Saved!

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!

  • 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.
  • St. Boniface Church: Noble and Chestnut – 11 year battle to save church ends in a compromise The Battle to preserve the St. Boniface church campus began in earnest on June 1, 1999 when community residents, former parishioners and st_bonified-church-exteriorpreservationists gathered for a candle light vigil in front of the long-abandoned structures. Organized jointly by the East Village Association and former parishioner and neighbor Kevin Stawiarski, the event was spurred by the announcement that the buildings were to be demolished. Although the efforts to preserve St. Boniface predated the creation ofPreservation Chicago, it was here that Jonathan Fine, then president of the East Village Association, met Mike Moran. They together would ultimately cofound Preservation Chicago in 2001 based on this preservation effort. The Romanesque Revival style church, school, and rectory were built between 1896 and1904 and designed by architect Henry J. Schlacks, who gained the sobriquet "the master of Catholic church architecture in Chicago." St. Boniface, named for the patron saint of Germany, was established for German immigrants in 1865. After The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, St. Boniface provided refuge for the great masses that were displaced.
  • Chicago Printed String Building: Logan and Elston – Pulled from the jaws of the wrecker ball On Election morning March 16, 2004, bulldozers began to illegally tear chicago-printed-string-company-buildinginto the back of the Orange Rated Chicago Printed String Company Building located at the corner of Logan Boulevard and Elston Avenue. But for the quick action of preservation activist Ward Miller, who happened to be driving by at the time, the building would have been destroyed. And, but for the leadership of then First Ward Alderman Manny Flores, the building would never have been adaptively converted to a retail development. Constructed in phases between 1928 and 1941, the Chicago Printed String Company Building was designed by architect Alfred Alschuler for a company that manufactured colorful cotton tying tape used for bakery packages and candy boxes. Alschuler was one of the most prominent architects in Chicago whose works include the London Guarantee Building, K.A.M. Synagogue and the Goldblatt Brothers Department Store, all designated Chicago landmarks. The two-story building is a fusion of both Art Deco and Stripped Classical architecture rendered in grey-colored brick, limestone and featuring distinctive bandings of green Teco terra cotta. By early 2004, the building had long been vacant and boarded up. The then-owners of the building had planned for a drive-through banking facility on the site but, because the building was rated Orange, by city law there would have been a 90-day hold before any demolition commenced.
  • Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church: 41st and King Dr. – Too much history to squander This stunning church, constructed in 1890 by architect John Turner Long, had hosted many African-metropolitan-apostolistic-community-churchAmerican historic events, including early meetings led by A. Philip Randolph to organize the Pullman Porters Union. Famous visitors to the church have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall. Adding to its rich history is the fact that Metropolitan (Apostolic) Community Church has a commanding presence on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, with a powerful Romanesque design and distinctive reddish-brown stonework. On August 25, 2001, Preservation Chicago board member Mike Moran learned from a former parishioner that the church would soon be demolished. Preservation Chicago immediately contacted all relevant city officials asking for their cooperation in efforts to save the church. Preservation Chicago also contacted several longtime members of the church and suggested that a group be formed that would oppose demolition. In a meeting held in early September of 2001, six key persons came together and declared themselves the "Coalition to Save the Met," a group that would combine the efforts of current church members, former church members, and citywide preservationists.
  • East Village Landmark District – An end to the destruction of a community On January 11, 2006, after more than 2 years of study, 18 official meetingeast-villages, and countless hours of sometimes contentious community debate, the City Council granted Landmark designation to the last remaining historic blocks left in the East Village. Preservation Chicago listed the East Village neighborhood on its 7 Most Threatened Buildings list for 2003, bringing attention to an issue that had been building for years, but had reached a boiling point in early 2003. Dating from before the Great Fire of 1871, East Village, located on Chicago's near west side, served as a port of entry for the waves of European immigrants who flooded in to Chicago during the late 19th century and early 20th Centuries. Hispanics and Polish refugees of WWII followed mid-century. Unfortunately, the neighborhood began a slow decline that reached its nadir in the 1970's as businesses closed up, crime flourished, and residents fled to the suburbs.
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