June 2023 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.

Ebony Test Kitchen finds permanent home at Smithsonian

Landmarks Illinois announced earlier this month that it donated the iconic Ebony Test Kitchen from the former Johnson Publishing Company Building in Chicago to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) located in Washington, D.C. The test kitchen will be a part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Landmarks Illinois saved the culturally significant test kitchen from demolition in 2018. The NMAAHC said the kitchen would undergo conservation work as it develops new plans for its construction and future use.

“Saving the Ebony Test Kitchen has been an extraordinary preservation effort, and one we are proud to be a part of, especially given this incredible result,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “We cannot think of a more suitable home for the iconic kitchen than the NMAAHC, which welcomes millions of visitors every year in our nation’s capital. We thank the Smithsonian Institution for its dedication to preserving this pivotal piece of American history.”

Landmarks Illinois produced a short video about the years-long effort to preserve the Ebony Test Kitchen. Click here to watch the video. Or, click the button below to learn more about this years-long preservation effort.

LEarn more

Landmarks Illinois grant fund support preservation projects throughout the state

This week, Landmarks Illinois announced it has awarded $32,000 in grant funds to Illinois preservation projects through three of its grant funds: the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side, the Preservation Heritage Fund and the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois.

Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side grant recipients:

  • Monumental Baptist Church, Bronzeville
  • Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, Bronzeville 
  • Canaan Baptist Church, Englewood 
Learn more

Preservation Heritage Fund grant recipients:

  • Friends of Sears Sunken Garden, Chicago
  • Greater St. Paul AME Church, Chicago
  • Kansas Presbyterian Church, Kansas
  • City of Kewanee
  • Millstadt Union Fire Department, Millstadt
  • City of Red Bud

Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois grant recipient:

  • First Immanuel Lutheran Church, Chicago
Learn more

Donate to our Spring Appeal!

Make a donation to Landmarks Illinois! Your donation to our Spring Appeal makes it possible for Landmarks Illinois to continue providing the resources people need to save places in their communities.


2022-2023 Annual Report

Landmarks Illinois has released its 2022-2023 Annual Report. The report features preservation success stories from our latest fiscal year, which runs July 1 through June 30. It provides a glimpse at the places across Illinois we helped save in the last 12 months and the communities we worked with.

Read the Annual Report

Condition assessment at McAuley Schoolhouse in West Chicago

Klein & Hoffman and Berglund Construction visited the McAuley School in West Chicago on June 29 to conduct a pro bono conditions assessment. McAuley School is a former one-room school house, built in 1913, that has been vacant since 1992. It was included in the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois in 2014. The assessment will help owner West Chicago Elementary School District 33 achieve a vision to turn the former schoolhouse into offices for its early childhood program.

Upcoming Events

RBIC event at The Belden-Straford


(Early-bird ticket pricing ends today)

Landmarks Illinois’ Real Estate and Building Industries Council (RBIC) welcomes you to an exclusive look inside the transformation of The Belden-Stratford.

Join us for a networking reception with Chicagoland’s real estate and building industries community as we celebrate the renovation and conversion of the 100-year-old former hotel in Lincoln Park into luxury apartments, led by Mansueto Office. Guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and property tours including the rooftop deck offering sweeping views of the city skyline.


Preservation Snapshots Lecture: Dr. Percy Julian, An American Story That is Home to Oak Park

Dr. Percy Julian was an African American chemist who made history for his work synthesizing important medicinal compounds from abundant plant sources. The grandson of enslaved people, Julian faced many racial barriers and challenges during his life and career. His former Oak Park residence sits within the village’s historic district and is today in need of preservation resources. Learn more about him and his historic home at this virtual lecture.


June Event Highlights

Skyline Social


Landmarks Illinois’ young & emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, hosted its annual fundraising event, the Skyline Social on Thursday, June 1 at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Thank you to all who attended the evening networking event!

Skyline Council Pub Crawl & Neighborhood Tour

June 17

Will Tippens, Vice President of Related Midwest and a Landmarks Illinois Board Member, and Joel Chmara, Professor at the College of Lake County and a world-renowned performance poet, led Skyline Council members & guests on a fun walking tour of the historic neighborhoods of Highwood and Fort Sheridan while stopping at local restaurants and bars including Broken Tee Brewing Company, Toadstool Pub, Teddy O’Brian’s and 28 Mile Distilling Company.

See photos from the pub crawl here.

