Preservation News Roundup: January 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.

RFEI issued for reuse of the Will County Courthouse

ATTENTION qualified developers and architectural firms:

Landmarks Illinois and the Joliet-based Courthouse Preservation Partnership have issued an exploratory Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the architecturally significant but vacant Will County Courthouse in Joliet that faces a demolition threat. Responses will be compiled and shared with Will County officials to demonstrate the interest in potential reuse and to encourage the county to issue an official RFP for redevelopment. Responses due March 10, 2023. (Photo credit: Lee Bey)

Read more in the news:

Old Will County Courthouse on demolition timetable, preservations try to save it
The Herald News, January 25 – View PDF

Groups seeks ideas on potential reuse of old Will County Courthouse
The Herald-News, January 19 – View PDF

Learn more

Show the Will County Courthouse some love ahead of Valentine's Day!

Landmarks Illinois young & emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, and the Courthouse Preservation Partnership will team up to host a heart bombing at the former Will County Courthouse in Joliet on Saturday, February 11, 2023. The event, which showers a historic building with public displays of affection, will bring attention to the architecturally significant courthouse currently threatened with demolition.

Learn more

Landmarks Illinois accepts preservation easement on historic John E. Rustman House in Logan Square

At the end of 2022, Landmarks Illinois accepted a preservation easement on the prominent historic Greystone at 3024 W. Logan Boulevard in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. The easement protects the historically significant property, which includes a side yard, in perpetuity.

The single-family home was built in 1908 for the family of John E. Rustman, the president of nearby Jefferson Ice Company. It was designed by local architect John Ahlschlager and features elements of the Richardsonian Romanesque and Beaux Arts architectural styles. The house is listed as a contributing structure to the Logan Square Boulevards Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

Do you own a historic property you want to protect with a preservation easement? Visit our website to learn more.

Learn more

Join us March 2 at The Old Post Office!

Landmarks Illinois will host is annual spring fundraising event Preservation Forward in March at one of Chicago’s most prominent landmarks, The Old Post Office.

The event, which features a cocktail reception, interactive food stations and an after-party, will celebrate the work of Landmarks Illinois and will honor the 2023 Landmarks Illinois Influencers, five exceptional leaders who are helping move the preservation field forward.


Landmarks Illinois & IMI Training Webinar: Clay Brick Replacement, Matching & Restoration

February 17 – 8:30 a.m.

Learn about clay brick restoration during this one-day free training webinar hosted by Landmarks Illinois and the International Masonry Institute. Masonry restoration instructors with vast real-world experience will demonstrate the brick removal and replacement process, along with brick staining to optimize the appearance of in-situ brick replacement. Hear lessons learned in a project case study format from a consultant and mason contractor specializing in masonry restoration and historic preservation. (Photo credit: Bricks Inc.)

Learn more

Skyline Council hosts Trivia Night January 17 at ERIS!

Skyline Council held its popular Trivia Night event Tuesday, January 17, at ERIS Brewery & Cider House in Chicago’s Irving Park neighborhood. Thank you to everyone who participated in the event led by longtime emcee Gregory Dowell! Thank you to our night’s sponsors: LS Contracting Group, Inc.; Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc.; SGW Architecture & Design; and Tully Law LLC. (Photo credit: Lewis Purdy)

Congratulations to the night’s winning teams:

  • First place: SGW Architecture & Design (Pictured)
  • Second place: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates – WJE team #2
  • Third place: Thornton Tomasetti
Trivia Night photos

