Moody Triangle – Most Endangered 2022

Moody Triangle

North Federal Savings Bank/Wintrust Bank, 1961, Naess & Murphy, 100 W. North Avenue
Moody Memorial Church/Moody Church, 1924, Fugard & Knapp, 1635 N. LaSalle Drive
Archway Standard Station/BP Service Station, 1971, George Terp, 1647 N. LaSalle Street

Overview

The Moody Triangle site, in the Old Town neighborhood of the Lincoln Park Community Area, is formed by North Avenue to the south and the convergence of Clark Street and LaSalle Drive to the north. This highly-visible parcel fronting Lincoln Park and the Chicago History Museum has recently come to our attention as a potential revisioning and redevelopment site by Moody Church and Fern Hill Company.

The proposed scope of development includes several sites, including this triangular parcel of land that we are referring to as the Moody Triangle, as well as nearby parcels to the west along North Avenue and sites along the 1600 blocks of LaSalle and Wells Streets. However, Preservation Chicago has identified the triangular parcel, which is of specific concern, as part of our 2022 Chicago 7 Most Endangered.

This triangular site contains three buildings which we at Preservation Chicago feel are extremely noteworthy. These structures include the former North Federal Savings Bank (1961) by Naess & Murphy, now known as the Wintrust Bank Building, and the Moody Memorial Church (1924-1925) by architect John Fugard of Fugard & Knapp. Also included, at the apex of the triangular site, is a sculptural building constructed as Archway Standard Station, later known as Archway Amoco, and now a BP Service Station, with a sweeping hood and overhanging steel canopy that gently transitions to a hyperbolic curve of concrete, sloping down to the ground.

Noting this is being referred to as a development site, Preservation Chicago wants to encourage preservation of all of the structures on this triangular parcel of land, with the exception of the Shell Station at 130 W. North Avenue, which may be considered as a modest development site for Moody and Fern Hall.

North Federal Savings Bank/Wintrust Bank

History: North Federal Bank/Wintrust Bank

The North Federal Savings Bank, later Diamond Bank and now Wintrust Bank, was designed by the firm of Naess & Murphy in 1961. This Midcentury Modern structure was not included in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey (CHRS), as the building was too new and under 50 years of age when the area was surveyed. However, the building was so well-regarded by experts in the field and the City of Chicago that the City’s Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Planning & Development had sought the building for possible Chicago Landmark designation in 2007. This bank was considered a representation of a Modernist community bank by a significant firm, executed in the International Style, influenced by the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and was considered as a viable candidate for The Neighborhood Banks District. However, the owner at the time, Diamond Bank, opposed being Landmarked and instead of viewing this potential designation as an honor, chose to challenge and push back to such an extreme, it was dropped as a candidate for this designation, which included five other neighborhood banks. This was alarming to many of us, as it is a small site and it could have been a great source of pride, an opportunity that was unfortunately squandered. This would be a wonderful building to consider for Landmarks in the future, but only with owner consent.

Threat: North Federal Bank/Wintrust Bank

The North Federal Savings Bank Building, now Wintrust Bank Building, is a modest, two-story, Midcentury Modern building at a great location on a valuable parcel of land. Previous efforts with the former owners and bank to designate the building as a Chicago Landmark failed, despite support from the architecture and preservation community. At this time with a proposed development planned for all of the Moody sites in partnership with Fern Hall, and under the leadership of renowned Ghanaian-British architect, David Adjaye, many are concerned about the bank building and the potential redevelopment of this triangular parcel of land.

Recommendations: North Federal Bank/Wintrust Bank

Despite some preliminary assurances that the bank is not part of the redevelopment plans at this time, we are concerned for the long-term preservation of this Midcentury Modern structure. Wintrust Bank is a Chicago-based institution and we would like to see the owner and the bank consent to a Chicago Landmark designation of their building which was determined by the City of Chicago to be worthy of Landmarking.

The D.L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School Building and Offices

The D.L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School Building is a remarkable Romanesque and Byzantine Style structure with a 3,740-seat auditorium and sanctuary. This building, designed and constructed from 1924-1925 by John Fugard of the architecture firm of Fugard & Knapp is a fabulous and extraordinary building, as well as a local community landmark. Situated in the middle of the block on this triangular site, this large, rounded drum-shaped building, with its rich red brick and polychromed terracotta details, captures the imagination of everyone that passes the complex. Extending across the center portion of the triangular parcel, the western elevation fronting LaSalle Drive, showcases stepped, semicircular arches in red brick which beautifully reflect qualities of Romanesque and Norman architecture. Later additions were added to both the Clark and LaSalle elevations in recent decades, which are sensitive reflections of the historic 1920s structures.

The church building, now referred to as Moody Church, was built to replace an earlier church located at Chicago Avenue and LaSalle Drive which was demolished in 1939 for the widening of LaSalle, ending a long debate as well as legal challenges beginning in the 1920s. That earlier church co-joined the Moody Bible Institute Campus, dating back to 1874-1876. Moody Bible Institute has recently begun selling its neighboring land parcels, as well, for a large massive redevelopment project.

