Partners in Preservation

No picture today because I can’t post all 25.

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where I serve as a Trustee, just announced Partners in Preservation, a project that will give away $1 million to historic landmarks in the Chicago area. The project allows YOU to participate by voting for your favorite site from some 25 eligible sites in the Greater Chicago area, simply by logging on to In true Chicago tradtion, you can vote often – every day from now until October 10. The top vote-getter is guaranteed of funding, but a blue-ribbon committee (where I also serve) will decide if other sites get funding and how much.

Now, the rest of today’s blog will consist of disclaimers of connections that I have to the various sites. As I joked with several people, I am only pushing for the 21 sites I am personally connected with. I just pulled that number out of the air, so let’s go through the list and see what my conflicts are:

ABLA Animal Sculptures – I have been working with the Chicago Public Housing Museum and Driehaus Foundation to put together a museum in the surviving Jane Addams Federal housing building from the 1930s – these Edgar Miller sculptures were part of the same site, and are now in a conservator’s studio not far from my house.

Bohemian National Cemetery – I actually can’t think of a direct connection here, although the project is to restore the prominent water tower, and SAIC did a Water Tower class with Neal Vogel and Rolf Achilles last year.

Chicago Cultural Center – The only downtown site, I go there always and Neal and Rolf could tell you all about the stained glass. SAIC students also worked closely with Barbara Koenen and Tim Samuelson of the City last Spring, who office in the building.

Fountain of Time – Bill Latoza brought students to work on this in past years. and the contact is our SAIC Historic Preservation alum Michael Fus. I always bring tours there too.

Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, Aurora. Again, an SAIC HPRES alum is the contact (Jan Mangers) and I have visited it – cool site in a cool, underappreciated historic city.

Great Lakes Naval Station Building 42 – I am also on the Board of Landmarks Illinois, which has been instrumental in convincing the Navy to save this Modernist treasure – I hope to make the open house on the 15th/

Grosse Pointe Lighthouse, Evanston – Charlie Pipal’s Physical Documentation class did HABS drawings of this site in 2003.

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral – Nice to see Father John Adamcio this morning – Holy Trinity asked me to speak at their centennial back in 2003.

Homan Square Power Plant – I did walk through the whole Sears complex back in the early 90s with Charles Shaw and Jim Peters’ Planning Studio class focused on Lawndale two years ago.

Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory – I gave a little speech in this building over a decade ago with the Governor’s wife (Edgar) and I lobbied the Park District in 1994 on behalf of this building with one of the Puerto Rican museum activists. I was also walking my dog in the park the day after the arson fire that nearly destroyed it in 1992.

Independence Park Bungalow – At least one SAIC alum works at the Chicago Bungalow Association and several more have interned there, although I was not aware of this particular building.

International Museum of Surgical Science – I worked very hard to landmark this building around 1990 – even met Fred Countiss, who grew up there. Also wrote up the museum for the Michelin Guide in 1996.

On Leong Merchants Association Building/Pui Tak – no direct connection, despite all of my China work – we did have a student exhibit in the Chinatown Library two years ago, and I am sure I testified in favor of its designation as a Chicago Landmark.

Peabody Estate, Oak Brook – Neal Vogel led another great Restoration Methods class there this summer, and I spoke there a few years back thanks to Charlie Pipal.

Petersen Farmstead, McHenry – No connection, although I have heard of it.

Pleasant Home, Oak Park. Lots here. Charlie Pipal’s class did HABS drawings here in 2001, I have served on the Restoration Committee for five years or more, I speak AT LEAST once a year, have done student and faculty retreats, workshops and parties there. It is also one of two finalist within two blocks of my house.

Quinn Chapel AME. Charlie’s class did HABS drawings here in 2000 and won a Peterson Prize (Honorable Mention) for them, as well as an honor from the church itself. Have toured it a few times, most recently at Landmarks Illinois’ Annual Meeting last year.

Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest. Our faculty member Anne Sullivan is in charge of the restoration here and there are numerous SAIC connections to this artists’ retreat.

Robie House, Chicago. Oh great, only one of the most important buildings IN THE WORLD. I saw it out of my dormitory window for a year while in college, have led numerous tours there, have had many students do internships there and our own Don Kalec is on the restoration committee. I’m a member.

Roger Brown Study Collection. Yow. I am on the Roger Brown Study Collection Steering Committee, I have students interning there or doing projects there almost every single semester, our students did a restoration of the storefront in the summer of 2006, our alum Lisa Stone runs the place and I have brought probably seven different classes there, exhibited work there when it was 1926 gallery, organized an undergraduate show there in 2004, have had several student receptions there, several SAIC faculty have worked on aspects of the restoration – the list goes on. My favorite thing is the medicine cabinet, followed closely by the dishwasher.

South Side Community Arts Center – Felicity had a piece in the Urban Renewal show there this past Spring (see blog on April 4, 2007) and I have visited several times. I also vividly remember the Chicago Landmarks designation hearing 15 years ago when several women recalled Eleanor Roosevelt showing up for the dedication in 1940.

Spring Grove Fish Hatchery. No connection. Looking forward to learning about this one.

Unity Temple, Oak Park. Another long list, where to start? I’ve spoken here, brought many, many tour groups here, attended loads of events and concerts from my sister’s wedding to Ed Lifson and Tim Samuelson’s part of the Breaking the Box series this past year. My kids have spent more time here than at any other site on the list – including Alexandra’s 7th birthday last year – her idea, complete with Froebel block workshop. Oh, and it is ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BUILDINGS IN THE WORLD. You can sit in there forever and never get bored – that is living architecture, man, it doesn’t stop for a second. Geoff Baer interviewed me there a year or two ago for a Channel 11 piece on churches in Chicago. It is the closest to my house and I see it daily.

Viking Ship, Geneva. I remember this thing from its Lincoln Park days, and Charlie Pipal did a cool seminar a year ago on the Columbian Exposition and several students documented this 1890s replica. Very cool. It was also on the Landmarks Illinois’ 10 Most Endangered List this year.

Von Steuben High School. No connection, except I saw this building tons over the last quarter century because a close friend from 1984 to the present lives on the block south. SAIC facutly Bill Latoza is probably working on it because he does so much with CPS.

So, that’s it. I guess my number was wrong, it looks like I have some connection to 23 of the 25. It would probably only take a phone call to find the connection to the other two. Vote for your favorite every day. I will!


Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: