The monthly Landmarks Illinois News Roundup keeps you in the loop on the latest 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.
LI awards $15,000 in grant funding to five Illinois preservation projects
Landmarks Illinois announced the latest recipients of its Preservation Heritage Fund Grant Program. In all, LI has awarded $15,000 in grant funding to five preservation projects in Illinois communities. Individual grants range from $2,500 to $5,000 each. Read LI’s press release announcing our recent grant recipients.
Grant recipients are:
- Atlanta Public Library District, Atlanta: $2,500 for gutter repairs at the 1908 Atlanta Public Library Building, which stands as a prominent anchor for the community and is one of the only octagonal buildings in Illinois.
- Bureau County Historical Society, Princeton: $2,500 for repairs to the awning of the Matson Building, a Prairie Style structure built in 1912 that the local historical society wishes to reuse as a history learning center.
- Vince Carney Community Theatre, Rochelle:$2,500 for exterior repairs to the Lincoln Elementary School – a former school constructed in 1909 that the theatre company plans to transform into a community theater.
- Schuyler County Architecture Foundation, Rushville:$5,000 for Phase 1 repairs at the Ray House, a now vacant and deteriorated historic home LI included on its 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois that is perhaps best known for hosting Abraham Lincoln during his 1858 senatorial campaign.
- Wilmington Area Historical Society, Wilmington: $2,500 for tuckpointing on the historical society’s museum building, which was the City of Wilmington’s former fire house built in 1879 and later used as City Hall.
Read more in the news:
Grants helping VCCT bring building to code
Rochelle News-Leader, October 30
Landmarks Illinois awards $2,500 to Historical Society
Bureau County Republican, October 25
Historic Ray House in Rushville receives grant for repairs
WGEM, October 24
Matson Building in Princeton gets boost for repairs
WQAD, October 24
(Photo: Exterior work taking place on the Lincoln Elementary School in Rochelle, which the Vince Carney Community Theatre is restoring with plans to open a community theater.)
Visit our website to learn more about LI grant programs.
The deadline for the next round of grant applications is November 15!LI Grant Programs
LI continues to monitor possible demolition of historic Eastlawn School in Paxton
As the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School Board prepares to demolish Eastlawn School in Paxton, LI Springfield Office Director Frank Butterfield sent the school board a letter this month asking if the board intended to request an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) permit for stormwater runoff. If this permit is required, it would necessitate an additional review by the State Historic Preservation Office. This was the third letter LI has sent the school board in recent months.
In response, the school superintendent provided a new survey of planned ground disturbance, completed after Butterfield’s first two letters. The survey indicates that 0.99 acres will be disturbed, 0.01 acres under the requirement for a permit. Currently, officials from IEPA are reviewing the situation.
Read more in the news:
PBL dodging Historic Preservation Office’s review of school’s razing
Ford County Record, October 17
PBL refutes Landmarks Illinois’ allegations on school building’s demolition
Ford County Record, October 24
Significant Ken Nordine home threatened with demo despite LI referral of preservation-minded buyer
Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera has participated in discussions with Chicago 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman’s office and Edgewater Historical Society representatives regarding efforts to save the historic 1902 Pond and Pond-designed house, most recently the longtime home of Jazz broadcaster Ken Nordine.
The property was listed for sale as a tear-down and is now under contract with a developer who would replace the home with multi-unit new construction.
As reported in the Edgewater Buzz, DiChiera had referred a preservation-experienced developer to the property, who subsequently made an offer contingent on landmarking, but his offer was rejected. LI and the Edgewater Historical Society have both been seeking a potential developer to reuse the house with the solution of building new construction on the side yard in order to preserve the historic house. The current zoning is R5, which allows higher density on the property and dictated the seller’s high listing price.
Residents of the 48th Ward are urged to reach out to Ald. Osterman about the importance of the house, which meets criteria for Chicago Landmark designation. The house is orange-rated in the city’s historic survey, and a demolition request will trigger a 90-day demo delay.
(Photo credit: Bob Remer)
LI sponsors pro bono condition assessment for former St. Mary’s Carmelite Church in Joliet
In October, Landmarks Illinois offered to sponsor a pro bono condition assessment of the former St. Mary’s Carmelite Church in Joliet, which LI included on its former Chicagoland Watch List in 2005 due to its long history of neglect by the Catholic Diocese of Joliet. The building is now privately owned and is being considered by the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission for local landmark designation.
St. Mary’s is made from Joliet limestone with a steeple that is over 200 feet tall. The current owner plans to sell the structure and, along with some neighboring property owners, is weary of landmark designation fearing a rehabilitation project is not possible due to the structure’s deteriorated condition and believes demolition may be the only option.
