“While much of the former steel mills that make up Lincoln Yards have been razed, Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller said he obtained a list of 70 architecturally significant buildings along the North Branch Industrial Corridor that could be threatened by new development.” (Sudo, Bisnow Chicago, 7/19/18)
As massive changes are underway within this former industrial corridor, it’s essential that the City of Chicago quickly move to protect these 70 architecturally significant buildings along the North Branch Industrial Corridor. They need to be preserved in order to maintain a connection to the corridor’s history, to insure quality of life issues, and to promote healthy communities. Preservation Chicago is actively working with community organizations and is an official member of the North Branch Park Preserve Coalition.
Already, we’ve seen the rapid sale and demolition of architecturally significant industrial buildings in the area, including the prairie school industrial building located at 1401 W. Wabansia Street, (also known as 1666 N. Ada Street) which was sold on February 21, 2018. Despite being a well-regarded and highly wedding venue, the building was bought for the underlying land. The demolition permit was released on March 27, 2018 and the building was demolished on April 4, 2018.
Many of these 70 identified buildings are in fact very important industrial buildings, designed by noteworthy architectural firms and individuals. These include; Adler & Sullivan Architects and Louis Sullivan structures at 1440 N. Kingsbury Street Complex/Carbit Paints, originally constructed as the Euston & Company Linseed Oil Plant in 1899 and the Chicago Linoleum Company Plant in 1903 as the plant of the Carbit Paint Company; at 2013 N. Elston/Horween Complex, originally the Herman Loescher Leather Tannery, now the Horween Leather Company complex. The architect of Horween needs to be definitively confirmed, but in past research the taller structure, with a decorative cornice and angled facade elevation appears to be connected to Adler & Sullivan.
Preservation Chicago encourages Chicago Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Division to designate some of these buildings as Chicago Landmarks as part of these on-going discussions and agreements for Lincoln Yards/North Branch Corridor area, in tandem with open space and parklands. A thematic Chicago Landmark “Tannery District” of buildings and another protected district tied to beer brewing and manufacturing could protect many of these significant buildings. However, the steps must be taken as quickly as possible, as one of the historic buildings identified on the list, 1666 N. Ada, has already been demolished.