Throwback Thursday
Preservation Chicago Echos Our Laments

McCormick Place - Chicago, Illinois - July, 2009 - 004a

McCormick Place’s Lakeside Center. So very beautiful. So very endangered.

Each year the advocacy group Preservation Chicago puts out a list of buildings it considers both important to the fabric of Chicago, and also in danger of being demolished, altered beyond recognition, or otherwise threatened. At an event held yesterday at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the group released its 2016 roster.  It includes:

  • The Thompson Center (100 West Randolph Street) — The state office building is just over 30 years old, but is considered a white elephant by many, including Governor Rauner, who would like to unload the property.
  • McCormick Place Lakeside Center (2301 South Lake Shore Drive) — Built for a different era of conventions, it’s a great building, but impractical for modern events.
  • The Black and Wilson buildings at the old Children’s Memorial Hospital (700 West Fullerton Parkway) — History left behind when the hospital moved from Lincoln Park to Streeterville.
  • Washington Park National Bank (753 East 63rd Street) — Once the heart of a thriving community, the abandoned building is falling apart and isn’t even on the city’s Orange List.
  • Sears Roebuck Stores (various) — We’re supposed to feel bad for the company that turned its back on the city all those years ago and is now has one foot in the grave.  Sure, it left behind some nice early commercial architecture and fond memories of the Wish Book, but let’s see Hoffman Estates bail you out.
  • 400 Block of South Clark Street — A slice of Chicago frozen in time.  See below.
  • CTA LaSalle and Van Buren Station (121 West Van Buren Street) — As the CTA consolidates and modernizes the Loop L stations, this is one of the few original ones left.
  • Saint Adalbert Roman Catholic Church (1636 West 17th Street) — The Archdiocese of Chicago recently announced this church will close after 104 years of service.

We find the list from Preservation Chicago unusually interesting this year, because we’ve visited several of these issues recently.  Which is why to us, the P.C. list is perfect for #ThrowbakThusday.

Late last year, we asked several Chicago architects and developers about the tenuous future of the Thompson Center, and what they would do with the property.  You can read a few samples of their ideas below:

And you may have noticed that one entry on the Preservation list isn’t a building, but a block.  We discussed this block in our 2012 article Chicago’s Best Worst Block, a story which we later discussed at length of WBEZ radio, and which led to another popular article, Evocative Chicago Places.  We encourage you to read and enjoy both articles again, or for the first time.

400 block South Clark Street

The 400 block of South Clark Street. A time capsule of the worst kind.

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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