Preservation News Roundup: July 2019

The monthly Landmarks Illinois News Roundup fills you in on the top preservation news stories from the month as well as LI’s 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 opposes FLW Trust's removal of 925 W. Chicago in Oak Park to make way for visitor center

At the July 11 Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission meeting, LI’s Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera gave public statements in opposition the proposed removal of 925 Chicago Ave. and changes to 931 Chicago Ave., two Frank Lloyd Wright Trust-owned structures in Oak Park. Both are within the Frank Lloyd Wright-Prairie School of Architecture Historic District, and the Trust has proposed these changes to the contributing structures, which include demolition, to make way for a new visitor center. Landmarks Illinois cannot support the Trust’s current plans as they include removing and altering these historically significant properties.

Read LI’s statements: 


You can also read LI’s Letter to the Editor, published in Oak Park’s Wednesday Journal, further explaining our stance on the Trust’s plans.

Read the Letter to the Editor: 

Landmarks Illinois opposes Wright Trust house removal plan

Read more in the news:

Column: Backers of planned Frank Lloyd Wright visitor center in Oak Park face tough choices after proposal gets cold shoulder
Chicago Tribune, July 16

Proposed Wright center faces opposition
Wednesday Journal, July 12


(Picture: FLWT has proposed to demolish this significant structure, 925 Chicago Ave., located in the Frank Lloyd WrightPrairie School of Architecture Historic District.)

Skyline Council celebrates Whitney Schoolhouse restoration

The Skyline Council was at the Daniel Whitney Residence and Farmstead in Kane County on July 20 to co-host a community celebration for the Whitney Schoolhouse – a one-room schoolhouse built in 1852 that the council has been working to restore since 2015. The celebration was held in partnership with Campton Township, which recently announced it would purchase the land the schoolhouse sits on, allowing the historic structure to remain in its original location and be reused as a public history and education center.

Skyline Council members joined local residents, preservation supporters, township officials and others at the event that featured pioneer activities and live music. Skyline Council Member Erica Ruggiero, who also has served as project manager for the council’s Whitney Schoolhouse restoration effort, led tours of the historic property at the event as well.

The Skyline Council thanks those who attended the July 20 event and donated to the ongoing schoolhouse restoration project. The event brought in $265 for the project. If you are interested in contributing to the council’s Whitney Schoolhouse restoration project, please visit the Skyline Council’s GoFundMePage.


Read more in the news:

Campton Township, preservationists celebrate new partnership to restore historic Whitney Schoolhouse
Kane County Chronicle, July 25

1852 Whitney Schoolhouse revealed in July 20 event
Kane County Chronicle, July 16


Help Skyline Council Restore the Schoolhouse!


Harley Clarke viewings this week for city's ongoing RFP process

The City of Evanston is opening the Harley Clarke Mansion for public viewing on specific dates over the next three months for parties interested in responding to a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the historic home’s long-term lease, rehabilitation and reuse. Respondents are required in their proposals to include a component of public use.

Dates for public viewings of the Harley Clarke Mansion are below. the mansion is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for viewings on all dates listed.

  • August 1, 2
  • September 3, 4, & 5
  • October 1, 2 & 3

The Harley Clarke Mansion was included on LI’s 2016 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, and LI continues to provide technical and advocacy assistance toward a reuse solution for this beloved local landmark.

Harley Clarke RFP

LI announces 2019 grant recipients

Landmarks Illinois has awarded nine individual grants totaling $35,250 to historic preservation projects across the state. The grants were awarded through the Landmarks Illinois Preservation Heritage Fund and the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund grant programs between January and June 2019.

Preservation Heritage Fund grant recipients: 

  • Bolingbrook Historic Preservation Commission, Bolingbrook: $950 for headstone restoration at the Boardman Cemetery, established in 1832.
  • Washington Historical Society, Washington: $2,500 for necessary repairs to the Greek Revival-style Dement House, built in 1858 and set to become a historical museum.
  • Campton Township, Kane County: $5,000 for structural repairs to the historic, one-room Whitney Schoolhouse that LI’s young and emerging professionals committee the Skyline Council is helping to restore.
  • Heritage Preservation Foundation, Beardstown: $4,400 for a new HVAC system at the 1872 Beardstown Grand Opera House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Beverly Unitarian Church, Chicago: $4,000 for structural repairs to the turrets at the Irish castle-like former Givens House, constructed in 1886 and located within Chicago’s Longwood Drive Historic District and the Ridge National Register Historic District.
  • Blue Island Historical Society, Blue Island: $4,000 for exterior restoration at the 1878 Albee House, which serves as the headquarters of the Blue Island Historical Society.
  • John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Country Club Hills: $4,000 for restoration work on the 90-foot steeple at the 146-year-old church.
  • Vermilion County Museum, Danville: $4,400 for roof and masonry repairs at the Fithian House, famous for hosting Abraham Lincoln during his 1858 U.S. Senate campaign.
  • Read more.

Donnelley Preservation Fund grant recipient:

  • Save Piety Hill coalition, Rockford: $6,000 to hire a professional architectural historian to research and assess the eligibility for creating a historic district in Rockford’s Signal Hill neighborhood and other potential historic properties in Rockford. LI included Piety Hill properties on its 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois
  • Read more.

Learn more about LI’s grant programs.
The next deadline for applications is August 15!

LI Grants

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

  • Frank Butterfield, Director of LI’s Springfield Office, traveled to Bloomington this month to meet with local advocates organizing to try to stop demolition of the Art-Deco State Farm building, constructed in 1929. Read more about this building here.
  • Butterfield also joined Steve Kelley, architect and structural engineer, and representatives of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office in Elsah and Chautauqua at the beginning of July to meet with elected officials, home owners and business owners to discuss flood damage, repairs, and future mitigation measures for historic structures. Here’s a photo from Frank’s trip.
  • LI’s President & CEO Bonnie McDonald participated on a panel with other preservation experts in Pilsen July 11 at a public meeting organized by Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez. McDonald was on hand to answer questions about the proposed Chicago Landmark District in Pilsen. The district designation remains controversial, and LI has offered to continue providing assistance to Ald. Sigcho-Lopez and his constituents to preserve Pilsen’s culture in the face of development pressure. Read more.
  • LI’s Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera led an exclusive tour for donors, including LI Louis Sullivan Society members, of 19th Century Queen Anne worker cottages on the 1000 Block of S. Claremont Ave. in Chicago’s Tri Taylor NeighborhoodSee pictures here. You can also learn more about LI’s Louis Sullivan Society here.
  • LI’s staff were treated to a tour of the Keller Center at the University of Chicago – a reimagined mid century modern building built in 1962 that now houses the University’s Harris School of Public Policy.


You can download the entire July 2019 Landmarks Illinois Preservation News e-newsletter here:

July 2019 Newsletter

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