The Clarendon Park Community Center will begin an extensive renovation. The infusion of $6.1 million for renovation for this important but long-neglected building has been widely celebrated. As recently as 2015, demolition was widely considered to be the most likely outcome for this historic building when it was included as a 2015 Preservation Chicago 7 Most Endangered Building.
The building was designed by city architect, C.W. Kallal in a Mediterranean Revival Style. This “Italian Resort Style” became the model for such other highly regarded lakefront landmark buildings as Marshall and Fox’s South Shore Country Club of 1916 (now South Shore Cultural Center) and the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion in 1919. This style was defined by tall towers capped with hipped-roofs clad in clay tiles, large entry colonnades, porticos, loggias and open-air promenades.
Preservation Chicago applauds 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman for his commitment to seeing the Clarendon Park Community Center protected from demolition and for helping to solidify the necessary renovation funds. Preservation Chicago applauds the Chicago Park District for their support and commitment to this important project. The Clarendon Park neighbors and community stakeholders played an important role and deserve special recognition for their unwavering support for this outcome with a special thanks to Katharine Boyda, Melanie Eckner, the Clarendon Park Advisory Council, Uptown United and Uptown Chicago Commission.
Preservation Chicago hopes to see this important building’s exterior restored to an appearance more similar to its original design. The distinctive tall towers fronting Clarendon Avenue and the smaller towers fronting the beach, along with the entry colonnade and the verandas and open-air loggias were beautiful and distinctive architecture elements that should never have been removed. Their reconstruction would elevate the Clarendon Park Community Center to its rightful place alongside the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion and other important landmark lakefront buildings from this period.