September 2017 Month-in-Review Newsletter
Let’s Restore the UPTOWN THEATRE!
UPDATE:  Preservation Chicago and the Friends of Uptown Theatre have sponsored the petition "Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Restore the Uptown!" Momentum is growing, but we need your help!

PLEASE add your name and spread the word.  Please consider sharing this with your friends and family via email and social media.

At the time of publication, we had received over 6,395 signatures. Our new goal is to reach 7,500 signatures and we need your support to make that happen.

Uptown Theatre, Photo Credit Friends of Uptown Theatre
Shuttered since 1981, the Uptown Theatre means so much to the people of Uptown and Chicago. Its restoration and reuse would bring jobs and make a positive economic impact on the neighborhood and Chicago.

"We've come very far in the 50 years since the demolition of the Garrick Theater and Chicago Stock Exchange building when your common citizen may not have been involved in architectural preservation," said Ward Miller, Executive Director of Preservation Chicago. "But this is another example of a project that has so much good potential in so many ways and something that could positively impact the entire Uptown Entertainment District." (LaTrace, 8/22/17)

"At some point, these projects have to become someone's priority," added Andy Pierce from Friend of Uptown Theatre. "The Uptown Theatre is one of our great landmarks and we're looking for a solution." (LaTrace, 8/22/17)

Your support for the restoration and reuse of the Chicago Landmark Uptown Theatre for entertainment and other special events will help create jobs for the community and help make the Uptown Square Entertainment District a vital destination.
Additional Reading

Clarendon Park Community Center Renovation Announced!
Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach House, Credits: Chuckman Historic Postcard Collection
T he Clarendon Park Community Center will begin an extensive renovation. The infusion of $6.1 million for renovation for this important but long-neglected building has been widely celebrated. As recently as 2015, demolition was widely considered to be the most likely outcome for this historic building when it was included as a 2015 Preservation Chicago 7 Most Endangered Building.

According to 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, "These long-overdue repairs will bring the community center back in compliance with city building codes." 

The total renovation costs are estimated at $10 million. $4.6 million has been raised through the from the Clarendon Montrose TIF District as part of the Maryville Project and the Chicago Park District has agreed to contribute another $1.5 million toward the renovation. The source of the TIF fund generation is the Maryville Project which will be built on multiple sites including the site of the recently demolished Belli and Belli designed Cuneo Hospital, a 2012 Preservation Chicago 7 Most Endangered Building.

The park's advisory council is seeking donations to fund the remainder of the $10 million project, according to Katharine Boyda, president of the Clarendon Park Advisory Council. 

The Clarendon Park Community Center, originally called the Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach, was built in 1916 as a state-of-the-art facility for one of Chicago’s most popular lakefront beaches. Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach was once one of “the largest and best equipped of all of the beaches in the city” and was considered one of the most popular civic achievements of its time. It could accommodate over 9,000 swimmers and included a promenade for thousands of spectators. The building remained popular until the 1930’s when landfill moved the shoreline further east and created Clarendon Park.

The building was designed by city architect, C.W. Kallal in a Mediterranean Revival Style. This “Italian Resort Style” became the model for such other highly regarded lakefront landmark buildings as Marshall and Fox’s South Shore Country Club of 1916 (now South Shore Cultural Center) and the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion in 1919. This style was defined by tall towers capped with hipped-roofs clad in clay tiles, large entry colonnades, porticos, loggias and open-air promenades.

During a 1972 “modernization” effort, the distinctive tall towers fronting Clarendon Avenue and the smaller towers fronting the beach, along with the entry colonnade, verandas, open-air loggias and tile roof were demolished and replaced with a massive flat roof, with an unsightly metal fascia, which greatly impacted both the aesthetics and functionality of original structure. The significant modifications to the building resulted in extensive water infiltration and roof issues, which have proved an ongoing challenge.  

