Preservation News Roundup: February 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.

Meet the women keeping Route History alive in Springfield

Gina Lathan & Stacy Grundy opened Route History last year in a former 1930s-era Texaco gas station in downtown Springfield. The museum, visitor center and gift shop features exhibits aimed to engage people in the important, yet often forgotten, history of African Americans along Route 66 and in the city of Springfield.

Lathan, President of Route History, Inc., said while many people link Rouate 66 to Springfield, the African American perspective of the “Mother Road” is often missing. The women behind Route History are featured in Landmarks Illinois’ latest edition of The Arch newsletter. Read the full article at our website.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure that the contributions African Americans have made to the city of Springfield and the state of Illinois are recognized, celebrated and remembered.”
-Gina Lathan


Read the interview

Seven preservation projects receive grant funding from Landmarks Illinois

Landmarks Illinois awarded a total of $16,000 to seven preservation projects throughout the state through its Landmarks Preservation Heritage Fund and the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund grant programs. Projects in Chicago, DeKalb, Elgin, Glencoe, Pleasant Plains, Rock Island and Salem received $1,000 to $2,500 matching grants each. Read our press release to learn about each grant recipient.

(Photo: The Joseph F. Glidden House in DeKalb. Provided by the Glidden Homestead)

Read more in the news:

Glidden Homestead awarded $2,500 grant to restore 159-year-old front stairs
Daily Chronicle, February 5

Historic Rock Island estate gets $2,500 for restoration project
WQAD, February 4

February Grant Recipients

Advocacy win: New Near North Historic District approved by Commission on Chicago Landmarks

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks unanimously granted final recommendation to create a new historic district on the city’s near north side, which would protect 15 historic buildings constructed between 1872 and 1885. The proposed Near North Side Multiple Property Historic District will now move to the city’s Committee on Zoning for a vote before finally going before the Chicago City Council.

Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera has been advocating for the new historic district, attending Commission on Chicago Landmarks meetings and helping to spread the word on the benefits of protecting the remaining buildings in one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods. Landmarks Illinois also managed consulting services for the research and writing of the preliminary landmark designation report prepared for the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. DiChiera was interviewed in early February by WTTW’s Chicago Tonight in front of one of the properties included in the proposed district, 17. E. Erie. Watch WTTW’s full coverage below.

“Without these buildings we really would have no understanding of what the city looked like in that early development period. If they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”

-Lisa DiChiera

(Photo: Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera is interviewed by WTTW in front of 17 E. Erie St., one of the 15 historic buildings included in the proposed Chicago Near North Side Historic District.)


Landmarks Illinois joins local advocates in fight to save Freeport Tabernacle

The Freeport Park District Commission voted this month to demolish the 105-year-old Oakdale Tabernacle — a historic and culturally significant gathering space Landmarks Illinois included on its 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Despite the disappointing vote, Director of Landmarks Illinois’ Springfield Office, Frank Butterfield, continues to work with local advocates in their efforts to save the octagonal structure. Landmarks Illinois has argued Park District officials have not fully explored alternatives to demolition, including private-public partnerships and grant funding available for restoration of the historic building. In a letter to officials, Butterfield also pointed out the Oakdale Tabernacle is structurally sound and could be preserved. Read Butterfield’s full letter below.

“The Oakdale Tabernacle is a rare building type in Illinois and can once again be an asset to residents and visitors of Freeport.”

-Frank Butterfield

(Photo credit: Judy Coss)

Read more in the news:

Freeport Residents Band Together To ‘Save The Tabernacle’
WNIJ, February 23

Freeport Park District votes to demolish the Oakdale Tabernacle
WIFR, February 18

‘Show up or the tabernacle will be gone’: Friends pray to save the structure; park board meets Tuesday
Freeport Journal Standard, February 17

Read More

In remembrance: Terry Tatum

The Illinois preservation community has lost one of the most accomplished architectural historians and researchers in Chicago. It is with great sadness we share the news of Terry Tatum’s passing on January 31, following a year-long battle with Leukemia. Terry was a long-time member of Landmarks Illinois, served on its Preservation Issues Committee and assisted the organization on many projects. Most recently, Terry contributed to the research and writing of a preliminary Chicago landmark designation report for the Pond and Pond-designed Ken Nordine home at 6106 N. Kenmore and helped with research for the proposed Near North Historic District.

Read our full tribute to Terry below. A public memorial for Terry will take place March 15 at the Glessner House. Details can be found here.

Our Tribute To Terry

What else LI has been up to this month...

  • Landmarks Illinois and the South Side Community Center teamed up to offer a special event February 26 featuring 2020 Legendary Landmark Timuel D. Black Jr., a noted civil rights activist. Among the guests who attended the intimate discussion with Mr. Black were students from Westmont High School African American Cultural Studies Program.
  • On Friday, February 21, Springfield Director Frank Butterfield joined Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (Growth) and project architect Jim Baranski to welcome Congresswoman Cheri Bustos on a site visit at the historic Shimer College campus in Mount Carroll. The multi-year project will leverage both the Federal and State Historic Tax Credits to rehabilitate several buildings, and Growth is working with Landmarks Illinois on funding strategies. Read more in the news here.
  • Director of Grants & Easements Suzanne Germann attended a neighborhood meeting in Bronzeville February 4 hosted by the GAP Community Organization that focused on creating a Neighborhood Character District – a first for the city and a concept Landmarks Illinois has been working on for years alongside Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.
  • Plans to preserve the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Booth Cottage in Glencoe are progressing. The home, which Landmarks Illinois called attention to on its 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places is expected to make a short move from private property to public park space thanks to a lease agreement between the Glencoe Park District and Glencoe Historical Society. According to local advocates, work to remove parts of the house that were not part of the original design will begin shortly and the move is expected to take place at the end of March. Find more information at the park district’s website.
  • Landmarks Illinois is working with the Julius Rosenwald & Rosenwald Schools National Historic Park Campaign on legislative advocacy for the National Park Service to conduct a Special Resources Study on the sites associated with Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools. Campaign representative Dorothy Canter attended a rededication of the Rosenwald boyhood home, located within the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Landmarks Illinois will discuss the campaign during its attendance at Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., and will co-host a friend raising event on April 6 in Chicago. More info can be found here.
  • Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald attended the Pullman National Monument Designation 5th Anniversary Celebration February 19 at Hotel Florence in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. Read more about the celebration here.
  • Lisa DiChiera, Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy, was a speaker at the February 19 Kendall County Historic Preservation Commission’s annual gathering to talk about why historic preservation matters.
  • Landmarks Illinois cosponsored a highly attended lecture at the Harold Washington Library featuring Chicago authors Lee Bey & Don Hayner. Bey came to the Landmarks Illinois office before the lecture to sign special copies of his book, Southern Exposure.
  • Landmarks Illinois 2018 Most Endangered site The Forum was among the dozen places added to the National Register of Historic Places, announced in February.
  • Landmarks Illinois is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Docomomo US National Symposium coming to Chicago June 3-6. Registration is now open.

You can download the entire February 2020 Landmarks Illinois Preservation News e-newsletter here:


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