Ongoing effort to save one of Illinois’ most iconic, brutalist buildings: the Will County Courthouse
One of our biggest ongoing advocacy efforts of 2023 was around the former Will County Courthouse in Joliet, an exceptionally unique Brutalist building included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2022 Most Endangered list. At the start of the year and as the building remained threatened with demolition, Landmarks Illinois and the Courthouse Preservation Partnership issued an exploratory Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), asking qualified developers and architectural firms to share their potential reuse visions for the vacant building. In March, we shared the six responses we received with the Will County Board, in hopes it would encourage the county to release an official Request for Proposals for the courthouse’s reuse.
More attention was brought to the building in February when Landmarks Illinois’ young and emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, partnered with the Courthouse Preservation Partnership to host a heart bomb event just ahead of Valentine’s Day.
Another positive development in the courthouse’s preservation: The building was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination process was led by Preservation Futures and supported by Landmarks Illinois and the Courthouse Preservation Partnership.
Despite the building’s significance being recognized through a National Register listing, widespread public support for its preservation and its extensive reuse potential, Will County officials have continued to pursue demolition. Late this year, demolition crews moved on to the site to prepare to begin the process of tearing down the building.
Landmarks Illinois has remained committed throughout 2023 to push for the preservation of this significant structure and will continue to do so in the New Year if the opportunity arises. Thank you to everyone who joined our efforts to bring attention to the former Will County Courthouse this year and who continues to support our fight to preserve the building.