Preservation News Roundup: February 2022

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 travels to NYC, hosts lecture to mark opening of new exhibit featuring the Ebony Test Kitchen

Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera traveled to New York City the week of February 14 to attend opening events for the Museum of Food & Drink’s new exhibit, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table,” featuring the former Ebony Test Kitchen. The exhibit is the country’s first to celebrate the history of African American cuisine and the countless Black chefs, farmers and food and drink producers who have laid the foundation for American food culture.

In 2018, Landmarks Illinois, with help from its Skyline Council and other volunteers, deconstructed the Ebony Test Kitchen from its home in the former Johnson Publishing Company headquarters in Chicago, which was being converted by a developer from office to residential use. A year later, Landmarks Illinois loaned the kitchen to MOFAD to feature in its exhibit.

Landmarks Illinois also hosted a Preservation Snapshots Lecture: Saving the Iconic Ebony Test Kitchen on February 23. The lecture featured speakers Lisa DiChiera, Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy; Jean Nihoul, Former Curator & Culinary Operations Manager at MOFAD; and Charla Draper, Publicist and former Ebony Food Editor. All three are pictured above in the Ebony Test Kitchen at MOFAD’s exhibit in New York City.

Read more in the news:

The Ebony Test Kitchen, Where Black Cuisine Was Celebrated, Is Reborn
New York Times, February 18

This New African-American Food Exhibit Showcases the Legacy of ‘Ebony’ Magazine
Thrillist, February 22

Ebony Magazine’s iconic Test Kitchen on view in Harlem Feb. 23 thru Juneteenth
Amsterdam News, February 24

This breathtaking quilt depicts Black people’s impact on American food, 406 times over
Washington Post, February 24

The Rebirth of the Ebony Test Kitchen, a Home for Black Cuisine
The New Yorker, February 2


Click below to watch the February 23 Preservation Snapshots Lecture.

Watch the Snapshots Lecture

Midcentury modern Schmidtke house in Elgin faces demolition if not moved by April 1

Landmarks Illinois is advocating for a Midcentury Modern home in Elgin that is being offered for free to someone who can move it to another location. The house, built in 1967 by local architect John Schmidtke and located at 35W655 Tollgate Road in Elgin, was designated a Kane County Landmark in 1996. However, it was annexed from unincorporated Kane County into the city of Elgin last year, which consequently caused the house to lose its county landmark protection. It now faces possible demolition if not relocated.

Landmarks Illinois and the Kane County Historic Preservation Commission have urged the Elgin Heritage Commission to facilitate a preservation outcome with Elgin’s City Council. The developer stated he will give the home to a party willing to relocate it by an April 1 deadline.

Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera told the New York Times that Landmarks Illinois is ready to aid any developer who wishes to preserve the home. “We hope the city of Elgin will also assist these efforts with time and resources as well as helping to find a site,” she said, “or waiving fees or expediting permitting if needed.”

The house received an increase in interest following a post by the popular Instagram account Cheap Old Houses. Those with serious interest in, and a viable plan for, moving the house should contact

(Pictured: John Schmidtke House. Courtesy Kane County Development Department.)

Read more in the news:

A No-Cost Modernist Home, but No Takers Yet. It Needs Moving.
New York Times, February 23

This landmark mid-century modern house in the Chicago suburbs is free to anyone who can move it, but experts say relocating it may be a challenge
Business Insider, February 24


Don’t forget to register for our spring fundraising event at the Old Post Office in Chicago! PRESERVATION FORWARD will celebrate our 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencers: an inspiring group of seven female leaders who have shaped Illinois’ built environment and are joining Landmarks Illinois in its progressive effort to create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible preservation movement.


  • Mariah DiGrino, Partner, DLA Piper
  • Eleanor Esser Gorski, Executive Director, Cook County Land Bank Authority
  • Tiara Hughes, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, Senior Urban Designer and Project Manager, SOM
  • Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director, People for Community Recovery
  • Tonika Lewis Johnson, Social Justice Artist
  • Stacey Pfingsten, Executive Vice President, American Institute of Architects Illinois
  • Alicia Ponce, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Founding Principal, AP Monarch

Read the February 2022 edition of The Arch

The February 2022 edition of Landmarks Illinois’ quarterly print newsletter The Arch is now online! This issue features our 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencers, information on recent advocacy and grant projects and a highlight of the Skyline Council, Landmarks Illinois; young & emerging professionals committee celebrating its 10th anniversary.

On the cover: Tiara Hughes, a 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencer and member of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, at the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Home in Woodlawn in Chicago. Credit Tiara Hughes.

Download The Arch

Skyline Council heart bombs Altgeld Gardens ahead of Valentine's Day

Landmarks Illinois’ Skyline Council hosted its annual heart bombing event February 12 at two historic structures at Altgeld Gardens, the Shop Building and School Building C. Both structures were included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2021 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.

The heart bomb event at the Chicago Housing Authority-owned complex on the city’s Far South Side was held in partnership with People for Community Recovery. Heart Bombing is a public display of love for a historic site or local landmark and helps bring public awareness to a historic or culturally significant site.

(Photos credit Lewis Purdy)

See photos from the event:

Heart Bomb Photos

SAVE THE DATE: Landmarks Illinois upcoming events

2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois Announcement

April 20, 2022

Landmarks Illinois will announce the 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois at a virtual press conference on Wednesday, April 20 at 12 p.m. Central. More details coming soon. (Photo: The Mid Town Tourist Home, a Green Book Site in East St. Louis, was included in our 2021 Most Endangered list.)

Learn more

Skyline Council Trivia Nights

April 11 & 13, 2022

Skyline Council’s most popular event is back in April! Two nights of trivia will take place at Revolution Brewing in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Tickets will go on sale in March.

Trivia Night was held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic. Check out pictures below of the in-person 2020 event!

Trivia Night Photos

Additional Landmarks Illinois news


  • New state legislation, developed with guidance from Landmarks Illinois and Illinois Humanities, calls for the creation of the Illinois America 250 Commission in preparation of the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. State Rep. Edgar Gonzalez introduced the legislation, HB5015, which would create a diverse coalition of organizations and citizens that will ensure an equitable and inclusive commemoration of Illinois history. Landmarks Illinois partnered with the Illinois State Museum and Illinois Humanities to develop a framework for this Illinois commission. The federal U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, in partnership with the America 250 Foundation, is charged with facilitating nationwide plans to commemorate the nation’s 250th anniversary milestone that includes each state having its own statewide commission to organize programing around the milestone.


  • On February 25, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald gave a presentation about Landmarks Illinois at the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations (AICF), which provides resources to and networking for the more than 40 community foundations operating in Illinois. Landmarks Illinois also serves as a grant maker to local planning and capital preservation projects across the state. The presentation identified ways that Landmarks Illinois can partner with and leverage funding from local community foundations.


  • The next application deadline for Landmarks Illinois’ three grant programs is April 15. Applications for Landmarks Illinois’ Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side, the Preservation Heritage Fund and the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois can be found at Landmarks Illinois’ website.

Download the full Preservation News Roundup below!

February 2022 Preservation News Roundup

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