Welcome to our year-end roundup of Landmarks Illinois’ major advocacy efforts, projects, programs and events. Thank you to all our partners, on-the-ground advocates, members and supporters for joining us in 2022 as we helped people across Illinois save places. We hope you will continue to support us in 2023!Join or renew your Landmarks Illinois membership!
Preservation successes of 2022
A number of former endangered places were saved from demolition this year and/or or have active restoration projects underway. Landmarks Illinois worked with local advocates across the state to develop preservation plans for their historic sites, connected them to preservation professionals who could provide pro bono services and, in some cases, awarded them grants to aid their efforts. Learn more below.
The Chicago Public Housing community of Altgeld Gardens on Chicago’s Far South Side was designated as a historic district on the National Register this year.
Landmarks Illinois included the Shop Building and two school buildings in Altgeld Gardens on our 2021 Most Endangered list. Since that time, Landmarks Illinois and the Skyline Council has worked with community advocacy organization People for Community Recovery to bring attention to and find preservation solutions for the vacant but historically significant sites, including hosting a heart bombing in the community in February.
The National Register listing not only recognizes the community’s historic importance, but also opens the opportunity for developers to use state and federal historic preservation tax credits on a building rehabilitations and reuse.
Congratulations to People for Community Recovery and all those involved in the designation!Read more
James R. Thompson Center
In July, news broke that Google would purchase the James R. Thompson Center, a long threatened site in Chicago’s Loop that Landmarks Illinois has listed four times on its Most Endangered list since 2017.
After spending years advocating for the preservation of the iconic Post Modern building, designed by Helmut Jahn, Landmarks Illinois announced it support for reusing the building as a dynamic office for the tech company.Read more
Ebony Test Kitchen
Members of the Landmarks Illinois staff, board and Skyline Council traveled to New York City this year to experience and celebrate the Museum of Food & Drink’s exhibit, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” which features the former Ebony Test Kitchen.
In 2018, Landmarks Illinois, with help from its Skyline Council and other volunteers, deconstructed the Ebony Test Kitchen from its home in the former Johnson Publishing Company headquarters in Chicago, which was being converted by a developer from office to residential use. A year later, Landmarks Illinois loaned the kitchen to MOFAD to feature in its exhibit.
Landmarks Illinois also hosted a Preservation Snapshots Lecture: “Saving the Iconic Ebony Test Kitchen” in February 2022, which featured Jean Nihoul, Former Curator & Culinary Operations Manager at MOFAD; and Charla Draper, Publicist and former Ebony Food EditorWatch the Snapshots Lecture
Greenstone Methodist Church
In October, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved a $1.8 million Adopt-a-Landmark grant for Greenstone United Methodist Church in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. The grant will fund critical restoration to Greenstone Church’s distinctive green stone exterior.
Landmarks Illinois also provided funding for restoration work at Greenstone Church through the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side in January 2021 and has connected the congregation to pro bono preservation services throughout the years like a space planning analysis in March and a condition assessment of the property in 2016.Read more
Preservation efforts at the Heart Theatre in Effingham picked up this year. The Art-Deco theater has been a beloved community landmark since it opened in 1940, but it has been closed for roughly the last 15 years with numerous restoration efforts failing to get off the ground.
This spring, Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy manager Quinn Adamowski traveled to Effingham to speak to community members to offer support for the ongoing preservation effort. This summer, the theater found a new owner, who has worked with Landmarks Illinois and other partners at the local and regional levels.
Landmarks Illinois also recently awarded the new owner a Preservation Heritage Fund that will help pay for a feasibility study on the property, which will aid in determining the best preservation path forward. Community members are voicing support for the restoration efforts, too.Read more
The Galena Marine Hospital, a Landmarks Illinois 2014 Most Endangered site, was designated a local landmark in March. The Marine Hospital was built in 1859 and has sat vacant for decades. However, also this year, it was announced the site would be rehabilitated as part of a planned commercial development, called the Parker resort project.
The project includes restoring the marine hospital and build more than 100 cottages around it, along with a café building, a restaurant and event space, outdoor dining areas, vineyards and walking trails.
Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski has been working with advocates in Galena this year to ensure any reuse of the structure maintains its historic character.Read more
The historic Hawthorne Pool in Galesburg, threatened with permanent closure earlier this year due to a lack of maintenance and funding, will undergo much-needed renovations thanks to the work of local advocates and a large investment from the city. The Galesburg City County voted unanimously in September to move forward with an estimated $1.9 million rehabilitation project that will include exterior and structural work to the pool building.
Hawthorne Pool has been an important community asset since it opened in 1944 when it was used to help rehabilitate wounded WWI veterans. Over the last eight decades, the pool building has served wounded veterans and students with disabilities and has been used to provide therapy services to individuals with mental illness. Since 1985, it has been an economically attainable indoor pool enjoyed by multiple generations of Galesburg citizens.Read more
Old Joliet Prison
Preservation efforts at the Old Joliet Prison, a 2002 Most Endangered site, received major support from federal and state grant funds this year.
The architecturally significant prison received a $3 million Federal Community Project Grant to help stabilize its administration building. And, an additional $3.5 million grant from the state of Illinois will aid other preservation work at the site.
Landmarks Illinois’ Skyline Council also led a pub crawl and tour of Joliet in October, which included a tour of the Old Joliet Prison. See photos here.Read more
Millstadt Water Tower
Landmarks Illinois was happy to see restoration work beginning this year at the Millstadt Water Tower, a historic site Landmarks Illinois included on its 2014 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.
Built in 1931, the tower is the town’s most visible landmark and one of only a few tin man-style towers that remain in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois also awarded Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower a $5,000 grant in 2021 through our Preservation Heritage Fund Grant Program to help with preservation efforts.Read more
Former Most Endangered site and Preservation Heritage Fund grant recipient, the Madison Theatre in Peoria, has undergone major restoration work this year. Local advocates in Peoria also formed the new group called the Madison Preservation Association to fundraise and restore the now 102-year-old theater. The theater is included on the National Register of Historic Places and has sat empty for nearly 20 years. However, following a $35 million restoration, the theater welcomed back visitors for the first time in September as part of a special event.
Landmarks Illinois Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski has met with theater owners and advocates this year to provide support to their preservation efforts.Read more
Kendall County Sheriff's Residence & Jail
This spring, Landmarks Illinois celebrated the restoration and adaptive reuse of former Most Endangered site, the Kendall County Sheriff’s Residence & Jail in Yorkville. Developer Peter McKnight (pictured) led the transformation of the long vacant and threatened property, turning it into retail space, apartments and a vacation rental.
Since including it on our Most Endangered list in 2003, Landmarks Illinois has continued working with partners to find a preservation solution for the building, constructed in 1893. This included bringing professionals from Berglund Construction and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. to the Sheriff’s Residence & Jail in 2018 to evaluate the condition of the buildings and encourage the City of Yorkville to solicit reuse proposals for it rather than tear it down.Read more
Our 2022 events
Landmarks Illinois held a number of engaging events throughout the year, which gave our supporters an inside look at rehabilitated historic places and highlighted exceptional preservation efforts across the state. Highlights include Preservation Forward at The Old Post Office in March (which attracted more than 600 people and raised $730,000 for the organization), Skyline Council’s popular Trivia Nights at Revolution Brewing in April (pictured above), Real Estate and Building Industries Council’s September event at the Tribune Tower and the 2022 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards in November. Visit our Flickr page to see photos from all of our events throughout 2022!2022 Event Photos
Expanding our financial resources in 2022 to help more people save places
Landmarks Illinois launched a new grant program and issued its first loan through our Reinvestment Program during 2022. Learn more below how we extended our financial resources to the people of Illinois this year!
$75K awarded in grant funding during 2022
Landmarks Illinois awarded a total of $75,000 during 2022 through matching grants that helped people all across the state save places in their communities. The grants were given out through Landmarks Illinois’ four grant programs. Click on each grant fund to learn about 2022 grant recipients:
- Preservation Heritage Fund
- Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois
- Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side
- Landmarks Illinois Banterra Bank Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program
Click below to learn more about Landmarks Illinois grant programs.Landmarks Illinois grants
New grant fund targets preservation efforts in Southern Illinois
Landmarks Illinois launched a new grant program in April 2022in partnership with Banterra Bank focused solely on providing monetary assistance to preserve or rehabilitate historic structures in downtowns and other commercial corridors of Southern Illinois to support economic development.