Preservation Chicago applauds 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman for his commitment to seeing the Clarendon Park Community Center protected from demolition and for helping to solidify the necessary renovation funds. Preservation Chicago applauds the Chicago Park District for their support and commitment to this important project.

The Clarendon Park neighbors and community stakeholders played an important role and deserve recognition for their unwavering support for this outcome with a special thanks to Katharine Boyda, Melanie Eckner, and the Clarendon Park Advisory Council.

"Our goal is to keep the integrity of this wonderful structure because it's beautiful and very historic," said Cappleman. Further, he said that one-third of the renovation funds would be earmarked for improvements desired by the community.

Preservation Chicago hopes to see this important building’s exterior restored to an appearance more similar to its original design. The distinctive tall towers fronting Clarendon Avenue and the smaller towers fronting the beach, along with the entry colonnade and the verandas and open-air loggias were beautiful and distinctive architecture elements that should never have been removed. Their reconstruction would elevate the Clarendon Park Community Center to its rightful place as a landmark alongside the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion and other important landmark lakefront buildings from this period.

Additional Reading

The Emergence, Demolition, and Preservation of Italianate Cottages and Flats
By John Morris, Chicago Patterns
2429 W Augusta John Morris Chicago Patterns.jpg
2429 W. Augusta Avenue, Photo Credit John Morris/Chicago Patterns
As Northwest Side neighborhoods along the Blue Line experience glowing hot growth in real estate values, original homes and flats are getting erased in favor of expensive new construction. While this trend has long been an issue in older neighborhoods near the lake or the Loop, this rapid expansion of teardown construction in these neighborhoods is a more recent phenomenon.

In years past, as successive waves of people moved into these neighborhoods, existing housing stock was a source of pride and buildings were rehabbed and improved. The change in neighborhood demographics this time is different as wealthy newcomers often opt for large single-family homes often built after tearing down an existing home.

The loss of housing stock in these areas is particularly painful as the homes getting destroyed are well over a hundred years old, many of which were erected in the aftermath of the Great Fire.

While homes and businesses constructed in this era are still prevalent in many parts of the city, we will focus on the Northwest Side neighborhoods closest to downtown, where they are most at risk....

Preservation Chicago's Suggestions for Landmarks
1217 W. Washington Boulevard, Photo Credit Gabriel X. Michael
A few times a year, the City of Chicago Commission on Chicago Landmarks welcomes ideas and suggestions from the public for potential future landmark buildings and districts.  

Preservation Chicago looks forward to these opportunities to elevate well deserving, underappreciated Chicago historic assets into the conversation. Of the many possible nominations considered, Preservation Chicago submitted four nominations. They include:

  1. Emmett Till Residence and Emmett Till Elementary School located at 6427 S. St. Lawrence and 6543 S. Champlain respectively in Woodlawn to recognize and honor the memory of Emmett Till.
  2. 1200 Block of West Washington Boulevard in the West Loop with its outstanding collection of fine quality industrial structures, including 1217 W. Washington Boulevard by architect D.H. Burnham and Company and which is currently on the 90-Day Demolition Delay.
  3. Martin Kimbell Sr. and Martin Kimbell Jr. and Spencer Kimbell Houses located at 2512 and 2524 N. Kimball Avenue in Logan Square. Martin Kimball Sr. is recognized as one of the founders of Logan Square and Jefferson Township.
  4. Seth Warner House, a pioneer residence at 631 N. Central Avenue in the Austin Community, and possible adjacent houses dating from the 1860’s.

By ordinance, Chicago Landmarks must meet at least two of the seven criteria for designation, as well as the “integrity” criteria. The seven design criteria include Outstanding Heritage, Significant Event, Significant Person, Exemplary Architecture, Significant Architect, Distinctive Theme, and Unique Visual Feature.

Additionally, Preservation Chicago is excited to have begun the background research to prepare a nomination suggestion for Landmarks for two thematic Chicago Landmark districts. These two future districts include a Chicago Jazz, Blues and Gospel Thematic Landmark District and an LGBTQ Thematic Landmark District. Unlike most landmark districts which are bound together by physical proximity, thematic districts are woven together by a common underlying theme. The purpose of these future districts would be to recognize, celebrate and protect the places and spaces that played an important role in the history of Chicago.  