The Joliet Historic Preservation Commission tabled a public hearing on the building at a recent meeting to allow the condition assessment of the structure offered by Landmarks Illinois to be completed. The assessment is expected to be made available prior to the rescheduled November 20 public hearing. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at Joliet City Hall. Joliet residents are encouraged to support landmark designation and to attend the November 20 meeting to voice support. More information can be found here.
ICYMI: LI hosted 2019 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards Ceremony & Panel Discussion
Nearly 200 people joined LI at the Chicago Cultural Center October 18 to honor recipients of this year’s Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. The event included a ceremony to present awards to the people who made each noteworthy Illinois preservation project possible, followed by a cocktail reception.
The evening prior to the awards ceremony, on October 17, Landmarks Illinois held a panel discussion featuring select 2019 award recipients. LI Director of Advocacy Lisa Dichera moderated the panel in which award winners shared their experiences preserving places in their communities. You can watch a video of the panel here.
Landmarks Illinois thanks all who attended the two-night event and joined us in celebrating people saving places in Illinois!
(Photo: Representatives from the Illinois Governor’s Mansion project, which LI gave an Award for Rehabilitation. (Credit: Pivot-Photography))
Read more in the news:
Honored for preserving a ‘wildly imaginative, gloriously disobedient’ house
Crain’s Chicago Business, October 18
See pictures from the Awards Ceremony at LI’s Flickr page:Award Photos
What else LI has been up to this month...
- Frank Butterfield, Director of LI’s Springfield Office, joined State Sen. Jil Tracy, State Rep. CD Davidsmeyer and Bob Evans of the Pike County Historical Society at the historic, 1847 William Grimshaw House in Pittsfield to discuss planning and strategies to promote the continued stewardship of the home along with its period antiques.
- LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald has been appointed to the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission, which is dedicated to planning and promoting future events to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the “Mother Road” in 2026.
- There’s a new community preservation nonprofit in Naperville: the Naperville Preservation Inc., and LI talked to the groups president Becky Simon to get the details. Read the interview here.
- LI Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera attended the October 3 Commission on Chicago Landmarks meeting to speak in support of landmark designation for the Claremont Cottage District. For several years, LI has been working with local residents to protect their unique Queen Anne cottages in the proposed historic landmark district. At the meeting, the commission voted to recommend to the City Council landmark designation for the new district.
- LI has been working with attorneys to prepare for oral arguments next month in its appeal to the earlier dismissal of its lawsuit to prevent the unlawful demolition of the historic Rock Island County Courthouse. The Third District Appellate Court will hold a hearing on LI’s appeal November 6.
- LI continues to promote its updated condition assessment on the Harley Clarke House in Evanston, prepared by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., as interested parties respond to the City of Evanston’s RFP for long-term lease, rehabilitation and reuse of the historic house. The City will host a community meeting November 5 for those interested in presenting their draft proposals.
- Frank Butterfield participated in a roundtable discussion in Springfield with U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood aimed at legislation to improve the Federal Historic Tax Credit, including expanding the current 20% credit on qualified rehabilitation projects to 30% for smaller-scale projects. The October 8 discussion was hosted by LI and AIA Illinois and also included local developers, architects, city officials and the Main Street organization, Downtown Springfield, Inc. Also, the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO), which LaHood previously introduced to the House, now has corresponding legislation in the Senate, and LI is asking supporters to contact their legislators to advocate for this legislation.
- The iconic Ebony Test Kitchen LI salvaged from the Johnson Publishing Building and then transferred ownership of to the Museum of Food & Drink, has arrived safely in New York. MOFAD is currently fundraising for the exhibition the test kitchen will be featured in, “African/American: Making the Nation’s Table.” You can watch part of the kitchen’s journey to New York at LI’s Instagram account and learn more about MOFAD’s fundraiser here.
- LI staff members spent October 22 out of the office for a retreat in Lake Forest to learn about current preservation projects happening in the community. We first visited a 1948 Keck & Keck home LI supporter Chris Enck plans to restore before getting a tour of a David Adler restored home owned by renowned architect Adrian Smith and his wife Nancy.
- LI President & CEO Bonnie McDonald participated in a panel discussion on October 26, “Preserving Chicago’s Glass Houses,” at LI grant recipient, the Elmhurst Art Museum. Earlier this month, she also spoke on a panel hosted by The Guild of the Chicago History Museum on preserving religious places in Chicago that have suffered from devastating fires similar to that seen recently at Notre Dame in Paris. She presented at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual PastForward conference, as well, which took place October 10-12 in Denver.
- LI co-hosted a panel discussion with the Chicago Architecture Center at its October 1 Preservation Snapshots Lecture focused on the major redevelopment project of Old Cook County Hospital. Panel participants were: Joe Antunovich of Antunovich Associates, Tim Brangel of The Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc., Jessica Caffrey from Cook County, and John Murphy of Murphy Development Group and MB Real Estate
You can download the entire October 2019 Landmarks Illinois Preservation News e-newsletter here:October 2019 Preservation News Roundup