Additional Landmarks Illinois preservation news

  • Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen convened a virtual meeting of the Suburban Preservation Alliance on Saturday, January 21. The meeting included a conversation with preservation consultant Julia Bachrach on 2022 Most Endangered site Gillson Park in Wilmette and a discussion on historic preservation survey opportunities in suburban communities.
  • Director of Reinvestment Suzanne Germann represented Landmarks Illinois at the January 20 ribbon-cutting ceremony of PODER’s new headquarters in a historic building at 3357 W. 55th St. in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood. PODER is a nonprofit providing tuition-free English education and job training to Spanish-speaking adults. Landmarks Illinois awarded the organization a Preservation Heritage Fund grant in 2022 to support the restoration of the 90-year-old building originally constructed as a power station owned and operated by the City of Chicago Bureau of Electricity. See photos of the ribbon-cutting here.
  • The Alexander Blacksmith Shop in Geneva, which previously went by the name the Mill Race Inn, faces a demolition threat, and this month, the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission considered removing the historic structure’s local landmark designation to proceed with tearing it down. Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen spoke in opposition to de-designation and demolition at a public hearing held January 18. The Alexander Blacksmith Shop is located at 4 E. State St. in Geneva and was included on Landmarks Illinois’ 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. Built in 1846, the structure is one of the oldest surviving commercial structures in Geneva and is an important structure associated with the city’s pioneer era. The commission will continue the hearing at a future meeting. Read Landmarks Illinois’ full statement here.
  • On January 12, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved preliminary landmark designation for Promontory Point, a peninsula park established in 1939 and located east of DuSable Lake Shore Drive between 54th and 56th streets in Hyde Park. Landmarks Illinois included the park on its 2004 Most Endangered list, and Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen spoke in support of landmark designation at the commission’s recent meeting. “Granting this designation affirms the importance of Promontory Point to the Hyde Park community, the South Side and the City of Chicago,” Parzen said. “It also supports a preservation approach for the treatment of the Point’s historic limestone revetment, identified as a significant historical and architectural feature, which is now the last stretch of intact, WPA-era limestone revetment that once spanned the lakefront.”
  • This month, the Naperville City Council approved amendments to the city’s preservation ordinance that requires preauthorization from the council for any nonowner to submit a landmark nomination for consideration. After consulting with local partners, Landmarks Illinois Advocacy Manager Kendra Parzen submitted a letter in support of the changes to the city council but took issue with some council members describing landmarking as “taking” property rights, which is an inaccurate and misleading characterization of local landmarking. Read the letter here.
  • On January 10, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO Bonnie McDonald joined a Chicago Architecture Center (CAC) discussion to close its “Energy Revolution” exhibit, co-curated by architect Doug Farr, FAIA, of Farr Associates and CAC’s Eve Fineman. The exhibit focused on the climate change crisis and the urgent need for building decarbonization and making new and existing buildings more energy efficient. McDonald responded with Landmarks Illinois’ perspective and support based on its guiding principle to fight climate change. Read more about approaches to the issue in her “Fighting Climate Change Through Preservation” blog post.
  • The Muddy Waters House at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. in Chicago’s North Kenwood neighborhood is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The once-endangered property is being rehabilitated and reused as a museum to celebrate blues legend Muddy Waters, who purchased the brick two-flat in 1954 and lived in it until the 1970s. The building is part of the North Kenwood Multiple Resource District, a Chicago Landmark District designated in 1993 due to its architectural significance. Landmarks Illinois proudly awarded a grant to the MOJO Museum through our Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side in September 2020 to aid restoration efforts at the home.
  • At the end of December, Landmarks Illinois met with the Little Village Community Council, the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and JLK Architects to review plans for repairs to the Little Village Arch, which CDOT is planning to undertake this year. In 2022, the arch became the first Chicago landmark designed by a Mexican-American Architect. The repairs will ensure that this beloved community landmark continues to stand over West 26th Street, where it is the gateway to the Little Village neighborhood.
  • Landmarks Illinois is working with partners around the state, like AIA Illinois, to advocate for the extension and enhancement of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit. As the successful program is scheduled to sunset this December, we have discussed the future of the tax credit program with legislators over the past few months to plan for an extension. Mirrored bills filed in the Illinois House (HB1513) by Rep. Jehan Gordon Booth and in the Illinois Senate (SB119) by Sen. Steve Stadelman to extend the program through December 2028 and increase the yearly allocations from $15 million to $75 million. Please contact your Representative and Senator to ask them to cosponsor this important legislation!
  • Members of the public are invited to participate in the Illinois Statewide Historic Preservation Office’s (IL-SHPO) process to prepare a new statewide historic preservation plan. SHPO will be hosting a number of regional on-site workshops throughout the year, including ones that took place in January in Alton and Carbondale. Residents are welcome to attend the workshops to discuss local, regional and statewide issues that impact preservation in their community. Additional workshops in Rockford, Rock Island, Marshall, Chicago and Bloomington are also expected to take place this year as part of the state’s process. The Illinois Statewide Historic Preservation Plan is scheduled to be completed by December 2023. Learn more here.
  • This month, Landmarks Illinois and COO Frank Butterfield was featured by Illinois Humanities, which has supported numerous Landmarks Illinois projects through its grants. Read the feature here.

Download the full January 2023 Preservation News Roundup below.

January 2023 Preservation News Roundup

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