Preservation News Roundup: April 2021

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.

Next week! 2021 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois Virtual Announcement

Landmarks Illinois will announce the sites on the 2021 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois at a virtual presentation open to the public and members of the press.


Wednesday, May 5
12 p.m.


Zoom Webinar


Free to attend. Registration required.


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 20-sided, 118-year-old Shelbyville Chautauqua was a 2018 Most Endangered site, but today is on its way to being restored, with repairs expected to be complete by this summer. Learn more by following the Shelbyville Chautauqua Facebook group.)

Register for the announcement

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2021 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards

Landmarks Illinois is accepting nominations now through June 1 for the 2021 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards.

The annual awards program honors individuals, organizations, projects and programs in Illinois whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in preservation and protects the historic places that matter to people and their communities.

All nominations will be considered for awards. The nominees and projects that most closely emulate Landmarks Illinois’ values and our priorities to support inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) in preservation will receive the greatest consideration. Award recipients will be honored this fall at a public ceremony and also receive a cash prize and custom-designed trophy.

Awards will be selected from the following general categories:

  • ADVOCACY: An effective local or statewide campaign to preserve and protect a historic resource.
  • LEADERSHIP: Individual, municipality, private organization or joint partnership that has championed historic preservation, planning or public policy.
  • PRESERVATION: Projects that make possible the continued use of historic commercial/industrial buildings, multi-family/affordable housing residences, public/institutional structures or preserves a cultural heritage site.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Mitigation of climate change through preservation technologies

To honor the memory and creative spirit of Richard H. Driehaus, Landmarks Illinois’ longtime partner in preservation, one of the 2021 selected winners will receive the Richard H. Driehaus Legacy Award, which will be presented to a forward-thinking individual or an exemplary project that represents innovation in preservation. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation has generously underwritten Landmarks Illinois’ annual preservation awards program since 1994.

Submit a nomination

Help us advocate for vital historic preservation tax incentives!

Call to action: Please help us urge both state and federal lawmakers to extend historic tax credits, which continue to spur investment in our historic places!


The River Edge Redevelopment Zone (RERZ) Historic tax Credit – a vital tax incentive for historic preservation projects in the five Illinois river communities of Aurora, East St. Louis, Elgin, Peoria, and Rockford – is currently set to expire at the end of this year. To date, 32 projects representing over $295 million in investment have been completed because of the RERZ program. An additional $325 million of projects in planning phases are underway. Landmarks Illinois and partners are advocating for an extension of this important tax credit program to enable these projects and future projects to happen.

The active bill to extend the RERZ program by five years is SB0157, sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes, which passed out of the Senate and is currently in the Illinois House with Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth as the chief House sponsor. You can help by contacting your state lawmakers urging them to support this bill.


Please contact your U.S. Representative and encourage them to cosponsor and support H.R. 2294, which would expand the federal Historic Tax Credit from 20% to 30% nationwide through 2024. Find your representative here. This legislation, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18), would also provide much-needed assistance to Illinois preservation projects that need it most, including small and midsize projects, affordable housing projects and those faced with rising costs and limited access to capital as a result of the pandemic.

“We thank Congressmen LaHood and Blumenauer and all the bill’s sponsors for their continued efforts to expand the vital rehabilitation tax credit that spurs the reuse of historic places and economic development in Illinois communities,” said Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald in a press release from U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood’s office. “This legislation is a needed enhancement to this proven private investment incentive, and a welcome boost for small and midsize projects, affordable housing projects and those faced with rising costs and limited access to capital as a result of the pandemic.”

Send a message through your Representative’s website and select “tax” or “taxation” as the issue area.

  • Or call (during office hours) their office. Introduce yourself as a constituent and ask for the email address of tax staff.
  • Ask/Explain to your Representative:
  • 1) Historic Tax Credit projects will help revitalize our communities and support our nation’s economic recovery. Many projects continue to experience profound challenges on-site and in the financing realm, due to the pandemic.
  • 2) Now is the time to strengthen this proven incentive to address the slowdown in rehabilitation projects across the country, particularly smaller projects in our main street communities and downtowns.
  • 3) Would the Representative please cosponsor the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Blumenauer and Rep. LaHood?
  • 4) These provisions were included and passed in the House Infrastructure bill (HR 2) in July 2020. Please look for opportunities to include these provisions in future infrastructure legislation.
  • 5) Share this HTC-GO Fact Sheet as a link or attachment.

(Pictured: former Bloomington High School, now Washington Senior Apartments. Courtesy: McRostie Historic Advisors. Credit: Iceberg Development Group)

Upcoming RBIC Education Series

The Landmarks Illinois Real Estate and Building Industries Council (RBIC) will soon announce the dates and speaker lineup of its 2021 Summer Virtual Education Series presented by Chase. Each seminar will include a Q&A section and networking. Check our website for more details coming soon.

The series includes three lunchtime educational seminars on topics including:

  • New City of Chicago Rehabilitation Code
  • Integrating Sustainability in Historic Commercial Buildings
  • Window Replacement

Tickets are $20-$50 for the entire series with a special discount for Landmarks Illinois members. Corporate sponsorships are available now and include reservations to the education series, logo placement on event announcements and communications and recognition at each seminar. Click below to submit a sponsorship form.

Additional Landmarks Illinois news

  • Landmarks Illinois is assisting a group of local advocates in Cabery, Illinois, in Ford County who are trying to save St. Joseph Church, a vacant Catholic Church that the Diocese of Joliet has targeted for demolition. The community group has offered to pay market value in addition to the diocese avoiding the costs of demolition, but thus far the diocese has refused to negotiate any sale of the property.
  • The Commission on Chicago Landmarks will hold a public hearing May 12 regarding the proposed Chicago Landmark designation of the former Schlitz Brewery-Tied House at 1393-1399 Lake St. The public may attend virtually and contribute statements in accordance with public hearing rules. Learn more here and scroll to “Upcoming Public Hearings.”
  • If you missed the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party’s Online Exhibit and Virtual Tour earlier this month, which featured Landmarks Illinois’ own Lisa DiChiera, you can watch a recording here,
  • Restoration work continues at the former Landmarks Illinois Most Endangered site and Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund Grant recipient, the Booth Cottage in Glencoe. The exterior restoration at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cottage is nearly complete. And, more recently, Glencoe Historical Society reported patching and repair work on the roof was completed. Follow project progress at the Glencoe Historical Society’s website.

Download the full April 2021 edition of our Preservation News Roundup below


Support our advocacy

Be a voice for the future of our communities by supporting Landmarks Illinois. Our work enhances communities, empowers citizens, promotes local economic development and offers environmentally sound solutions.

Become A Member