CHICAGO (CBS) — A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house, a suburban school built in the 1860s and a Chicago government building are some of the 12 structures listed in the Landmarks Illinois 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places report.
It’s the 25th year the organization has been listing public and private buildings that are at risk of demolition but are considered architecturally and historically significant. According to Landmarks Illinois, the buildings are threatened for various factors: Lack of maintenance, insufficient funds for upkeep and deterioration.
“A troubling trend with this year’s Most Endangered sites is the number of historic places that face demolition despite strong and active community support for preservation,” said Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “People all over Illinois are working to save special places that help tell the unique stories and history of their neighborhoods despite the many challenges that stand in their way.”
The James L. Thompson Center has been on the Landmarks Illinois list for three years in a row. In April, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation clearing the way for the sale of the iconic Helmut Jahn-designed building. It’s been reported the sale could yield as much as $300 million dollars.
In the suburbs, the Booth Cottage, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is currently for sale in Glencoe. It’s a one-story home built in 1931 for the Booth family, prominent members of the Glencoe community. The preservation organization said because the small house is on a big lot, it may be at risk for being a tear-down for the development of a larger building.
St. Mary’s School in Galena is part of the National Register Historic District, but according to Landmarks Illinois the school, built in 1865, has “suffered from neglect under private ownership since the 1970s.” Last year, an ordinance was floated by the City of Galena to protect endangered structures but it didn’t pass.
The Rock Island County Courthouse is not new to the Landmarks Illinois list. Built between 1895 and 1857, it was designed by Fredrick C. Gunn and Louis Curtis. The Rock Island County Board and Building Commission are in agreement to have the building demolished. LI argued the move does not comply with state preservation law and is suing with five other plaintiffs to keep the building standing.
The organization has an interactive map listing the endangered edifices throughout the state.
“These repeat listings demonstrate Landmarks Illinois’ dedicated and ongoing efforts to help communities across the state find solutions to preserve our historic places,” said McDonald.