May 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.

From Canton to Cairo, LI's Advocacy Team visited partners across the state during Preservation Month

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski traveled to nearly a dozen communities in Greater Illinois in May to meet with preservation partners. Among his stops was Cairo, Illinois, where he attended the third annual Cairo Magnolia Celebration at Magnolia Manor. He was joined by Landmarks Illinois Board Member Magdalena Novoa, an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois, and our friends Elizabeth Blasius and Jonathan Solomon from Preservation Futures (pictured above). The yearly event brings attention to numerous historical and cultural resources in Cairo and helps raise funds for the Cairo Historical Preservation Project, a past grantee of Landmarks Illinois.

Scroll down to see Quinn’s other stops in May!

What are Illinois’ Most Endangered’ Places?

Landmarks Illinois announced its 2024 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois earlier this month. The list calls attention to 10 culturally and architecturally significant sites across the state that are desperately in need of preservation resources, including three designated State Historic Sites. Explore the state’s top threatened sites at our website.

If you missed our public announcement, you can watch it online

Explore the 2024 Most Endangered

South Side grant program now open to for-profit entities!

Applications for funding due July 1!

The Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side provides financial support to people preserving and promoting the history, culture and architecture of Chicago’s South Side. This grant program is now open to both nonprofits and for-profit entities. Potential grant amounts have also increased, now ranging from $500 to $10,000 each, depending on project need. Grants are awarded on a 3:1 matching basis.

Visit our website to learn more about eligible projects and how to apply for a grant!

Learn more

Just days left to submit a nomination for a 2024 Preservation Award!

Nominations for the 2024 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards are due by Monday, June 3 at 11:59 p.m.!

The annual awards recognize exceptional efforts in preserving, restoring and revitalizing historic places in Illinois. Visit our website to learn more about the program and how to submit a nomination.

Submit a nomination

Around the state


American Giants Museum

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski attended the grand opening of the American Giants Museum in Atlanta on May 26. The museum was developed by Bill Thomas with the Atlanta Betterment Fund in coordination with Joel Baker, the founder of American Giants. The multi-day celebration drew thousands of Giant enthusiasts from around the region.


Macoupin County Jail

Landmarks Illinois Chief Operating Officer Frank Butterfield was in Carlinville May 22 to celebrate the grand opening of the restored historic Macoupin County “Cannonball Jail.”

The jail was in use from 1869 until 1988 and is located on the iconic Route 66. It has long been a popular tourist destination but was closed to the public due to structural and environmental issues. Landmarks Illinois provided a $3,000 Preservation Heritage Fund grant in 2016 to Macoupin County for lead paint and asbestos abatement at the jail.

The Macoupin County Board and the Macoupin County Community Foundation led the restoration project at the old jail. It is now open to the public daily from April to October and visitors can take free, self-guided tours of the historic space.

Coal City

Community Planning

On May 21, Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski attended a community MAPPING session in Coal City to offer guidance and suggestions for local preservation initiatives. Led by representatives from the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University, the MAPPING the Future of Your Community program helps communities develop a vision and strategic plan through a bottom-up, citizen-led approach. Since its inception in 1991, the affordable and intensive program has been conducted in over 150 Illinois communities.


Community Hospital of Evanston

Founded in 1914, the Evanston Sanitarium led to the development of the Community Hospital of Evanston, which ensured that black residents in Evanston had a place to receive health care until its closure in 1980. The City of Evanston has worked with Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen to preserve the hospital’s rich history. JAQ Corp conducted a pro bono conditions assessment of the property to aid local preservation efforts.

Lincoln & Canton

Preservation Financial Incentives

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski visited Lincoln on May 14 (pictured) and Canton on May 15 to discuss strategies for community revitalization through historic preservation, including financial incentives available for redeveloping historic properties. In Lincoln, Adamowski met with representatives from the Lincoln Economic Advancement and Development, local elected officials, building owners and local preservation advocates. In Canton, Adamowski met with representatives from the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, local elected officials, building owners and local preservation advocates.


Train Depot

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski traveled to Tamms on May 3 to meet with local preservation advocates, the Mayor of Tamms and architect Thad Heckman to discuss the condition of and possible future uses for the former Tamms Train Depot. Built in 1899, the National Register-listed depot served passengers until its closure in 1955. The Village of Tamms purchased and renovated the building in the 1980s to serve as Village Hall. The building has been vacant since City Hall was later relocated. Local leaders would like to see the structure transformed into a community gathering place.


Flesor’s Candy Kitchen

Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski met with representatives from Douglas County Economic Development, Inc. and the owner of Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola to discuss possible incentives and financial resources available for the historic property. In 2023, the iconic candy shop and restaurant was awarded a $40,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Backing Historic Small Restaurant grant program to replace rotted windows. Unfortunately, a window inspection revealed that the 1871 building has structural damage that needs to be addressed before the window replacement. Due to the costs associated with necessary repairs and the urgency of those repairs, Flesor’s started a Go Fund Me campaign


Johnson County Courthouse

On May 3, Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski met with local preservation advocates in Vienna to discuss the status of the Johnson County Courthouse and the available options for reuse of the 2024 Most Endangered structure. Local preservation and community revitalization advocates see the courthouse as a community asset that could be used in a variety of ways. The county was working on reuse plans for the building before a truss fractured in the building last year. Though permanent repairs are needed, the building has been stabilized.