Moody Church was founded by Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899) in Chicago in 1864, originally establishing the congregation in what was then known as the Illinois Street Church, which burned in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Moody was a great orator and evangelist, attracting large crowds at gatherings around the nation, as well as overseas and had quite the calling and success with Ira Sanky. In 1886, Moody came back to Chicago and established the Chicago Evangelization Society, later becoming the forerunner of the Chicago Bible Institute and Moody Bible Institute. Dwight Moody established the now-demolished Chicago Avenue Church (1873-1876, Johnston & Edelmann, with interior fresco-secco decorations by Louis Sullivan), at the northwest corner of LaSalle Drive and Chicago Avenue, later renamed Moody Church upon his death. He also established Chicago as an evangelical center and founded the Chicago Bible Institute, which also was renamed Moody Bible Institute, following his death.

Threat: Moody Memorial Church

While sources relay to us at this time that there is no immediate threat to the Moody Church Building or its ancillary attached structures, the triangular site is to be considered for a revisioning with a world-renowned architect and a developer. While the community input is important, this is a valuable, large, and centrally-located parcel of land, fronting Lincoln Park with unparalleled views of Lake Michigan. Moody Bible Institute, the church’s affiliate a mile or so to the south, is also selling many of its blocks of historic buildings and vacant lands—approximately 8.1 acres for a decade-long project containing 2,680 apartments, condominiums and townhomes–to another developer, JDL. This large development of buildings, to be called North Union, will contain at least three proposed towers estimated to be over 500 feet in height. It is to extend from Chicago Avenue to Oak Street and from Wells Street to the Brown Line, near Orleans Street; the project has also received approvals from the City. There will also be 30,000 square feet of retail and 1.3 acres of open space. While some historic buildings are to be reused as part of the North Union project, others will be demolished. Witnessing the redevelopment of two large properties by two nearby Moody institutions should be of concern to many.

Recommendations: Moody Memorial Church

As Moody Church and Fern Hill are in discussions with the community and elected officials on several prominent sites on the Near North Side and within the Old Town community, we would like to recommend that Moody Church and its adjoining church, community, and offices be given a Chicago Landmark designation as part of the overall development plans. This would honor Moody’s long history of evangelism, its buildings, and the institution’s presence in Chicago from the mid-19th century to present day.

Such plans would ensure the presence of this remarkable Romanesque building and complex well into the future. There may not be an immediate threat to the 3,740-seat sanctuary, auditorium, and building. However, it would be great to know this building is protected and designated as a Chicago Landmark as it would easily meet four of the City’s Landmark Criterion. These criteria would include: important architects; association with someone of great note (in this case, Dwight Moody); importance to the city’s history; and important architecture, as Moody Church is an exceptional building with marvelous detailing and craftsmanship.

Perhaps as part of development plans elsewhere close by, Moody Church’s Landmark designation could result in zoning variances and exceptions for other nearby sites. Such ideas could even extend to selling the church’s air-rights and transferring those bonuses to other adjacent sites and projects, beyond this triangle of land bounded by North Avenue, LaSalle Drive, and Clark Street.

Archway Standard Station/BP Service Station

History: Archway Standard Station

The Archway Standard Station, later renamed Archway Amoco and now known as the BP Station, is situated at the apex of this triangular site, where the confluence of two arterial streets, LaSalle Drive and Clark Street, merge. It is a very dynamic and special intersection, near the beginnings of Lincoln Park and with direct access to DuSable Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan.

Archway Standard was the design of architect George Terp (1910-1998) and was completed and opened in 1971. Terp attended the Armour Institute of Technology, now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and was said to have designed nearly 14,000 gas stations over his 25-year career as an architect for the Amoco Oil Company. Retiring from Amoco two years after the construction of the station in 1973, Terp continued a small architectural practice in the South Suburb of Flossmoor, Illinois. This project was likely completed at the zenith of his career.
Threat: Archway Standard Station

This Midcentury Modern structure may be in harm’s way due to this recently announced redevelopment project. This could greatly impact this much beloved gas station—a one of a kind and unique feature which always catches everyone’s eye who passes it. Noted for its long extending canopy which extends from the ground with concrete feet, the structure rises upward to form a large protective cover to shield patrons from the wind, rain, sun and snow at a very windy corner location close to Lake Michigan. Over time, the once patriotic colors of Standard Oil’s red, white and blue have changed to the green and yellow colors of BP. However, much of the station remains as it was originally designed by Terp.

Recommendations: Archway Standard Station

Noting that this service station building is a unique design and feature, we at Preservation Chicago are of the opinion that this structure could be designated Chicago’s first Landmark service station. We also realize that if the service station can no longer operate as a gas and service station, which would be the most ideal outcome, that the elongated extending canopy could be reutilized and incorporated into a new development, engaging much of the structure if so desired.

 

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