PARTIAL WIN: Demolition Averted for Washington Park Substation (Chicago 7 2018)

In early 2018, the Washington Park Substation was facing an immediate threat of demolition as a permit was applied for in March 2018 and demolition fencing had been erected. The Washington Park Substation was included as a 2018 7 Most Endangered, Preservation Chicago had been in active communication with preservation-oriented developers interested in the Washington Park Substation, including the Cook County Land Bank. The Cook County Land Bank moved to quickly purchase the building which saved the building from the looming demolition threat. A long-term user and renovation plan are necessary to restore and protect this building into the future. Preservation Chicago applauds Rob Rose and the leadership of Cook County Land Bank for their efforts around the Washington Park Substation.

The Washington Park Substation is an orange-rated building in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. Constructed in stages between 1928 and 1939, this Classical Revival building was designed by notable architect Hermann von Holst. This large and elegant industrial building features a dramatic series of arched window openings topped with a series of repeated cadence of smaller windows capped by a limestone string course. The facade elements culminate in the middle section of the building front elevation being defined by three soaring arches flanked by two pairs of columns. Carved limestone decorative ornament incandescent light bulbs repeat between the arches on the façade. Located at 6141 S. Prairie Avenue, the Washington Park Substation is an outstanding example of the early electrical substations built across the Chicago in the early 20th century to electrify the city. This substation is larger than most as it was built to distribute high voltage power to smaller neighborhood substations.

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