Preservation News Roundup: November 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.

Restoration work begins at long endangered Shelbyville Chautauqua

The Shelbyville Chautauqua, a 20-sided auditorium building constructed in 1903 in Shelbyville’s Forest Park, is now being restored! Landmarks Illinois called attention to the unique structure in 2018, including it on our Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois list. At the time, the building was in desperate need of extensive repair and stabilization, but a lack of funding prevented progress at the site.

This month, local advocates announced that restoration work had officially begun thanks to a large investment from the City of Shelbyville. It was also reported the mayor of Shelbyville would be appointing a Chautauqua Management Committee to oversee fundraising efforts for the project as well as future programming and rentals at the property. Advocates expect work to be complete by the summer of 2021 and community activities can resume at the once beloved gathering site.

Click here to learn more about this good news!

Follow the Shelbyville Chautauqua on Facebook to stay up to date on the project’s progress:


Claremont Cottage Homeowners and Landmarks Illinois receive preservation advocacy award from Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Landmarks Illinois was named a fellow recipient of a preservation award from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Neighbors of the Claremont Cottages and Landmarks Illinois received the Preservation Advocacy Award for the effort to create a new Chicago landmark district that protect a block of unique Queen Anne cottages in the city’s Tri Taylor neighborhood.

The Claremont Cottage Historic District was one of Landmarks Illinois’ biggest preservation projects in 2019. After several years of working with homeowners on advocacy efforts, Landmarks Illinois provided a Preservation Heritage Fund Grant to the Tri Taylor Neighborhood Association to help fund hiring a consultant to prepare a landmark designation report. Homeowners also financially contributed to the effort, recognizing landmark designation was the only way to guarantee that this rare surviving group of Queen Anne cottages remained safe from development and demolition. Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera also attended all Commission on Chicago Landmarks meetings to testify alongside neighbors on behalf of the proposed district. In addition, Landmarks Illinois led a tour of the block for board members and supporters to draw attention to the unique homes and passionate homeowners determined to protect them. Landmarks Illinois remains an active preservation partner for the residents, assisting with potential financial incentives available for rehabilitation.

Congratulations to the Tri Taylor Neighborhood Association and homeowners on South Claremont Avenue!

From the city’s press release:

“In response to a demolition proposal on the 1000 block of South Claremont Avenue on the Near West Side neighbors banded together with Landmarks Illinois to procure the Landmarks Commission recommendation and City Council designation of the Claremont Cottage District. The district’s 19 Queen Anne-style buildings, built in the late 1800s, are characterized by high-gabled roofs, overhanging eaves, carved wood brackets, patterned bricks, carved stone, and colored glass.”

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Watch: 'Women Who Built Illinois' PechaKucha

Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera gave a PechaKucha talk November 5 focused on Landmarks Illinois’ Women Who Built Illinois initiative. The presentation was part of AIA Illinois’ Reconnect virtual conference. “PechaKucha” is a storytelling format where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary each.

Earlier this year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, Landmarks Illinois launched “Women Who Built Illinois,” a database of places in the state designed, engineered and built by women. The database is currently in the works and will be housed on the Landmarks Illinois website beginning next year.


Landmarks Illinois helps prepare Chicago Landmark designation report for Galewood's Miracle House

Landmarks Illinois has assisted in the preparation of a Chicago Landmark designation report for the Belli & Belli-designed Miracle House at 2001 N. Nordica in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood in preparing a Chicago Landmark designation report. The home was constructed in 1955 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.

Miracle House owner Dr. David Scheiner and volunteer advocate Dan Lempa, who was raised on the same block as the Miracle House, have worked together for several years researching its history. Scheiner ultimately chose to seek landmark protection, recognizing it as in important Mid-century Modern home in Chicago. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks will vote on the home’s preliminary Chicago Landmark designation at its December 3 meeting, scheduled to begin at 12:45 pm. The public is welcome to view the meeting livestream or submit a letter or email in support prior to the meeting or make a statement at the meeting.


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Landmarks Illinois debuts revamped online database for 'Recent Past' Survey

Landmarks Illinois has released an updated and revamped online database that allows visitors to more easily explore the Recent Past Survey of Suburban Cook County — a project launched in 2006 in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation to document non-residential architectural resources built between 1935 and 1975 in Cook County suburban communities.

The new database can be found on Landmarks Illinois’ website. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the database that contains details and photographs on thousands of student-documented modernist architectural resources in Cook County. Previously, the Recent Past Survey database was externally stored off of Landmarks Illinois’ current website. Read more about this project and new database here.


Explore the database

Additional Landmarks Illinois News

  • Landmarks Illinois is asking Chicago residents to voice support for landmark designation for the Halsted and Willow Gateway, a group of buildings in the historic Sheffield neighborhood included on our 2014 Most Endangered Historic Places. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks is set to discuss preliminary landmark designation at its December 3 meeting.
  • This month, we featured Skyline Council Member Rachel Firgens, an Associate with MacRostie Historic Advisors, LLC, which served as a consultant on five of the nine preservation projects Landmarks Illinois honored at our 2020 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award Ceremony in October. Check out our interview with Rachel, which features her thoughts on being involved in so many noteworthy preservation efforts in Illinois.
  • If you missed the 2020 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards Ceremony on October 21, you can watch it in full here. You can also watch individual videos on each of our nine, 2020 preservation award recipients at our YouTube Channel.
  • Allison Toonen-Talamo, a member of the Landmarks Illinois Board of Directors and Landmarks Illinois’ young & emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, recently received the American Express Aspire Award presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In a new blog post, Allison shares her reaction to winning the award, talks about what motivates her in her work and how she inspires other young people to get involved in preservation.
  • The Landmarks Illinois Board of Directors voted November 17 to approve signing the Obama Presidential Center Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). In recognition of the significant public participation and local input in the process unlike we have seen before, Landmarks Illinois concurs with the MOA. Our signature, however, is accompanied by significant dissatisfaction with how regulators managed the Section 106 process and deep concerns about the precedent their actions may set. Read Landmarks Illinois full statement on this decision, which details our reasons for our actions.




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