Chicago was a jazz, blues and gospel mecca during the early and mid-twentieth century. Many of the great jazz, blues and gospel legends called Chicago home and while their contributions to the history of Chicago and American music is hard to overstate, many of the places and spaces that tell this fascinating story have been lost or forgotten. A Jazz, Blues and Gospel Thematic Landmark District would serve to recognize, celebrate and protect the important places and spaces where it all happened.

Chicago’s LGBTQ community has made significant contributions to Chicago since the early twentieth century and has been a leader in the movement to win LGBTQ rights both locally and nationally, however, much of this rich and extraordinary history has often been overlooked. An LGBTQ Thematic Landmark District would serve to recognize, celebrate and protect the important places and spaces where people, events, and organizations pushed Chicago to become a beacon of progress and to ensure LGBTQ rights.
Hanson Park Field House Released from 90-Day Demolition Delay after Two Days!
Hanson Park Field House, Photo Credit DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin
The architecturally significant orange-rated Hanson Park Field House located at 5501 N. Fullerton Avenue will soon be demolished. An important fixture in Hanson Park since 1936, this elegant brick and limestone field house building with arched floor-to-ceiling windows and limestone columns was designed by John C. Christensen. A $12 million Cook County health clinic will be constructed on the site in the park.

According to the recent report issued by Bailey Edward Architects, the building was stable and could be reused.  

“Though the squirrels had set up residence and the evident signs of distress, structurally the building is in good shape. The center portion of the building, which is the most historically significant, appeared to be in good repair and with modest repairs to stop water infiltration issues, the building can be utilized for many years to come, but not by the squirrels.” (Bailey Edward Architects Report)

The Hanson Park Field House is listed as orange-rated on the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS). Due the significant historic value orange-rated buildings, the designation requires up to a 90-Day Demolition Delay to provide an opportunity for alternate plans to emerge that might protect the historic building from demolition. The historic structure could have been incorporated into the new construction plans either through adaptive reuse or incorporating the historic façade. The 90-Day Demolition Delay is designed precisely to allow the voice of community members and other stakeholders the opportunity to be heard.

The demolition permit was received on Tuesday, June 27th. The demolition permit was released 48 hours later on Thursday June 29th.  There was no urgency for the early release of the Hanson Park Field House from the 90-Day Demolition Delay list as approximately three months passed before demolition work began.
From the City of Chicago, Department of Planning & Development, Demolition Delay List (2017)
"This wonderful historic building could have been a beautiful component of the new heath center and proved a great asset to the Belmont Craigin community,” said Ward Miller of Preservation Chicago. “Orange-rated buildings are supposed to have a 90-day hold to explore reuse possibilities. Expediting the demolition of historic buildings really defeats the purpose of having the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.”

Preservation Chicago urges the City’s Department of Planning and Development/Historic Preservation Division and staff to allow the 90-Day Demolition Delay for orange-rated structures to be implemented according to the ordinance and the full 90-Day Demolition Delay allowed to run its course. There are many examples where the demolition delay process worked as designed and the process resulted in better outcomes for all parties including the historic building, the developer, the community and the City of Chicago. Early release of demolition permits for significant orange-rated buildings should be rare and reserved for instances where there is a clear health and safety risk which can only be resolved by an emergency demolition.

Additional Reading

Lincoln Park Landmark Looking For Preservation Buyer
Lakeview Avenue Row Houses, 2700-10 N. Lakeview Avenue, Photo Credit Ward Miller
The four Lakeview Avenue row houses at 2700-10 North Lakeview Avenue became a Designated Chicago Landmark in 2016. Designed by David Adler and completed in 1917, these Georgian-style townhomes overlook the northern portion of Lincoln Park. This elegant cluster of residences was designed as a community for a close-knit group of wealthy, young, bachelor artists and architects centered around Mrs. Emily Ryerson, an artist and leader of the group.  