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Gillson Park in Wilmette listed in National Register

The former Most Endangered site, Gillson Park in Wilmette, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 60-acre, Prairie-style public park sits along Lake Michigan and features naturalist landscapes and open space.

When Landmarks Illinois called attention to the park on its 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, the Wilmette Park District was considering changes to the 107-year-old park that would alter its passive design and remove greenery to add more roads and parking. That threat continues today, and the local group, Keep Gillson Green, is working to prevent those changes from occurring.

Landmarks Illinois sponsored the Gillson Park National Register nomination, prepared by Julia S. Bachrach, landscape historian, and Malcolm Cairns, FASLA.

We also hosted a Preservation Snapshots Lecture on the historic park in November.

Watch it here

Landmarks Illinois attends Thompson Center Redevelopment Launch

Landmarks Illinois Chief Operating Officer Frank Butterfield and President & CEO Bonnie McDonald attended the James R. Thompson Center redevelopment launch on May 6 in Chicago. Landmarks Illinois and several preservation partners, including DOCOMOMO-Chicago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Chicago and Preservation Futures, advocated to save the Thompson Center when the State of Illinois put it up for sale in 2019. The event solidified this monumental win for preservation and for Chicago’s Loop. (Pictured left to right: Erin Lavin Cabonargi, formerly of the State of Illinois; Erin Aleman, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Executive Director; Bonnie McDonald; and Eleanor Gorski, CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center.)

Read more in the news

Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Johnson, Google officials mark start of Thompson Center construction
ABC 7 Chicago, May 6

Google it! Thompson Center’s $280M redevelopment to become Google’s Chicago HQ kicks off
Chicago Sun-Times, May 6

Thompson Center’s Transformation Into Google’s Chicago Headquarters Begins
Block Club Chicago, May 6

Donate today!

Upcoming events


June 11, 12 p.m.

Join us for a special Preservation Snapshots Lecture 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. Free to LI members! (Photo credit: ST-17600005-E1, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum)



June 25, 12 p.m.

Our virtual Annual Meeting will feature highlights from the past year and allow members to vote on board candidates.

Free to attend!



June 25, 6-8 p.m.

Our RBIC and Skyline Council team up to host a networking event at The Salt Shed, one of Chicago’s largest and most creative adaptive reuse projects. Tickets and sponsorships on sale now.

Learn more

Landmarks Illinois will be at a public event at the Damen Silos

Landmarks Illinois is excited to participate in the upcoming Backward River Festival: Damen Silo City on June 8.

The Freshwater Lab at the University of Illinois Chicago is hosting the event, inviting the public to “reclaim your water and foster a sense of joy and possibility through music, performance and community connection.”

Landmarks Illinois included the historic former grain silos on its 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. An asphalt company is proposing to demolish the iconic 1906 former grain silos in McKinley Park to build new office and trucking facilities. Local residents oppose the plans, which would rob Chicago of an important piece of its industrial history and prevent a more environmentally friendly and equitable redevelopment of this highly visible site along the Chicago River. At the upcoming festival, we will have more information on the silo’s history, demolition threat and how you can help the preservation effort.



Backward River Festival: Damen Silo City

Saturday, June 8, 2 – 6 p.m.

Canalport Riverwalk Park 2900 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL

Free and open to the public.

For event details including artist lineup, community expo participants and schedule of interactive activities, visit

Learn more about the Damen Silos

Top social media post of the month

Summer networking event at The Salt Shed

News of our   at the iconic Chicago venue, The Salt Shed, got a lot of attention this month. Guests will get an exclusive peek at the former historic Morton Salt factory that has been transformed into a unique destination along the Chicago River. See the post here on Instagram.

Other top posts:

Additional Landmarks Illinois Preservation News

  • Ben Weese, architect and preservationist who helped save Glessner House, has passed away. Weese played a pivotal role in Landmarks Illinois’ early days, serving as a board member in 1971 and 1972. He also donated an easement to Landmarks Illinois and he and his wife remained longtime supporters of the organization.
  • After over 32 years of service to the City of Evanston, Carlos D. Ruiz has retired as Preservation Coordinator for the City of Evanston. Ruiz served as a board member of Landmarks Illinois between 1990 and 1996. Read more about Ruiz here and here.
  • President and CEO, Bonnie McDonald, continued to speak publicly about Landmarks Illinois’ efforts to redefine preservation as a more accessible and relevant practice through the publication of “The Relevancy Guidebook.” She helped kick off Preservation Month as a speaker on May 2 at the Chicago Architecture Center and with a webinar on May 3 for the American Planning Association. Bonnie’s next presentation will be the keynote for the PreserveAZ Conference in Prescott, Ariz., on June 27

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