Preservation Snapshots Lecture: Brooklyn, IL, One of the Last Remaining Freedom Towns in America

June 21

Landmarks Illinois Programs Manager Leila Wills welcomed Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski and the Historical Society of Brooklyn, Illinois’ Robert White, III, for an in-depth discussion on the historic town of Brooklyn, Illinois, listed on the 2023 Most Endangered list.

Click here to watch the lecture.

2023 Annual Meeting

June 27

Landmarks Illinois’s 2023 Annual Meeting featured highlights of our accomplishments this past fiscal year and a presentation by President & CEO Bonnie McDonald on The Relevancy Project. Members also elected Landmarks Illinois Board Members. Click above to watch the Annual Meeting.

Watch the Annual Meeting here.


Grant applications for the Landmarks Illinois Banterra Bank Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program and the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side are due tomorrow, July 1.

The Landmarks Illinois Banterra Bank Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program provides monetary assistance to preserve or rehabilitate historic structures in downtowns and other commercial corridors of Southern Illinois to support economic development.

The Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side supports grantees in their effort to preserve and promote the history, culture and architecture of Chicago’s South Side.

(Pictured: 2023 Preserve Southern Illinois grant recipients Jamie and Shannon Green are presented with their grant in May in front of their commercial building in downtown Murphysboro, 1330 Walnut St.)

Landmarks Illinois advocates for Will County Courthouse as county announces plans for its demolition

This month, Will County officials announced they intend to demolish the architecturally significant 1969 former county courthouse to make way for a new government mega-complex, which it would build in partnership with the City of Joliet.

Days later, Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski, Landmarks Illinois Board Chair Gary Anderson and Landmarks Illinois Board Member Ron Clewer (pictured above) gave public comment at the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) in support of preserving the Will County Courthouse. Adamowski (who is also a member of the HPC), Anderson and Clewer pointed to the redevelopment opportunities for the courthouse now that Joliet has been included in the River Edge Redevelopment Zone, making it possible for qualified projects to receive tax credits through the River Edge Historic Tax Credit Program. Click below to learn more about the proposed demolition and the opposition against it.

Additional Landmarks Illinois preservation news

  • After placing the Baxter International Campus on our Most Endangered List in May, Landmarks Illinois continued to advocate for the City of Deerfield to deny Bridge Industrial’s application to annex and rezone the SOM-designed campus, which would have resulted in its demolition and replacement with a speculative logistics warehouse development.  Landmarks Illinois submitted written comments for the May 11 hearing by the Deerfield Plan Commission, when Bridge Industrial presented its application, which was referenced by the commission during the hearing. In response to opposition, Bridge Industrial withdrew its application on June 7.
    • Also on June 7, Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski attended the Gibson City Restoration Association open house of the Burwell Building, a recent Preservation Heritage Fund Grant awardee. Over the past year, the association has purchased the former Opera House, cleared the building of debris and junk and secured a pro bono conditions assessment courtesy of Dave Leonatti with Melotte, Morse, Leonatti, Parker. The association hopes to make necessary envelope repairs and then find a new owner or lessee to adaptively reuse the space.
      • The Glenview New Development Commission unanimously voted on June 27 not to recommend approval of Core Spaces’ application to demolish the architecturally significant former Scott Foresman Headquarters to make way for a new residential development. Landmarks Illinois included the Midcentury Modern corporate campus on its 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois and has continued to advocate for reuse of the Perkins & Will-designed buildings. The matter will now go before the Glenview Board of Trustees for a final decision.
        • Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen and Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski were on Illinois Public Media’s The 21st Show on June 14 to discuss multiple 2023 Most Endangered sites, including Cairo and Brooklyn, Illinois, the Alexander Brothers Blacksmith Shop in Geneva and the Century & Consumer Buildings on State Street in Chicago. Listen to the interview here.
          • Former Advocacy Manager Lisa DiChiera was featured on a program June 7 about Landmarks Illinois’ effort to save the Ebony Test Kitchen as part of Charla Draper’s National Soul Food Month. The virtual presentation, “From Demolition to Rebirth–the Ebony Test Kitchen’s Journey,” kicked off the month-long celebration honoring the heritage and history of foods and foodways of African Americans and peoples from the African diaspora. Draper, who was Ebony’s Director of Food & Home Furnishings, founded National Soul Food Month, which occurs annually in June, back in 2001. Learn more about it here.
            • The state has released a summary of findings from the community engagement sessions it conducted as part of its process to create a new Illinois Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. The new 10-year plan will guide the state in how it plans for and cares for its historic and cultural resources. Read the full report here. Individual summaries for each session are also on the project website here.


            Read the full June 2023 Preservation News Roundup:

            June 2023 Preservation News

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