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Architecture Group Lists Most Endangered Sites In Chicago

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One of the red brick office and warehouse buildings in the Central Manufacturing District in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. (Credit: Preservation Chicago)

One of the red brick office and warehouse buildings in the Central Manufacturing District in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. (Credit: Preservation Chicago)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – An architectural preservation group has released its annual list of most endangered buildings in Chicago, including a pair of shuttered power plants and a turn-of-the century industrial park.

Preservation Chicago wants to preserve the buildings as examples of the city’s diverse and historic architecture.

This year’s “Chicago Seven” includes the 285-acre Central Manufacturing District at 1800 W. Pershing Rd., a group of red brick office and warehouse buildings created in 1905 as the nation’s first planned office park.

Built just north of the Union Stockyards in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, the buildings were home to marquee companies like Westinghouse, Wrigley, and Goodyear. One of the buildings also served as headquarters for the Chicago Public Schools from the late 1970s until 2000.

Preservation Chicago President Ward Miller said it would be an ideal location for the $320 million digital manufacturing lab announced by President Barack Obama last week

“It’s going to Goose Island. Why not put it in the Central Manufacturing District buildings, where you’ve got as much space as you could ever want, and more? And close to railroads, and close to highways,” Miller said.

The group also wants to preserve the old Fisk and Crawford coal-fired power stations – in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods – as industrial museums.

“Some type of use here that would integrate the riverfront sites, or the waterfront sites for both of these buildings; and a community use where the public would come in and see these giant turbine engines that really changed Chicago,” Miller said.

Also on their list:

• Francis Scott Key School, at 517 N. Parkside Ave., which was designed by architect Dwight Perkins, and was one of the nearly 50 public schools closed last year;
• St. Adalbert Catholic Church, at 1636 W. 17th St., a Renaissance Revival cathedral with twin 185-foot towers, designed by architect Henry Schlacks, and the tallest structure in the Pilsen neighborhood;
• the Madison/Wabash CTA station, at 2 N. Wabash Ave., the last original “L” station house on the east leg of the Loop;
• the Guyon Hotel, at 4000 W. Washington Blvd., a red brick and terra cotta Moorish Revival-style hotel in the West Garfield Park neighborhood;
• and the Jeffrey Theater, at 1952 E. 71st St., a neo-classical theater designed by architect William Doerr, built in 1923 in the heart of the South Shore neighborhood, but was mostly demolished in the 1990s, except for the marquee and lobby area, and now houses only a bank.

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