Actively Threatened Buildings

Preservation Chicago is actively advocating for the preservation of the following endangered buildings. 

Please support the effort by emailing the alderman, sign a petition, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and help us spread the word, and most importantly, come to community meetings and make your voice heard!

  • E. Superior Block, Photo Credit by Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago

    Entire Block E. Superior with Orange-Rated Italianate 1880’s Row Houses in River North E. Superior Block, Photo Credit by Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago

    Entire Block of E. Superior including Orange-Rated Italianate 1880’s Row Houses in River North is threatened with demolition to make way for a high-rise building.  

    “However, to ensure the protection of these buildings, Miller is hoping that area residents will help push for the creation of a new landmark district. “This is McCormickville,” Miller said. “This is where the McCormick family lived before and after the Great Chicago Fire.” And with the continued demolition of other shorter, older buildings in the area, Miller says that there are only a handful of the original McCormickville buildings left. “We need to value every inch of space where there are historic buildings that tell the story of the neighborhood,” Miller concluded.”

    Contact Alderman Reilly’s Office at office@ward42chicago.com or 312.642.4242

    Preservationists want a new landmark district in River North, Curbed Chicago, 12/8/16
    Demolition Work Begins on 19th Century Buildings at State and Huron, Curbed Chicago, 2/15/16
    New Concerns Over River North’s Disappearing Rowhomes, Curbed Chicago, 2/11/16
  • Leland Sheridan, Photo Credit by IDOT Chicago Traffic Photographs (University of Illinois at Chicago)

    Leland and Sheridan Building, 1001-1017 West Leland and 4654 North Sheridan in Uptown

    The historic building red brick at the southwest corner of Leland and Sheridan, that features some incredible terra cotta ornament, including the wonderful art deco faces, is threatened with demolition.  Zoning change is required for proposed seven-story building.

    The building was recently rehabbed by the new bank owner after suffering through decades of poor management, housing court, and a foreclosure.

    ACTION ITEM:  All are invited to attend open community meeting hosted by Alderman Cappleman on Monday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. at Sarah’s Circle, 4838 N Sheridan Rd. 

    Or contact Alderman Cappleman’s office at Info@james46.org or 773-878-4646

     

  • 1610 N. Wells Piper’s Bakery Building

    Piper’s Bakery Building, 1610 N. Wells

    Following a significant fire in October, 2016 which originated in the kitchen of the ground floor restaurant, this highly ornate building is under considerable threat.  The wood framed and metal-clad-bay-windows and turret are proposed to be removed and a new fourth floor added to the structure.

    Piper’s Bakery Building is so physically tied to Old Town in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, and was also the gateway and entry to the once very famous “Piper’s Alley,” which was “ground zero for the Counter Culture” in Chicago and the commercial heart of Old Town during that period.  It is also tied to “The Second City” -the legendary comedy venue and troupe, and home to many famous comedian-artists, which continue to move onto the national stage from this location, and in such productions as SNL-Saturday Night Live, the Hollywood movie industry. This building and its neighboring structure, is perhaps one of the few potential landmarks in our City and country, which may reflect this area of entertainment and artistry. 

  • Serbian American Museum & Club – St Sava, at 448 W. Barry

    Due to pro-preservation advocacy pressure, the demolition permit was withdrawn. The fight is not over, but the rapid response from the community and preservation advocates has won the first battle.

    On October 18, 2016 a DEMOLITION PERMIT was requested by the Dunleavy Construction Company on behalf of the owner for the orange-rated Serbian American Museum & Club – St Sava, at 448 W. Barry Avenue, in the Lake View neighborhood.  The permit requests permission to “Wreck and remove a 2-story brick house and garage”

     

    The orange-rated Serbian American Museum & Club – St Sava, at 448 W. Barry Avenue, in the Lake View neighborhood, is an amazing former house by Frederick Perkins (1902) in the Prairie Style.

     

    It is graced with beautiful proportions, amazing classical ornament, and a unique arched dormer at the third floor.  It is constructed of Roman Brick, with fine detailing. 

     

    The Serbian American Museum & Club would be a natural candidate for consideration as a Designated Chicago Landmark, both architecturally and culturally (A Serbian/ethnic cultural landmark, which nationally, in the architecture and preservation communities, is an important area of buildings to protect, and a topic of many recent conferences).

    We at Preservation Chicago, would be in full support of such a designation.

     

  • 324 South Racine Avenue

    Historic West Loop Apartment Building at 324 S. Racine is begin offered for sale.  $4.75M.  The building has seven large loft style apartments and first floor retail.  Large adjacent side lot with outdoor café seating.  Within blocks of the CTA Blue Line.

    THREAT: Marketed as “Transit Oriented Development site”, the C1-3 zoning when combined with the side lot would allow the construction of a larger building with many more smaller units.

