While Illinois hasn’t yet reached Atlanta or Los Angeles-levels of disregard for its built history, fewer and fewer people seem to understand the value of the past. For this reason, the work of Preservation Illinois is becoming more and more important.
The group has put out its annual list of the state’s Most Endangered Buildings. And while there is the usual smattering of buildings and boulevard that nobody’s ever heard of, not surprisingly, The Thompson Center is at the top of the list. (Text by Landmarks Illinois.)
The Thompson Center, Chicago
The state-owned and neglected 1985, Helmut Jahn-designed building in the heart of Chicago’s Loop is the best-known icon of Post-Modern architecture in Illinois, but it is being prepared for sale as a redevelopment site and should be marketed as a reuse opportunity. This is the fourth year since 2017 that Landmarks Illinois has included this site on its Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.
Klas Restaurant, Cicero
The 99-year-old, now-vacant commercial building, which served for decades as an anchor to Cicero’s Cermak Road commercial district and is important for its cultural history to the Chicagoland Czech community, is currently for sale and unprotected.
Illinois Terminal Interurban Station, Decatur
The 1931 former rail station, most recently in use as a church, is being vacated and offered for sale. Many residents are concerned with the deterioration and loss of community services provided at this neighborhood landmark.
Broadview Hotel, East Saint Louis
A redevelopment plan to convert the 1926 hotel building into 110 affordable senior housing units will fail without the Illinois legislature passing an extension of the River Edge Redevelopment Zone Historic Tax Credit, scheduled to expire at the end of this year. There is active legislation, SB0157, under consideration to extend this historic tax credit for an additional five years.
Scott Foresman Headquarters, Glenview
The textbook company’s former headquarters, built in 1966 and an award-winning Midcentury Modern design of architecture firm Perkins & Will, is now for sale, unprotected and being marketed as a residential redevelopment site.
Havana Water Tower, Havana
Built in 1889, this community-identified symbol of Havana is threatened by the deterioration of the brick base, metal water tank and surrounding retaining wall while the city struggles to find revenue sources for critical repairs.
Joliet Steel Mill Main Office Building, Joliet
The office building constructed in 1891 and located on the closed Joliet Steel site, has sat vacant since the 1980s. Current owner U.S. Steel has been unwilling to stabilize the structure or sell it separately from the rest of the site to enable a potential rehabilitation and reuse.
The Green Book sites, statewide
Landmarks Illinois and partners at Route History in Springfield are working to document and preserve the stories and remaining sites associated with the Green Book. The Green Book was a travel guide published between the late 1930s and 1960s when segregation and Jim Crow laws made it necessary to keep a list of places that provided safe services and accommodations for African American travelers.