Emily Ryerson’s interest in gathering her young artist friends around her was likely related to the loss of her oldest son Arthur Jr. and her husband Arthur Ryerson in 1912. Her oldest son was killed in a car accident and the Ryersons traveled back from Europe to the funeral on the Titanic. Emily and her three children were rescued from a lifeboat, but Arthur stayed behind and went down with the ship.

While all exterior elements were drawn from historical Georgian design, each home had a unique identity with distinctive doorways and window styles. The townhouses share a similar exterior appearance of bright white limestone, dark brick, and elegant wrought-iron fences and balconies. Interiors of the four townhouses were personalized per the unique preferences of their respective owners. The townhouses were designed around an enclosed light court or exterior court yard to maximize natural light. Interestingly, all homes shared a centralized heating plant and a common garage for the automobiles of each of the owners.

Renamed as Adler on the Park, the landmark building is being renovated by Foster Design Build after serving as Thresholds recovery center since 1972. There are two options moving forward, either to redivide into large, high-end townhomes or to renovate as a large single family home.  A ballroom and large parlor will be preserved in either scenario.  

Preservation Chicago supported the landmarking of this important and distinctive building. The project is being developed by Bob Berg of Foster Design Build, a preservation sensitive developer. Berg said Foster Design Build "takes on unique, significantly historic properties. We like to save them and help neighborhoods retain their character. We really get excited about these kinds of projects and researching their history."(Cox, DNAinfo)

Preservation Chicago considers the single family home restoration option to be preferable as it would allow greater flexibility to restore the existing historic elements.

Vote to Win Grant for Hyde Park Cable Car Building
Hyde Park Cable Car Building Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce
Hyde Park Cable Car Building, Photo Credit Hyde Park Historical Society
From the Hyde Park Historical Society and Wallace Goode, Executive Director Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce .

"Tucked in a Metra train station in Chicago’s Hyde Park community is a 124-year old one-room building resting quietly in the shadow of super stores and townhouses – the last cable car station that survived Chicago’s cable car era (1882-1906).

The Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Hyde Park Historical Society has been given the opportunity to compete for a historic preservation grant to “Save the Cable Car Building”. These needed funds will preserve the Cable Car Building for future generations as one of the few structures still standing with connections to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The funds will also allow continued access to a museum and meeting space.

Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, is an initiative created by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. Main Streets has recognized 25 semi-finalist historic sites in the U.S. and Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood is the only semi-finalist in Illinois.

By clicking on this link or the link at the bottom of the Hyde Park Chamber’s and Hyde Park Historical Society’s Facebook pages the public will be able to vote to “Save the Cable Car Building” – it’s that simple.

The neighborhoods with the most votes will win preservation funding grants provided by American Express. The public can vote up to five times a day but the voting ends October 31.  Grant recipients will be announced November 2."

KAM Eric Allix Rogers
KAM Isaiah Israel, Photo Credit Eric Allix Rogers
Preservation Chicago Celebration at KAM Isaiah Israel, Sunday, October 15, 2017
Preservation Chicago will be at KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park sponsoring a day of special programming on Sunday Oct. 15th starting at 10:00 am.

This is a free event and all are welcome. Everyone is invited everyone to stop by and say hello. 

Special performances from Kenwood School of Ballet, Kalapriya Dance, and the Praise Dance Team from Chicago Embassy Church.

Performances beginning at 10:00 am, and repeat every hour on the hour.

Tours of historic building are available between performances.

Open House Chicago: OCTOBER 14-15, 2017

The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago is a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to more than 200 buildings across Chicago.

Explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods—all for free.

Have you ever walked by a building and thought, "I wish I could see what's inside?" Now you can.

Tour soaring skyscrapers, repurposed mansions, opulent theaters, exclusive private clubs, private offices and breathtaking sacred spaces.

