Preservation Efforts Recognized At Landmarks Illinois Driehaus Awards Presentation

Demecina Beehn From Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative.

Demecina Beehn From Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative.

Rebuild Foundation took home the Project of the Year Award for its Dorchester Art + Housing project. The initiative reused the townhouses of an abandoned public housing development in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, and converted a blighted block into something far different—a cultural hub focused around an active art center, along with 32 mixed-income rental units.

Dorchester representative Demecina Beehn accepted the award during a presentation last weekend at Venue One in the West Loop. Two other preservation projects were also honored by Landmarks Illinois with Driehaus Preservation Awards. They were:

Glessner House Museum received the President’s Award for Stewardship. The museum was cited for 50 years of interpreting and caring for the building legacy. That effort began in the 1960s when the Glessner House was in disrepair. A painstaking and careful preservation project turned the Henry Hobson Richardson-designed building into a gem. It’s also an ongoing effort, as the building’s parlor, guest bedroom and guest bathroom were all recently restored.

A stained-glass window in the ballroom of the renovated Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.

A stained-glass window in the ballroom of the renovated Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.

The team responsible for preserving and renovating the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel received the Driehaus Preservation Award for Rehabilitation. The 1893 Venetian Gothic building originally designed by Henry Ives Cobb underwent a meticulous renovation effort, and opened earlier this year as a 241-room boutique hotel. The CAA is truly a save effort, as it has appeared twice in the past on Landmarks Illinois’ “Most Endangered Historic Places” list.

“This has been an extraordinary year for preservation in the Chicago area,” said Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois. “Building owners and developers are recognizing that the preservation and reuse of notable architecture not only enhances the beauty of the city, but also can significantly improve the vibrancy and livability of our neighborhoods, fostering civic pride, community involvement and additional reinvestment.”

Mike Jackson - recipient of the Antunovich Leadership Award.

Mike Jackson – recipient of the Antunovich Leadership Award.

The Joe Antunovich Award for Leadership was presented to Mike Jackson of Springfield for his advocacy of historic preservation in the state. From 1983 to 2013, Jackson served in the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, including as its chief architect. Jackson provided guidance for the rehabilitation and restoration of some of Illinois’ most recognizable buildings, including the Tribune Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House, the Rookery and the Reliance Building.

Other honorees recognized at the Landmark Illinois preservation event were: Bishop Hill Heritage Association in Bishop Hill (for stewardship); Fuller Dome Home in Carbondale (for restoration); Downtown Jacksonville (for advocacy); Laurent House Foundation in Rockford (for advocacy and ADA adaptation); and, the Prairie Street Brewhouse in Rockford (for rehabilitation).

Author: Bill Motchan

Bill Motchan is a writer and photographer, and a former resident of the West Loop. He can be reached at

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