    ACTION: Contact 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin, (773) 533-0900 jason.ervin@cityofchicago.org, http://www.aldermanervin.com/ to request that he take steps to protect this building from any potential demolition.

  • Demolition Delay Ordinance

    Although the battle to save the Mercantile Exchange Building was lost, the outrage that was caused by its destruction finally forced reform at City Hall.

    For years before the Mercantile Exchange battle erupted, preservationist and other concerned citizens had been maddened by the continued loss of historic buildings throughout the city, and frustrated by the inability to obtain information with regards to pending demolitions.

    However, that all changed in the spring of 2002 when a demolition permit was issued for the Mercantile Exchange Building, formerly located at the NW corner of Franklin and Washington Streets.

    Preservation Chicago quickly sprung into action by creating a public awareness campaign called Save the Merc. Consisting of a series of street demonstrations and picket rallies throughout the summer and fall of 2002, the sustained pressure for landmarks reform ultimately compelled the city to create a new law, which both delayed the demolition of the city’s most historic buildings as well as opened the process to the public.

    Based on recommendations made by Preservation Chicago, this new ordinance became law in January of 2003 and is tied to the city-financed Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS). Informally known as “the survey”, the CHRS was published in 1996 after 12 years of exhaustive research. Architectural historians fanned out across the city and evaluated the architectural integrity of every structure. All buildings built before 1940 were rated on their historical and architectural merit, and then broken down into color categories: Red is the highest ranking, followed respectively by Orange, Green and Yellow. Ultimately, over 17,000 buildings were listed in the survey, and over 8,700 of them were rated Orange. The highlights of the ordinance are as follows:

    • When a demolition permit for a Red or Orange rated building is applied for, the Landmarks Commission is notified and the demolition permit is posted on the city’s public web site.
    • Once posted, a 90-day hold is placed on the demolition permit, although the city may release the hold sooner, under certain circumstances.
    • During that time, research of the historic and/or architectural merit is done to determine if the building should receive Landmark Protection. Alternatives to demolition can also be explored.

    Though less than ideal, the Demolition Delay Ordinance has led to the preservation of numerous historic buildings over the years. But more importantly, it has created a new planning tool for city officials, preservationists and concerned citizens. Before 2003, few if anyone knew what an “Orange Rated” building was. Today, it in now and integral part of Chicago’s urban planning vocabulary.

     

  • Cook County Hospital: 1825 W. Harrison Street – New life for a grand old dame

    The prognosis looks good for the grand old dame of Harrison Street. On March 2, 2010, the Construction Committee of the Cook County Board voted 6-0 to approve the adaptive reuse of the historic Cook County Hospital Building.

    This action most likely ends a decade-long battle to preserve the former hospital building. The full county board affirmed the recommendation in a 17-0 vote in a session that immediately followed the committee meeting.

    Preservation Chicago kicked off its preservation effort at an April 2003 press conference, which featured author Studs Terkel.

    A massive grass roots public awareness and advocacy campaign began that spring and continued through 2004, culminating in the collection of over 13,000 petition signatures in favor of preservation, which were then delivered to then-county board president John Stroger. Later that year, Preservation Chicago partnered with other preservation advocacy groups, including Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a concerted effort to preserve and repurpose the building. Those collective efforts finally paid off in 2010, when a majority of the Cook County board agreed to a preservation plan.

    Begun in 1913 by architect Paul Gerhardt, the structure will be converted to administrative offices for the Cook County Health and Hospitals System. Gerhardt also designed Lane Tech High School. The estimated cost is $108,000,000 and is to be partially funded through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars.

    The building, located at 1825 W. Harrison Street, opened in 1916. Cook County Hospital is one of Chicago’s most prominent buildings and was intended to look like a civic edifice rather than a mere hospital. Its façades are composed in a Classical Revival style with French Renaissance features, executed with dramatic detail. The building is famous nationwide and was featured in the film The Fugitive and was the inspiration for television shows St. Elsewhere and ER. The hospital was listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places in 2006.

    The edifice is two blocks long, has eight floors and had four pavilions projecting from the rear, which have been demolished. Operating rooms and two amphitheaters took up the entire eighth floor.

    Patients in the early part of the century were primarily European but by the end of World War II, African-American patients predominated. More than 10,000 doctors have practiced at County Hospital and a medical internship at Cook County Hospital was much sought and considered a prize.

    In the early 1990’s, the County Board approved construction of a new hospital and in 2002 a $250 million new hospital named for sitting county board president John H. Stroger was completed. Funds were then earmarked for the demolition of the old main building. It is then that the preservation community sprung into action.

    The efforts of Preservation Chicago, and other like-minded preservation organizations, helped to change the tide of public opinion against demolition and in favor of historic preservation and adaptive reuse, truly a win-win situation for all stakeholders.