news roundups directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of the page.

Preservation partners conduct pro bono assessment on endangered bridge

Landmarks Illinois helped facilitate a pro bono condition assessment of the Richmond Bridge, included on our 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Wiss, Janney and Elstner Associates, Inc. visited Richmond on April 17 to conduct the assessment, which will help determine a preservation plan for the city-owned landmark.

Built in the mid-1800s, the Richmond Bridge is the last of two wooden bridges constructed in Richmond’s early settlement years. It is integral to Richmond’s identity and remains a part of the town’s logo. However, a lack of maintenance has threatened the bridge’s future. It was closed to vehicular traffic in the early 1990s due to poor conditions. Today, it is closed to pedestrian traffic as it has fallen further into disrepair.

We thank our partners at WJE for providing the pro bono condition assessment. Stay tuned for more developments on this and other former Most Endangered sites.

2024 Most Endangered announcement next week!

Landmarks Illinois will announce the 2024 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois at a live, virtual press conference next Tuesday, May 7. Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO, will discuss this year’s most threatened historic and/or culturally significant sites across the state. Members of the public and press are welcome to attend and will have the opportunity to ask Landmarks Illinois staff questions.


Tuesday, May 7
12 p.m.


Virtual Webinar


Free to attend.
Registration required.
Guests will receive a custom Zoom link to join the webinar.


The annual Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois brings attention to historically and culturally significant places in Illinois threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds or inappropriate development. The advocacy program, which began in 1995, helps bolster local advocacy efforts and builds support for the endangered sites’ eventual preservation. Learn more about the program.

(Pictured: The Alexander Brothers Blacksmith Shop in Geneva, a 2023 Most Endangered site.)


Former Most Endangered site continues to preserve history in Southern Illinois

On April 23, the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition unveiled its newest informational sign at Sand Bank School, a 120-year-old schoolhouse that sits along the historic trail. The Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail in Southern Illinois was created in the 1700s and is considered the first road developed by white settlers in Illinois that linked French colonial villages in the state.

According to the coalition, the new sign tells the story of one of Illinois’ first settlements at James Piggot’s Fort and of Sand Bank School from when school was taught in a log cabin by Levi Piggot in the 1800s until it closed in 1952.

In 2000, Landmarks Illinois included the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail on its Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Years later, the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition formed to preserve the historic trail, and in 2013, the effort earned the group a Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award.

Learn more about the trail at the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition’s website below.

(Picture provided by Dennis Patton, Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail Coalition)

Learn More

Dedication ceremony celebrates Old Millstadt Water Tower restoration

Built in 1931 and included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2014 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, the water tower is one of only a few of the “tin man” style towers remaining in the state. Restoration of the local landmark has been a decade in the making and led by Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower. Butterfield worked closely with the group for years when he served as Director of Landmarks Illinois’ Springfield Office. A Preservation Heritage Fund Grant from Landmarks Illinois in 2021 also helped support preservation of the tower. The restoration work was completed last year.

Pictured above is Frank Butterfield with Betty Keller Timmer, President of Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, and Judy DeMoisy of Collinsville, in front of the Old Millstadt Water Tower. DeMoisy was involved in the 2012 preservation-award winning effort to save the famous World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville.

Click below to learn more about the local preservation effort.

Learn more

Grants support preservation efforts in Alto Pass & Carbondale

Landmarks Illinois, in partnership with Banterra Bank, awarded funding to two preservation efforts in Southern Illinois through the Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program.

The matching grants were awarded to Rendleman Orchards, Inc., in Alto Pass and Artspace 304 in Carbondale. Representatives from Landmarks Illinois and Banterra Bank presented the grant recipients with their grant checks the week of April 8. Pictured above (left to right) is Jennifer Spence Director of Marketing for Banterra Bank; Carolyn Deane Deane, Program Director for Artspace 304; Gail White, Partner and Principal of White & Borgognoni Architects, architect for the Artspace 304’s grant project and former Landmarks Illinois Board Member; and Suzanne Germann, Director of Reinvestment for Banterra Bank.