The Landmarks Illinois Banterra Bank Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program is our organization’s first grant program targeted at a specific Illinois economic development region and is also the first one offered to private building owners, developers and for-profit business owners.
The Hardin County Independent in Elizabethtown and Brewed on Broadway and Pin Up Salon in Sesser became the first two grant recipients for the new grant fund. Landmarks Illinois announced the grants in October, traveling to each community for a check presentation event.
Applications for the next round of funding through the grant program are due January 1! Apply here.Read more
First reinvestment program loan helps South Side nonprofit
Landmarks Illinois issued its first loan through our Reinvestment Program Loan Fund this year. The program provides loans up to $150,000 per project for preservation initiatives in Illinois where traditional financing is either difficult to obtain or unavailable. Landmarks Illinois made its first loan in February to the Greater Chatham Initiative (GCI) to help finance the preservation of a South Side building (pictured) that is now home to the organization’s “Artist on the 9” co-working space and gallery. GCI is a nonprofit charged with developing and driving the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to revitalize the Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago.
The Reinvestment Program Loan Fund will help spark economic opportunities in neighborhoods and future investment in our historic places. Click below to learn more.Read more
2022 Easement Highlight: Charles Wenner House in Galena
This fall, Landmarks Illinois accepted a preservation easement donation on the Charles Wenner House in Galena. The 1850s farmhouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and surrounded by more than 60 acres of natural habitat, which is also protected under a conservation easement with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (JDCF). Click below to learn more about this unique easement and the story of how the owners have spent decades preserving the home.Read more
Looking ahead to 2023
Read below about some of the preservation efforts we already have underway that will keep us busy in the new year!
Preserving federal and state preservation tax credits
The Landmarks Illinois advocacy team has been working this year with preservation partner organizations like AIA Illinois as well as elected officials and staffers to ensure historic preservation tax credit programs at the state and national level are protected and expanded. Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski has coordinated meetings this year with federal legislative staffers to continue advocating for the adoption of key historic preservation-related legislative measures, including an improved federal historic tax credit (H.R.2294) and the designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail (H.R.3600). To date, half of Illinois’ Representatives have co-sponsored H.R.2294, and H.R.3600 is waiting to be called for a vote in the House.
At the state level, Adamowski and Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald have met with lawmakers in advance of their 2023 spring legislative session to discuss the future of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. The vital program is set to expire at the end of 2023. During private meetings in Springfield and at community events across the state, we have been asking state lawmakers to support pending legislation that would reauthorize the program for five years as well as increase the funding cap.
Learn more about the current state tax credit program by clicking below. Also, our advocacy work on historic preservation tax credits will continue in the new year. Stay tuned for more news on this topic in 2023.Read more
DEI Collaborative creates action plan for organization
Landmarks Illinois’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Collaborative worked with consultant Dina Bailey of Mountain Top Vision this year to create a DEI Action Plan for the organization. The DEI Collaborative, a 15-member committee, launched in 2021. The DEI Action Plan is expected to be completed next year and will outline goals, objectives and strategies to ensure Landmarks Illinois’ operations and governance delivers on its justice, equity, diversity, transparency and accountability principles.
Eugene S. Pike House
Since listing the Eugene S. Pike House in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood on our 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, we have remained active in the effort to preserve the historic home.
In November, Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen joined volunteers to clear yard waste at the Pike House during a fall clean-up day.
The picturesque, late 19th-century home is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the Dan Ryan Woods, it was once used as a “Watchman’s Residence” for the forest preserve but today is vacant and deteriorating and needs an outside user and investor.
The forest preserve is seeking Requests for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the reuse of the structure. Responses are due March 31, 2023. Click the button below to access the forest preserve’s website where the RFEI is listed under “Current Bid Opportunities.”RFEI
This year, Landmarks Illinois was involved in the potential reuse efforts of the Lakeside Center in Chicago — a building recognized as an iconic part of the city skyline, but one that has also long been threatened by disinvestment and underutilization. The building, designed by Gene Summers and Helmut Jahn for C.F. Murphy Associates and built between 1968 and 1971, was one of several sites in Chicago proposed for a new casino.
