Chicago 7 Most Endangered Buildings - 2004
Prentice Hospital, Photo Credit by Preservation Chicago
South Side Masonic Temple
South Side Masonic Temple, Photo Credit by Preservation Chicago
East Village Neighborhood
East Village District, Photo Credit by Preservation Chicago
The Isabella Building
Isabella Building, Photo Credit by Preservation Chicago
Cook County Hospital
Photo Credit by Chuckman's Chicago Postcard Collection
Chicago’s Religious Structures - 2004 Chicago 7
Pilgrim Baptist, Photo Credit by Lee Russell, Library of Congress
West Loop Mercantile District - 2004 Chicago 7
West Loop Mercantile District, Photo Credit by Preservation Chicago
First identified by Preservation Chicago as one of the 7 Most Threatened Buildings in 2004, the pressure to convince Northwestern University not to demolish this engineering marvel by architect Bertrand Goldberg came to a head in 2010 as the university prepared to assume ownership and move ahead with demolition plans. Read more about Prentice, located at 333 E. Superior, as this has become a current issue.Update: On April 5, 2011 it was reported that Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) had brokered a delay in Northwestern University’s plan to immediately apply for a demolition permit for Prentice, even though the building is not scheduled to be vacated until September. On April 7, 2011 Landmarks Illinois joined Preservation Chicago by also listing Prentice as one of their Most Endangered buildings of 2011. Since those actions, a robust debate has broken out in the press (see links below) culminating in the long-awaited reuse plan released by Landmarks Illinois on April 22.
Abandoned since the mid-1980’s, the South Side Masonic Temple at 6400 S. Green commands a powerful presence in its mostly low-rise Englewood neighborhood. An important neighborhood icon, it was identified by Preservation Chicago in 2004 as endangered. Unfortunately, since that time, no action has been taken to preserve it or even stablize it, and the building is in worse shape than ever.
Imagine living in a city under siege. You start each day not knowing whose block will be hit, or if a neighbor’s house will be reduced to rubble before even returning home from work. Imagine watching helplessly as, day by day, your beloved neighborhood disappears before your eyes.
This was what daily life in the East Village neighborhood was like in 2004 when it was listed as one of the 7 Most Threatened places in 2004. However, the creation of a landmark district in 2005 helped to stabalize parts of the area. Read about that community success.
Formerly located in the downtown Loop, the Isabella building had been obscured from view by the overhead tracks of the elevated train at Wabash and Van Buren. At the time of its nomination in 2004, it had recently been acquired by DePaul University as part of a larger parcel.
One of only a handful such William Le Baron Jenney skyscrapers remaining, the Isabella building was of critical importance to Chicago and to the building arts before it was demolished for use as a parking lot.
Cook County Hosptial, located at 1825 W. Harrison, is one of the few buildings that had been named to the Chicago 7 list twice. Preservation Chicago listed the building in both 2003 and 2004 in an effort to bring maximum awarness to the building’s plight. Read the entire story of this important preservation success.
Update: Although the administration of former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger had approved a $108 Million plan to rehab old Cook County Hospital for administrative offices, the incoming administration of Toni Preckwinkle put all capital construction projects on hold shortly after it took office in December of 2010. However, on April 21, 2011, it was reported that old Cook County would indded be rehabbed as part of a $683 million multi-year capital improvement campaign.
Over the past three decades, scores of our city’s religious buildings have been destroyed. From Rogers Park to South Chicago, neighborhood icons have vanished. Many communities in the process continue to lose their most beautiful buildings, with the destruction typically erasing rich community history as well. The ongoing fights to save St. Gelasius and St. Boniface compelled Preservation Chicago to create this ‘thematic’ designation in 2004. Although many religious structures have since been demolished, both St. Boniface and St. Gelasius live on. Read more about the success Preservation Chicago had in saving both structures.
Update:Since Preservation Chicago first raised the issue of the loss of historic houses of worship in 2004, the problem has only increased. Efforts continue to craft a holistic policy solution to convert and adaptively reuse these important neighborhood icons. to other uses.
Chicago’s visionary and generally well-conceived blueprint for the downtown area, Chicago Central Area Plan: Preparing the Central City for the 21st Century, called for the highest density of development to occur in the “westward expansion” of offices uses in the West Loop. Simultaneously, however, the plan wisely directs us to “preserve and strengthen the Central Area’s world-renowned architectural and cultural heritage.”
While these are admirable objectives, time has proven that such measures are not enough to preserve an area’s existing architecture, which is why in 2004 Preservation Chicago proposed the creation of a new landmark district that would protect what was left of the West Loop’s distinctive character.