Visit our website to learn more about the grant recipients and our two-year Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program.

Learn more

Now taking nominations for the 2024 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards

Landmarks Illinois has issued a call for nominations for the 2024 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. The annual awards recognize exceptional efforts in preserving, restoring and revitalizing historic places in Illinois.

Nominations are due June 1, 2024.

Visit our website to learn more about the program and how to submit a nomination.

(Pictured: Resource Bank’s Shabbona Branch at the former Quilhot Schoolhouse, a 2023 award recipient.)

Learn More

Soldier Field threatened with demolition

The Chicago Bears plan to demolish Solder Field to build a new stadium south of its existing location along the lake.

Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO, attended a news conference on April 24 held by the Chicago Bears to unveil the NFL team’s $4.7 billion plans for the new stadium. The plan calls for tearing down most of Soldier Field except for the colonnades.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported, “The Bears took great pains to make those columns a focal point for the 14 acres of new park land, playing fields and other recreational space that would be located south of the new stadium.” However, as Landmarks Illinois previously stated, any plan that would demolish Solider Field except for the Colonnades would “undoubtedly fall short of properly preserving and honoring the stadium originally built as a monument for U.S. servicemen and women.”

Read our full statement, released March 13, below. Landmarks Illinois has not responded to the full proposal released last week. However, our stance on Soldier Field remains the same: The century-old, iconic landmark should be preserved.

Read more in the news:

Soldier Field columns to stay in Bears’ new lakefront stadium design
NBC Sports Chicago, April 24

Bears reveal plans for $4.7 billion domed lakefront stadium development: ‘This is not an easy project’
Chicago Sun-Times, April 24

New study shows Promontory Point's historic limestone revetment can be saved

Promontory Point Conservancy held a press conference April 4 in Hyde Park to announce the findings of a new condition assessment of the limestone revetment at Promontory Point. The study showed the historic limestone wall is structurally sound, provides critical shoreline protection, and with sensitive rehabilitation, can be preserved.

These findings support Landmarks Illinois’ two-decade-long stance that the original limestone can and should be preserved. Landmarks Illinois first called attention to the Point on our 2004 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. At the time, a plan had emerged to replace the limestone with a steel and concrete revetment. That threat continues today.

The historic limestone wall – the last remaining of its kind along Chicago’s shoreline – is also one of the many reasons the park was designated a Chicago Landmark last year. This stepped limestone is a unique solution to the problem of erosion and forms the transitional link between the natural power of Lake Michigan and the built environment of the city. It has protected the park for 85 years. The loss of this final piece of revetment would complete the erasure of this resource, taking with it evidence of engineering history and the history of the City of Chicago, Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen said at the press conference.

Read the Promontory Point Conservancy’s condition assessment report below.

Read the report

Landmarks Illinois visits Taylorville

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski visited Taylorville this month to meet with members of Heartland Development Partners, Inc., local elected officials and other local advocates to offer support on the city’s downtown revitalization and preservation goals. Adamowski gave a presentation about financial incentives available for the redevelopment of historic properties and how Taylorville leaders can leverage community assets to aid revitalization efforts.

Landmarks Illinois Spring Appeal - Donate Today!

Preservation is so much more than saving an old building. It is a celebration of our past and an investment in our future. Landmarks Illinois provides the critical resources people need to restore and reuse places of value.

With your help, we can empower more people to revitalize Illinois’ historic places.

(Pictured: Share Your Soles at the Pullman Stables in Chicago, a 2024 Preservation Heritage Fund grant recipient.)


Join LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald at CAC on Thursday!

Kick off Preservation Month at the Chicago Architecture Center with a special free presentation this Thursday by Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald. This program will explore the future of preservation with her new book, “The Relevancy Guidebook,” unveiled in November 2023.


May 2, 2024
6 p.m.