Landmarks Illinois voiced its support for reusing the building as a casino as it would mean the significant historic building would be rehabilitated and adaptively reused in an environmentally sustainable way and give the public access to the lakefront on the property. The casino proposal however did not move forward.
The Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority is seeking Requests for Information through December 22 from those interested in redeveloping the 51-year-old. In October, Landmarks Illinois attended the first of three pre-RFI-submittal site visits of Lakeside Center and will continue working in 2023 with partners to ensure the building is preserved and reused. Learn more about the RFI belowRead more
Landmarks Illinois has been a part of the effort this year to make Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago a national monument and historic site. In October, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald gave a statement in support of the effort at a public meeting attended by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Landmarks Illinois has been collaborating with Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ’s congregation, The Mamie Till-Mobley Memorial Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in recent years to develop a rehabilitation plan for the historic church that was the site of the 1955 open-casket funeral of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered at the age of 14 while visiting family in Mississippi. The Skyline Council of Landmarks Illinois also hosted a heart bombing event at the church in 2021.
Read Landmarks Illinois’ statement in support of making the church a national monument and historic site below.Read LI's statement
Century & Consumers Buildings
Landmarks Illinois called attention to the Century & Consumers Buildings in Downtown Chicago on our 2022 Most Endangered list. The vacant buildings, located within the National Register-listed Loop Retail Historic District, are owned by the federal government, sit vacant and currently face demolition.
Landmarks Illinois has joined the many voices this year opposing demolition, putting pressure on the GSA to consider an alternative. In December, Landmarks Illinois submitted comments to the GSA as part of the federal environmental review process and expects to participate in the historic preservation review process beginning in January. Stay tuned in 2023 as we continue advocating for the reuse of these prominent downtown buildings.LEarn more
Will County Courthouse
Landmarks Illinois has continued to work to find a reuse of the former Will County Courthouse in Joliet since including it this spring on our 2022 Most Endangered list. Built in 1969 and designed by Otto Stark of C.F. Murphy Associates in partnership with Krugel, Healy & Moore Architects, the Brutalist building is at risk of demolition due to Will County’s current lack of interest to explore reuse opportunities for the architecturally significant, but vacant structure.
Landmarks Illinois young & emerging professional committee, the Skyline Council, hosted a pub crawl and neighborhood tour in Downtown Joliet on October 1 that included a stop at the courthouse. Landmarks Illinois has also partnered with Courthouse Preservation Partnership to help with its local advocacy efforts, including helping sell t-shirts featuring the now popular moniker, “World’s Ugliest Courthouse.”Read more
After including Gillson Park in Wilmette on the 2022 Most Endangered List, Landmarks Illinois hired consultants Julia Bachrach and Malcolm Cairns this year to complete a preliminary study to evaluate the park for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and identify its historic features. Their study was completed and submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office in November. In early December, Landmarks Illinois received a positive opinion from the SHPO to go forward with a full National Register nomination. The results of the study and the opinion from the SHPO were shared with the Wilmette Park District to inform comprehensive planning for Gillson Park.
Learn more about the historic Prairie-style park below.Read more
Make a gift to our End-of-Year Appeal!
Landmarks Illinois has the know-how, access to strategic partnerships and financial resources people need to save threatened, historic places in our state. But we can’t do this work without your support. Please give the most generous End-of-Year gift you can today.Donate
Top social media posts of 2022
- Facebook: A post in May about the demolition of the Klas Restaurant in Cicero, a former Most Endangered site, received the most attention on our Facebook page this year. See it here.
- Titter: A tweet isharing a new study on the historic traders worker shortage by The Campaign for Historic Trades made the biggest impression on our Twitter page. See it here.
- Instagram: A post we shared in February from @CheapOldHouses on Instagram about a home being offered for free in Dundee got the most likes on Instagram. See it here.
- Linked In: Breaking news iof Google buying the Thompson Center in Chicago attracted the most attention on our Linked In page this year. See it here.