Preservation News Roundup: January 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.

Preservation projects in Chicago, Millstadt, Robbins and Yorkville receive Landmarks Illinois grants

Landmarks Illinois has awarded a total of $15,000 to six historic preservation projects statewide through the organization’s three grant programs: the Preservation Heritage Fund, the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois and Landmarks Illinois’ newest grant program, the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side. The individual matching grants range between $1,000 and $5,000 each and will be used toward preserving historic and significant places in communities throughout Illinois. Learn about the grant recipients below.


  • Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Chicago
  • Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, Millstadt
  • Robbins Historical Society, Robbins
  • Kendall County Historical Society, Yorkville





(Pictured: Central Park Theater, home to House of Prayer. Credit: Tom Harris)

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Landmarks Illinois helps residents in Arcola fight to save historic building slated for demolition

Landmarks Illinois is assisting local advocates in Arcola to encourage city officials to reconsider a preservation solution for a historic building on Main Street slated for demolition.

In January, the Arcola City Council voted to demolish the Metropolitan Block, an 1872 building that fronts an entire block of Main Street after a wall collapsed in 2018. Last year, a local developer secured financing – $300,000, which included $115,000 in TIF funding from the city – to make the necessary repairs to the historic building. As that deal was being finalized, another wall section collapsed and the city decided to instead pursue $95,000 in acquisition and $179,700 in demolition costs.

Landmarks Illinois believes preservation of the building remains financially viable. In addition, Landmarks Illinois notified city officials that the $179,700 TIF expenditure for demolition would be in violation of the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, a state law that prohibits TIF funds for demolition of buildings listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Metropolitan Block was determined eligible in 2020.

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Efforts continue to save Colonel Wolfe School at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Landmarks Illinois is advocating alongside local residents in Urbana-Champaign to push for preservation of the historic Colonel Wolfe School. In November last year, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) listed the Colonel Wolfe School for sale. Built in 1905, the now-vacant school is the work of architect Walter Thomas Bailey, the first licensed Black architect in Illinois. UIUC accepted proposals for the purchase of the school for only one month. Despite the short timeline, Landmarks Illinois marketed the building and succeeded in generating proposals from experienced developers, which UIUC is currently reviewing. The school could decide to proceed with demolition, rather than a sale of the building, however.

Landmarks Illinois is asking for your support in helping to advocate for this historic school. Please contact the UIUC Chancellor’s office at in support of the sale and reuse of the Colonel Wolfe School.

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Chicago Residents: Please voice your support for landmark designation of two historic properties

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks meets next Thursday, February 4, to consider final landmark recommendation to the Chicago City Council for the Miracle House in Galewood (pictured) and preliminary landmark recommendation of the Pentecostal Church of Holiness in North Lawndale. Landmarks Illinois is asking Chicago residents to send in an email of support for landmarking these properties to and address it to Chair Ernie Wong.

The Miracle House was constructed in 1954, designed by Belli & Belli and built as a grand prize for a raffle sponsored by the St. William Catholic parish on the city’s Northwest Side. At the time, the church was fundraising to construct a new church and school campus, also designed by Belli & Belli. Landmarks Illinois assisted in the preparation of a Chicago Landmark designation report.

The Pentecostal Church of Holiness was constructed in 1931 by renowned architect Louis Guenzel. Landmarks Illinois awarded the congregation a Preservation Heritage Fund Grant in 2020 to help make priority repairs as part of its overall restoration of the entire church campus to reflect the original design. Landmarks Illinois continues to provide technical assistance to the congregation on repair needs and fundraising.

Click below to learn more about the upcoming CCL meeting and how to contact the commission.

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Landmarks Illinois sets date for 50th Anniversary Celebration

Landmarks Illinois will host an hour-long, virtual fundraising event the evening of March 25 to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2021 as well as the people who have shaped our organization and preservation throughout the state!

50Forward will include live entertainment, inspiring videos focused on our past, present and future and features of our 20 Landmarks Illinois Influencers — people who have given their time, resources and expertise to ensure places of our past remain part of our state’s future. These Influencers have each helped grow the preservation movement in Illinois and have made our organization one that is recognized not only throughout the state, but nationwide.

Event registration coming soon!

Get to know our Landmarks Illinois Influencers:

Landmarks Illinois Influencers

Additional Landmarks Illinois News

  • Landmarks Illinois is partnering with the International Institute of Masonry for a half-day webinar training session on terra cotta restoration. Learn more about the free educational event on February 18 here.
  • The Skyline Council of Landmarks Illinois held its annual Trivia Night virtually on January 26. A total of 20 teams competed at the event emceed by Skyline Council member Gregory Dowell. Congratulations to the winning teams: Team Naylon, 1st place; Team Bauer Latoza, 2nd place; and Team Thornton Tomasetti, 3rd place. Special thank you to Skyline Council sponsors who support Skyline Council’s events. Follow Skyline Council on social media to stay up to date with upcoming projects and events.
  • One of Landmarks Illinois’ biggest preservation efforts of the last year was to help save the Nordine Home in Edgewater, built in 1902 and significant for its former owner, jazz artist Ken Nordine. This week, the Chicago City Council gave final approval for Chicago Landmark designation of the home.
  • Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera served on Highland Park’s historic preservation awards jury earlier this month. Award-winning projects, which were honored at a ceremony January 25, included the Battledeck house, which Landmarks Illinois has held a preservation easement on since 2003.

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

January 2021 News Roundup

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