Thanks to the tireless advocacy of Preservation Chicago and the Chicago preservation community, the following buildings have been saved from demolition. Most have been restored and will survive into the foreseeable future!
- The Vesemen Building: 444 North LaSalle St. – One-of-a-kind architectural orphan saved By 2005, it became quite apparent that the days of the tiny little Art Deco 444-n_-lasallegem located at 444 North LaSalle were numbered. Although the building was a vital part of the downtown streetscape, its diminutive two stories sat between two giant parking lots spelling certain doom as soon as the inevitable redevelopment plan emerged for the entire parcel. Preservation Chicago took action by listing the building as one of its 7 Most Threatened structures that same year, bringing its perilous fate citywide attention. The organization then appealed directly to then-Alderman Burt Natarus (42nd) to preserve the building based on its truly unique architecture. Designed by George F. Lovdall in 1930, 444 N. LaSalle is an integral part of the pedestrian-scaled, commercially-oriented Lower River North district. It enlivens the streetscape through its intricately detailed polychromatic terracotta in hues of gold, navy, pink and green, making it one of downtown's most colorful façades.
- Arlington-Deming Landmark District – A battle well worth the fight First the Geneva Cottage was demolished. Replacing it, and all of its lush arlington-deming-004green space, was a giant house. Then in the summer of 2004, it was announced that Arlington House, a popular youth hostel located in a stately Georgian edifice would be demolished for more luxury housing. The battle for the preservation of the Arlington-Deming neighborhood began. However, in order to save Arlington House and, at the same time, legally stop the senseless demolition of other historic buildings in the immediate area, it was necessary to create a landmark district. The effort to create that district began immediately through the founding of Arlington-Deming Neighbors, a grass roots group established by concerned residents and owners, with early assistance from Preservation Chicago, to move preservation forward.
- The Giles Calumet District – Expanding the boundaries of history The Giles Calumet Landmark District, exemplified by a series of attached row houses became a protected historic district on July 29, 2009. The action culminated several years of active grass roots lobbying on the part of area residents to obtain landmark status for their community, which is generally bounded by 37th Street to the north, Pershing Road to the south, King Drive to the east, and Cottage Grove to the west. However, it was the support that the community received from Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) that finally made the district and its accompanying protection a reality. In the 1880's and 90's, the area from 31st Street to 39th Street on Calumet, Giles and Prairie evolved into a distinct urban enclave. Residents represented an elite class who helped fuel Chicago's economic growth and allowed them to build fine homes in a variety of architectural styles including Italianate, Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Flemish Revival. Throughout the neighborhood's history, a substantial African-American community co-existed with middle and upper class whites.
- Lake Shore Athletic Club: 850 Lake Shore Drive – A battle of Olympian proportions If you have ever wondered how buildings get preserved in Chicago, the lsac2answer is political leadership. Case in point is the successful effort that saved the former Lake Shore Athletic Club from almost certain destruction. Located at 850 North Lake Shore Drive and opened in 1927, the LSAC was designed by Jarvis Hunt. The first five stories of the Georgian exterior are faced in terra cotta, exhibiting eye-catching ornamentation that stands in striking contrast to the neighboring Mies Van Der Rohe buildings across the street. Early on, the club established itself as a major center for athletic activities. In fact, Olympic trials for the 1928 Olympics were held at the club. Johnny Weissmuller ("Tarzan" in the movies) participated in these trials and swam in a number of other swimming matches held at the club. The building was renamed the Lake Shore Center in 1977 when it was acquired by Northwestern University for use as graduate housing. However, after 30 years of deferred maintenance, Northwestern University vacated the structure in 2007 in anticipation of its eventual demolition for condominium redevelopment.
- Milwaukee Avenue Commercial District – Safe from the wrecker ball Once a diagonal Indian path and early toll road, this vibrant, multi-faceted stretch of Milwaukee Avenue is one of the precious few Chicago neighborhood commercial districts that remains largely intact. It encompasses 50 structures that have earned a CHRS (Chicago Historic Resources Survey) rating, including multiple Orange-Rated buildings. The good news is that it is now a designated Historic Landmark District. Known as "the immigrants' path to prosperity," Milwaukee Ave was a major contributor to the establishment and evolution of Chicago. Initially, Native Americans and early settlers traveled down the road into the heart of the city to sell their goods and services. As the city expanded, people moved up the Avenue as they climbed the economic ladder. Reflecting the Wicker Park District's heritage of German and Norwegian settlers and the influences of the Jews and Poles that followed, the street is a rich mosaic of structures that served the ever-changing needs of the decades beginning in the mid 1800s.