Big Grant to Help Conserve Adler & Sullivan’s Charnley-Persky House

Charnley-Persky House  - Chicago, Illinois - May, 2008 - 012a

It’s the ultimate in name-dropping.  The Charnley-Persky House, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan when Frank Lloyd Wright was still getting them coffee (apprentice… intern… whatever) and formerly owned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, has a brighter future this morning.  The Society of Architectural Historians, which currently occupies the Gold Coast manse, has received a $123,000 grant to help keep the place up.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Charnley-Persky House, it’s one of the centerpieces of the architectural collection that makes up the Astor Street Historic District.  It’s a wonderful neighborhood to wander through to admire the architecture.  But for a bonus, swing by just before Halloween and Christmas not only to admire the buildings, but also the decorations.

Read more about the grant in the press release below.

Society of Architectural Historians Announces Major Grant for Charnley-Persky House Conservation Management Plan

SAH to hire Harboe Architects, PC to develop a multi-year plan for the care and conservation of Charnley-Persky House in Chicago

(CHICAGO) – The Society of Architectural Historians has received a $123,000 grant from the Alphawood Foundation to hire Harboe Architects to develop a conservation management plan for Charnley-Persky House. Designed by Adler and Sullivan in 1891–1892 when Frank Lloyd Wright was an apprentice in their office, Charnley-Persky House will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its design in 2016 with a new conservation management plan that will assess the current physical state of the structure, identify potential problem areas, and establish conservation priorities for the continued health of the building. Charnley-Persky House serves as the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians, an international not-for-profit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide.

As an advocate for heritage conservation, SAH is extremely grateful to the Alphawood Foundation for giving the organization the ability to care for this Chicago and National Historic Landmark. SAH President Kenneth Breisch commented, “SAH has been a good steward of Charnley-Persky House for the 21 years that the house has been in our hands, but it has long been our dream to develop a conservation management plan for the house so that we can anticipate its weaknesses before they become emergencies. Now we can proactively care for this remarkable house.”

Work on the conservational management plan will begin in February 2016 with a final plan anticipated in February 2017. SAH also hopes to produce a series of short, educational videos to document some of the material and structural testing called for in the plan. The hope is that the videos will be used as an informational resource by heritage conservation professors and students as well as architects, building owners and conservators.

Executive Director Pauline Saliga said, “When Seymour Persky donated funds to purchase the house in 1995, SAH made the commitment to conserve the house to the highest standards possible and to keep it open to the public. We are pleased that the Alphawood Foundation and Harboe Architects will help us honor that commitment for the benefit of current and future generations who continue to learn and be inspired by this house.”

Location: 1365 North Astor Street, Gold Coast

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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