Crowdsourcing Chicago Landmark Districts

The map of the city of Chicago is flecked with various landmark districts. From historic Astor Street in the Gold Coast to the city’s newest landmark districts in Rogers Park and Streeterville.

But no matter how deserving, not everything that every Chicago citizen thinks is historic ends up on the table in front of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

So one of our readers put together his own list of Chicago places he thinks should be landmark districts. He writes,

“It is of great concern to me that such a great city, with such an urban, and historic core (the type of which many others envy these days) has lost so much to urban renewal, and yet many neighborhoods which have survived this period are subject to a larger degree of tear-downs than most other historic American Cities. To me, a good metaphor for what has happened in recent years is that if these neighborhoods are kind of like some animal which spent so much time trying to fight off a large monster (urban renewal), yet in the end, they slowly “die”, or lose their architectural character from a “disease” from within (tear downs).”

Click the map below to explore his suggestions visually, or keep reading to find his explanations below.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at Monday, 30 June, 2014 @ 6.20.13 am PDT

River North Merchandise Market District— It has one oft the largest collection of post fire commercial and industrial structures in the city. It has been recently subject to condo, and office development, which while bringing more energy into the area, has sadly resulted in tear downs of a number of historic structures. Landmarking this area would keep intact an entire neighborhood from a period of the city’s history from which so much from has been lost.

Sheffield District— According to Preservation Chicago, this neighborhood has the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the Midwest, yet has been subject to a large number of tear downs. A Landmark District would allow for a significant part of this wonderful Lincoln park community to retain it’s historic character, while not falling to the same fate as other parts of Lincoln Park.

Pulaski Park District— The neighborhood, just outside of Polonia Triangle, Chicago’s “Polish Downtown” has been a polish ethnic enclave, containing many largely intact blocks of gable-roofed post-fire working-class apartments and cottages.

Wicker Park Northeast of Milwaukee/Bucktown— This area, east of Milwaukee Avenue contains a large number of historic townhouses and apartments, which are more working class than those in the landmarked parts of Wicker Park. This area has been subject to a huge number of tear downs since 2000, yet there is still a large enough, and (in parts) concentrated enough number of workman’s cottages left in the area for a landmark district.

West Town— This Areas of West Town contains an area of a few blocks of fully intact brick Victorian townhouses, and workman’s cottages in an area surrounded by increasing tear downs and gentrification.

East Village Extension— These two blocks are of similar historical content to he rest of the east village, and ought to be saved before it’s too late.


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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