Preservation News Roundup: August 2020

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.

Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald named 2020 Fitch Fellow

Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald has received a James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation 2020 Mid-Career Fellowship, an annual grant given to distinguished professionals to conduct research that provides significant value to the preservation field worldwide.

With the fellowship, McDonald will create a “Relevancy Guidebook for the U.S. Preservation Movement” that addresses the need for preservation to be more accessible, inclusive, equitable and diverse, as well as being a part of the solution to today’s toughest challenges such as climate change and housing affordability. The digital book will be available for download on the Landmarks Illinois website next year.

“The historic preservation movement is facing a relevancy crisis in the United States. Organizations are grappling with this topic nationwide as support for preservation diminishes. The guidebook’s purpose is to compile innovative ideas being tested around the country that are enhancing preservation’s impact for a broader group of people.” – BONNIE McDONALD, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO


(Pictured: McDonald (right) with Shannon Shea Miller, Historic Preservation Director for the City of San Antonio, and Vince Michael, Executive Director of the San Antonio Conservation Society, at the 300-year-old Spanish Governor’s Palace in San Antonio. McDonald visited San Antonio to conduct interviews for her fellowship project.)

Learn More

Following success in court, Landmarks Illinois offers path forward for Rock Island County Courthouse

Landmarks Illinois sent a letter to the Rock Island County Board on August 4, jointly signed by our co-plaintiffs in our Rock Island County Courthouse lawsuit, urging county officials to work with us to reach a preservation solution for the historic building. Our letter follows the July Illinois Appellate Court decision in favor of Landmarks Illinois’ argument that Rock Island County cannot defy state agencies and must comply with the Illinois State Historic Resources Preservation Act in its pursuit to demolish the historic courthouse. Our August letter to the Rock Island County Board also expressed our interest in avoiding future litigation. To date, Rock Island County has spent more than $114,000 on legal fees.

“We believe now is the time to come together and achieve a win-win outcome for all parties, especially the citizens of Rock Island County. Accordingly, we write to renew our desire to settle the litigation between us and share with you our ideas on how we might do so.” – LANDMARKS ILLINOIS’ LETTER

In the news:

Landmarks Illinois asks Rock Island County to settle lawsuit over historic courthouse
Dispatch Argus, August 4

Read the letter

"Women Who Built Illinois" Preservation Snapshots Lecture September 22

Join us September 22 for a virtual Preservation Snapshots Lecture: “Women Who Built Illinois,” which will detail Landmarks Illinois’ new initiative to create the first-of-its-kind database documenting women who shaped Illinois’ built environment in the 100 years between 1879 and 1979. Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera and Landmarks Illinois Skyline Council Member Erica Ruggiero of McGuire Igleski & Associates will lead the discussion. Registration required!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.


Via Zoom


$5 Members/$7 Public


(Pictured: Women Who Built Illinois: (Clockwise from upper left) Georgia Louise Harris Brown, Beverly Loraine Greene, Juliet Alice Peddle, Mary Ann Elizabeth Crawford, Bertha Yerex Whitman, Elisabeth Martini.)


Landmarks Illinois President & CEO selected to co-chair new Chicago memorial advisory committee

Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald has been selected to co-chair a new Chicago advisory committee that will assess memorials, monuments and other art across the city and determine if any are problematic and warrant attention or action. McDonald joins Mark Kelly, Commissioner of Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Jennifer Scott, Director/Chief Curator of Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, as co-chairs of the committee.

“Monuments and memorials have served as overt or subliminal symbols of power crafted through a particular narrative lens. The committee’s imperative work is to listen to Chicagoans through a broad and accessible public engagement process to reckon with public art considered antagonistic to our shared history.” – BONNIE McDONALD, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO

In the news:

Lightfoot Launches Review of Chicago Monuments After Controversy Over Columbus Statues
WTTW, August 12

Chicago’s ‘Problematic’ Statues, Monuments Could Come Down After New Committee Reviews Them
Block Club Chicago, August 12

Questioning what—and whom—we should revere
Crain’s Chicago Business, August 28

Read the City's announcement

Landmarks Illinois voices support for proposed Pilsen Landmark District

At the August 6 Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting, Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera voiced Landmarks Illinois’ support for the proposed historic district in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. She also commended the Chicago Department of Planning and Development’s efforts to evaluate potential economic incentives and grant programs that can be made available to both commercial building owners and homeowners in the proposed district as well as potential design guidelines that can address local building types. You can watch the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in-depth discussion on the proposed Pilsen Landmark District here.

The August commission meeting follows a July meeting held by the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks & Building Standards, where the Department of Planning and Development was granted an extension of up to six months to further review the proposed Pilsen Landmark District and continue to engage with 25th Ward Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez and local community organizations that are opposed to the district’s designation, citing fear that it will exacerbate gentrification and displacement and lead to increased building repair costs.

Landmarks Illinois will post any upcoming meetings on the proposed district when the public can voice its position.


(Pictured: Landmarks Illinois members tour Pilsen during the 2019 Annual Meeting.)

Watch our "State of the Industry" Seminar

Couldn’t make our August 11 “State of the Industry” educational seminar? You can watch a recording of the event!

Landmarks Illinois’ Real Estate & Building Industry Council hosted the free virtual seminar featuring industry experts from Wintrust Bank, Plante Moran, CA Ventures, Antunovich Associates and Bulley & Andrews Masonry Restoration discussing how the pandemic is impacting construction, development, lending, tax incentives, design & architecture and more!

Watch the seminar

THE ARCH August 2020 edition now available to read online

The August 2020 edition of Landmarks Illinois’ quarterly print newsletter, The Arch, is now available online!

Download and read the full newsletter, which features an in-depth look at the 22-year journey to save Old Cook County Hospital, updates on advocacy efforts around the state and a profile of a family who purchased the historic River Forest Women’s Club and are dedicated to ensuring the historic legacy of the home lives on.

(Pictured on the newsletter cover: A worker performs masonry repair last summer on the back of the Old Cook County Hospital. The large building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been rehabilitated and reopened as a multi-use development. Credit: Walsh Construction.)

Read the newsletter

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