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!

  • 441 Surf – The final straw that rescued 3 historic blocks of SE Lakeview Although redevelopment had already begun in Lakeview by the mid-441-surf1990’s, it seemed that the densely-developed blocks of Surf and Pine Grove east of Broadway would be spared the tear-down frenzy of the mid-2000's. And then, at a South East Lake View Neighbors community meeting in April of 2006, it was announcement that the stately Queen Anne home at 441 Surf was in the crosshairs. Once demolished, it was to be replaced by a 12-unit condo complex. 441 Surf was the oldest building and only single-family home left in the immediate area. Furthermore, the surrounding historical blocks had remained perfectly intact, seemingly impervious to the bulldozer. Because 441 Surf was rated Orange, the 90-day Demolition Delay ordinance was triggered. But unfortunately, 441 Surf did not meet the criteria for an individual landmark designation. A plan had to be enacted – and fast. What it took started with Laura Marier, a longtime resident of Lake View who also was on the board of Preservation Chicago and SELVN.
  • Scherer Building: 1201 N. State – Preservation Chicago’s First Triumph In 1886, pharmacist Andrew Scherer acted as the developer of a stunning building at the northeast corner of State and Division Streets, which would stand at the gateway to the brand-new Gold Coast. The battle to preserve this important corner building would be Preservation Chicago’s first battle and its first success. Designed by architects Frommann and Jepsen, the Scherer Building was scherer-buildingconstructed in a Queen Anne style with a beautiful copper corner turret. Housed on the building’s first floor, the Scherer Pharmacy served Chicago’s elite and ultimately became the longest operating pharmacy in the city prior to its closure in 1943. In 2001, coinciding with the birth of Preservation Chicago, the organization learned that a plan for a new CVS pharmacy would demolish this and two adjacent historic buildings on the site. Although told by city officials that the demolition plan was unstoppable, the group forged ahead making the Scherer Building its first major preservation effort as a formal organization.
  • Ukrainian Village Landmark District Extension – Three times the charm It took three different designations over the course of 5 years, but now the vast majority of Ukrainian Village is a protected historic landmark districtukrainian-village. As is often the case, the creation of this landmark district was prompted by numerous teardowns that threatened the architectural character of the neighborhood. Former Thirty Second Ward Alderman Ted Matlak held two well-attended community meetings in 2000 to discuss the idea of landmarking the entire neighborhood. After gauging community support and assessing the area most vulnerable to demolition, the blocks bounded by Damen to Leavitt and Haddon to Cortez were designated a landmark district in December of 2002. Unfortunately, in 2004, when more brick cottages were demolished, Alderman Matlak supported the extension of the district to encompass the 2000 through 2300 blocks of West Walton, doubling the size of the original district. This second extension became law in 2005.
  • Newport Landmark District – 11th hour land swap saved historic streetscape Tipped off to the impending demolition of 823 W. Newport in the newport_lgLakeview neighborhood, Preservation Chicagopartnered with surrounding residents to organize a Stop the Demolition campaign of the stately 1890's Victorian three-flat. Unlike other Lakeview blocks, many of which had already been marred by inappropriate development, this particular stretch of Newport had remained architecturally pristine. However, it had become clear to the residents of the block that once one demolition was allowed to occur, more demolitions would follow.Preservation Chicago advised that, irrespective of the outcome of the battle to preserve 823 W. Newport, it was imperative that the rest of the block be protected from future demolitions. To that end, Preservation Chicago, the local community group Newport Neighbors, and others who lived on the street worked together to inform surrounding property owners about the benefits of creating a landmark district. Alderman Tom Tunney (44th) supported the community’s desire for a landmark district and this ground-breaking neighborhood preservation effort resulted in Preliminary Landmark Designation being conferred on January 8, 2004.
  • St. Gelasius Church: 64th and Woodlawn – No more vacant lots! In July of 2003 utility workers, thwarted from shutting off the utilities by an industrious nun who refused them access, gave Woodlawn residents st-glasiustheir first clue that the demolition of St. Gelasius Church was imminent. The church's architect, Henry J. Schlacks, was well known to Preservation Chicago because he had also designed St. Boniface Church, which the organization was also battling to preserve. Because St. Gelasius, built in 1923, was rated Orange, questions arose as to why a public notice of its demolition was not posted on the city web site, as required by law. Citing irregularities in the permit application, the city immediately shut down the demolition process. Following that action, an awareness campaign to stop the demolition began when community activists Todd and Jenny Martin organized their neighbors, who did not relish having another vacant lot in their Woodlawn neighborhood. In late August of 2003, a moving and powerful rally was held on the steps of St. Gelasius Church.
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