Chicago Architecture Center
Grand Lecture Hall
111 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago


Other news from The Relevancy Guidebook:

  • Check out our continued work to promote Landmarks Illinois’ ideas on how to move preservation forward. Read Bonnie McDonald’s April 12 article, “Adaptive Reuse Can Help Solve the US Housing Crisis,” in Green Building & Design Magazine, in honor of Earth Day, highlighting preservation as a sustainable, affordable housing solution. In commemoration of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, McDonald was also featured on an April 9 LinkedIn Live panel hosted by Deryl McKissack, President and CEO at McKissack & McKissack and Founder & Chair of AEC Unites, about “How Black Creative Culture Has Affected Urban Renewal.”

Riding CTA trains this month? Keep an eye out for Landmarks Illinois!

Last week, we launched our first-ever public advertising campaign, which aims to highlight our work and the work of our partners in preservation. Our signs will be featured at certain L stations in the Loop and on Red and Green line trains for the next several weeks! See one? Take a photo and tag us in it on social media!

PRESERVATION SNAPSHOTS: Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ

Mamie Till-Mobley wanted the world to see what happened to her son. Her decision for an open-casket funeral made Emmett a martyr of the Civil Rights Movement and pivotal in American history. In 2023, President Biden established the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument, which contains Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ.

Join us for a riveting Preservation Snapshots presentation on Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in partnership with the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Institute and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.

Speakers: Tiffany Tolbert, Associate Director, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Dr. Marvel Parker, Executive Director of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley Institute; and Brandon Bibby, Senior Preservation Architect, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

(Photo credit: ST-17600005-E1, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum))


Tuesday, June 11, 2024
12 – 1 p.m.


Virtual webinar over Zoom


Free for Landmarks Illinois Members
$5 for non-Landmarks Illinois members
Registration is required. Guests will receive a custom link to join the presentation closer to the event date.


Miss our April Preservation Snapshots Lecture?

Watch “Edith Farnsworth House: Twentieth Anniversary Presentation by Architect Joe Antunovich,” here and all previous presentations on Youtube.

Top social media post of the month

Former Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award Winners along the path of totality

As many people traveled to Southern Illinois to view the solar eclipse on April 8, we featured former award-winning projects to check out in the region. See the post here on Facebook.

Other top posts:

Celebrating major staff milestones

Landmarks Illinois celebrates Suzanne Germann, Director of Reinvestment, who reached 20 years with the organization in April, and Frank Butterfield, Chief Operating Officer, now at 11 years. We thank them both for the impact that they have made helping people and communities save places across Illinois!

Learn more about Suzanne and Frank below!

(Pictured above: From left to right – Director of Grants & Easements Suzanne Germann, Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski, and Chief Operating Officer Frank Butterfield at the RBIC event in July 2023.)

Additional Landmarks Illinois Preservation News

  • The deadline to submit a proposal for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the historic Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston is approaching. RFP responses are due to the City of Evanston by 2 p.m. on May 28. Landmarks Illinois has long advocated for the reuse of the Harley Clarke Mansion, including it on our 2016 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Learn more here.
  • The Lawson House in Chicago has reopened following a renovation to transform the former YMCA into affordable housing. The project was led by Holsten Development, which was honored at our 2024 Preservation Forward event in late February. Holsten SVP & General Counsel Jackie Holsten, a Landmarks Illinois Board Member, and President Peter Holsten were named 2024 Landmarks Illinois Influencers for the company’s work in rehabilitating historic buildings to create quality affordable housing in Chicago. Learn about Holsten and all our 2024 Influencers here.
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation called attention to a 2023 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award winner: OSF HealthCare Ministry Headquarters in Peoria. The rehabilitation of the “Big White Store,” one of the city’s most iconic landmarks would not have been possible without historic preservation tax credits through both federal and River Edge Historic Tax Credit programs. Landmarks Illinois has spent decades working to ensure Illinois has a state historic preservation tax credit that makes the reuse of our iconic structures possible. Read the Trust’s feature here.
  • The National Trust for Historic Preservation is taking applications for its Diversity Scholarship Program. The program supports attendance to PastForward, the Trust’s annual conference, being held this year in October in New Orleans. Applications are due May 31. Learn more here.

Read the full April 2024 Preservation News Roundup:

April 2024 Preservation News

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