CAB Tom Harris
Chicago Architecture Biennial, Photo Credit Tom Harris
Chicago Architecture Biennial, Through January 7, 2018
The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) and more than 100 Program Partner organizations are presenting collateral events and exhibitions in Chicago. Partner programming will continue for the duration of the Biennial which runs until January 7, 2018.

The Biennial and its partners explore Chicago’s rich historic legacy as an incubator of architectural ideas and showcase diverse cultural sites across the city and region through a range of programs that are available to the public. The city and its buildings provide an incredible space for international participants and visitors to explore the 2017 theme, Make New History, and to question how the past connects to the present, while also inspiring the future of art, architecture, and urban design.

National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference
In Chicago: NOVEMBER 14-17, 2017
PastForward is the premier educational and networking event for those in the business of saving places.

Art, advocacy, and innovation are the hallmarks of preservation in Chicago, where outstanding architecture and diverse neighborhoods have become a proving ground for preservation approaches. At PastForward 2017 we’ll focus on “forward,” exploring the next generation of preservation tools and techniques—high-tech, big data, virtual. Learn more about what PastForward is in this 90 second video.

While we'll explore many topics at PastForward 2017, we'll focus on the following themes:
  • ReUrbanism—especially preservation's role in creating economically and environmentally sustainable, equitable, and healthy communities.
  • Technology—applying the next generation of technological applications to the work of saving places.
  • Health—better understand and advocate for the physical and psychological benefits of older and historic places.
  • Connections—using place to make history visible and build understanding, community trust, and civility.

Join us November 14-17, 2017 in Chicago for PastForward.

John Vinci: Life and Landmarks Reception
Thursday, October 19 from 5:30 to 8 pm
IIT Architecture and the Mies van der Rohe Society honor John Vinci and celebrate the new book by Robert Sharoff and William Zbaren: JOHN VINCI: LIFE AND LANDMARKS AT IIT S.R. Crown Hall, 3360 S. State Street, Chicago 

Upon graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture in 1960, Vinci went on to win acclaim for his pioneering activism for the cause of historic preservation as well as for restoring such early Chicago landmarks as Sullivan’s Stock Exchange Trading Room and the Carson Pirie Scott Building, Wright’s Home Studio and the Robie House and Burnham & Root’s Monadnock Building. Vinci has also designed numerous important residential and institutional commissions such as the Arts Club of Chicago and the award-winning Davis House that fuse the rigor of his early education at IIT with the stylistic brio of the globally important First Chicago School of Architecture.

  • 5:30 p.m.: Reception
  • 6 p.m.: Remarks by Robert Sharoff, John Vinci, William Zbaren (and other participants)
  • 7 p.m.: Reception with Music by VanderCook College of Music.

Thanks to AIA Chicago, Alphawood Foundation, Architecture & Design Society, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago Architecture Foundation, Docomomo Chicago, The Driehaus Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, Graham Foundation, Landmarks Illinois, Preservation Chicago, Society of Architectural Historians. 

Free Parking is offered for this event. A permit must be displayed.

Books will be available at the event. More info at Northwestern University Press website.
Preservation Chicago’s 2017 “Chicago 7 Most Endangered” Original Posters Now Available with Donation
Preservation Chicago is pleased to announce that its well-received original design 2017 “Chicago 7 Most Endangered” Chicago Union Station Power House poster is now available at the Preservation Chicago website. 

The 2017 “Chicago 7 Most Endangered” list is unusually broad in its scope and includes:
  1. Chicago Union Station Power House
  2. Altgeld Gardens
  3. Chicago’s 20th Century Public Sculptures
  4. Cornell Store & Flats
  5. Chicago Water Cribs
  6. Jackson Park & South Shore Cultural Center Park
  7. Madison-Pulaski Commercial District

If you would like a complimentary copy of the bound printed Chicago 2017 booklet, please email your info(at) and please be sure to include your mailing address.