Growing redevelopment pressure in Old Town Triangle has increased the targeting of historic workers cottages, orange-rated buildings, balloon-frame homes, and even mid-century modern homes as potential tear-downs. Preservation Chicago and neighborhood preservation partner Old Town Triangle Association have found themselves testifying on multiple homes at many Landmark Commission meetings. This preservation effort has resulted in some preservation saves such as the prototypical workers cottage at 1639 N. North Park Ave. However, demolition for other homes, such as the mid-century modern 1638 N. Sedgwick Ave, have been approved for demolition as this building was identified as being outside of the 1872 to 1929 period of significance.
There was a silver lining to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks decision to approve the demolition permit for 1638 N. Sedgwick Ave, described by Old Town Triangle Association as “visionary and forward-thinking.” This ’60s brick, mid-century modern home with a distinctive curved front designed by architect Edward Marks clearly falls outside of the period of significance of the early workers cottages and homes. The effort to save Sedgwick will likely serve as the catalyst to save other mid-century modern buildings.
The Landmarks Commission recognized that there are buildings of the modern movement that are important. Chairman Rafael Leon requested a Context Statement be drafted by staff and formally approved by the Landmarks Commission that would offer some protection to mid-century modern buildings short of them being landmarked.