Preservation News Roundup: April 2023

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.

Reinvesting in historic places in North Lawndale

On April 19, Landmarks Illinois Director of Reinvestment Suzanne Germann led site visits to historic places in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood to determine how the organization can provide preservation resources like grant funding, technical expertise and possible loan assistance. Germann was accompanied by Edward Torrez, President and Principal of Bauer Latoza Studio, at the Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church (pictured above) and Theatre Y, both located on West Cermak Road in the West Side neighborhood.

Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1915 and originally called the John Hus Memorial building, which served as a community center to help Chicago’s Czech immigrants. Greater St. Paul A.M.E. Church bought the building in 1953 as the community was transitioning from a mostly Czech population to majority Black during the Great Migration.

Theatre Y is a Chicago-based ensemble theater company that recently moved from Lincoln Square to a historic building at 3611 W. Cermak Road in North Lawndale. Its goal is to collaborate with the community to create a welcoming space for residents, local nonprofits and youth. Read more about the company here.

2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois announcement

Join us for a public presentation next Thursday, May 4 at noon to hear the 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO, will lead a virtual press conference on this year’s top threatened historic and/or culturally significant sites across the state. Members of the public and press will also have the opportunity to ask questions. The event is free, but registration is required.


Help us advocate for the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit!

Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski and Landmarks Illinois Board Chair Gary Anderson joined Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Eric Klinner of AIA Illinois at the Illinois State Capitol on April 19 to offer testimony on House Bill 1513 during a State House Revenue and Finance Committee meeting. The bill, along with Senate Bill 119, would extend the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program (IL-HTC) for an additional five years beyond 2023 and increase the yearly allocation pool from $15 million to $75 million.

The IL-HTC provides a state income-tax credit equal to 25% of a project’s Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures (QREs), not to exceed $3 million, to owners of certified historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitation projects. The statewide historic tax credit program took effect January 1, 2019, following more than a decade of advocacy work from Landmarks Illinois and preservation partners. The vital tax credit has successfully incentivized reinvestment in Illinois’ historic places. However, it is set to expire at the end of the year. Click below to learn more about the IL-HTC and how you can help us advocate to extend and expand the program.

Pictured (left to right): Anderson, Adamowski, Rep. Gordon-Booth and Eric Klinner of AIA Illinois.

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Preservation Snapshots Lecture: Chicago's Hip Hop Heritage

Chicago has had a profound impact on the hip hop music genre, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Join us next month at a Preservation Snapshots Lecture to learn about the city’s history with hip hop and how the Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Museum is honoring that legacy. Landmarks Illinois Program Manager Leila Wills will be joined by Brian Gorman, who co-founded the museum located in a historic Greystone in Bronzeville. (Pictured: Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Museum co-founder Brian Gorman and JunJune, host of the Hip Hop Unplugged podcast, inside the museum in Bronzeville.)


Thursday, May 18
2-3 p.m.


Virtual lecture via Zoom


Registration is required.
Landmarks Illinois Members: Free
Non-Landmarks Illinois Members: $5


Promontory Point is now a Chicago Landmark

Promontory Point became a City of Chicago Landmark after City Council voted to approve the designation at its April 19 meeting. Landmarks Illinois has supported this designation through the nomination process, with Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen speaking in support at the Commission on Chicago Landmarks meetings in January and March and at the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners’ February meeting.

The Chicago Landmark designation is a major milestone in the decades-long fight to preserve Promontory Point’s limestone revetment, the last piece of limestone revetment along Chicago’s shoreline. Promontory Point was placed on Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Places in Illinois list in 2004.

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Join us June 1 at the Garfield Park Conservatory!

Skyline Council, Landmarks Illinois’ young and emerging professionals committee, is hosting its annual fundraising event, the Skyline Social at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Join us at the conservatory for a networking cocktail reception in the Horticulture Hall, where guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and music. Guests have full access to conservatory exhibits and public spaces including weather permitting, the Blue Stone Patio, in which guests can partake in lawn games.

Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the nation’s largest conservatories and often referred to as “landscape art under glass”. It features 12 acres of public greenhouse space and outdoor gardens. The conservatory, which serves as a centerpiece of the Garfield Park neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, was designed by Jens Jensen in collaboration with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin and the New York engineering firm of Hitchings and Company.


Submit a nomination for a 2023 Preservation Award!

Landmarks Illinois is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. The annual awards program honors outstanding preservation projects in Illinois and/or individuals, organizations and advocacy efforts that demonstrate a strong commitment to protecting the places that are important to the people and communities of Illinois.

Visit our website to learn more about the awards program and to see if your project qualifies for an award!

Nominations are due June 1, 2023.

Learn more


Owners of historic buildings in Southern Illinois commercial areas are encouraged to apply for funding through the Landmarks Illinois Banterra Bank Preserve Southern Illinois Grant Program. Grant applications for the next round of funding through the program are due July 1 and can be submitted online.

The grant program, launched in 2022 in partnership with Banterra Bank, provides monetary assistance to preserve or rehabilitate historic structures in downtowns and other commercial corridors of Southern Illinois to support economic development.

(Pictured is 2022 grant recipient Jennifer Lane of Hardin County Independent in Elizabethtown with Landmarks Illinois Director of Reinvestment Suzanne Germann and Board Member Jennifer Spence, of grant partner Banterra Bank.)

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Conditions assessment at Monumental Baptist Church

On April 18, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. conducted a pro bono conditions assessment for Landmarks Illinois of Monumental Baptist Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

First dedicated in 1901 as Memorial Baptist Church, the imposing brick and terra cotta building became Monumental Baptist Church when it was purchased by a Black Baptist congregation in 1934 and became a City of Chicago Landmark in July 2022. The assessment will help prepare the church’s leadership and congregation to seek funding for necessary repairs to the building’s interior and exterior. (Photo credit WJE)

Additional Landmarks Illinois preservation news

  • Earlier this month, a 5th District Appellate Court decision transferred the deed to the historic Bresee Tower in Danville back to the building’s previous private owner. This move, which comes with a stay of demolition on the historic skyscraper, reverses a lower circuit court decision from 2022 that gave the deed to the building to the City of Danville, which has expressed its desire to tear down the iconic structure. The owners are now actively searching for developers and those interested in purchasing and adaptively reusing the building and keep it as a landmark property in downtown Danville. If you have interest in potential ownership or would like to consider redevelopment, please reach out to Regional Advocacy Manager Quinn Adamowski. Landmarks Illinois included the Bresee Tower on its Most Endangered list in 2012.
  • Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald was the keynote speaker at the 2023 NY Statewide Preservation Conference, which was held April 13-15 in Auburn, New York. Bonnie’s presentation was titled “People’s Right to Place: Building a More Relevant and Just Preservation Movement” and focused on Landmarks Illinois’ work to move the preservation field forward, making it more inclusive and relevant.
  • Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen commented at Glenview’s New Development Commission hearing on April 26 in opposition to the redevelopment of the former Scott Foresman complex, which would demolish the existing building for a rental residential subdivision. Designed by Perkins & Will and constructed in 1966, the former Scott Foresman Headquarters complex is architecturally significant for its Midcentury Modern corporate design and use of modern materials and construction methods within a peaceful campus setting. The hearing will continue to May 24. Landmarks Illinois included it in the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois in 2021.
  • Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen attended the Deerfield Plan Commission on April 27 to voice opposition to an application to annex and rezone the former Baxter International Headquarters campus. Currently in unincorporated Lake County, the applicant proposes to annex the property to Deerfield and demolish the existing architecturally significant Midcentury Modern campus designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and constructed in 1972. Landmarks Illinois believes there is potential to adaptively reuse rather than demolish the existing campus.  Because of the large number of concerned citizens attending, the hearing was continued to May 11.
  • The Commission on Chicago Landmarks this month approved preliminary landmark designation for the Century & Consumers Buildings in Chicago’s Loop. The early 20th-century skyscrapers, located at 202 and 220 S. State St., face possible demolition. Landmarks Illinois included them on its 2022 Most Endangered list and has continued to advocate for their preservation.

Download the full April 2023 Preservation News Roundup

April 2023 Preservation News Roundup

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