David Bahlman’s Farewell Limerick

When Landmarks hired David Bahlman we knew
With preservation he had more than a clue
And soon we discovered
How well we were covered
With David at the helm of our crew

So boldly he directed our group
Saving buildings from Cairo to the Loop
He shortened our name
And lengthened our fame
And always kept us out of the stew

He led the battle for the hospital Cook County
Brought big guns to Great Lakes’ modernist bounty
The watchlist he started
And mischief was thwarted
At the Pickford, the Lakeshore and Point Promontory

When Sotheby’s listed the Farnsworth
David knew how much it was worth
At the auction he wondered
Would Illinois be plundered
But when the gavel came down it was all mirth

He accomplished tons with his wit and good humor
Making friends while minding gossip and rumor
Yet he got quite irate
Sued the city and state
When Soldier Field grew an outrageous tumor

To protect Chicago’s Michigan Avenue frontage
He sharpened his sword from a blunt edge
With his back to streetwall
Against towering gall
He fought those who dared take advantage

He labored long and hard as our leader
Working nights in both Berwyn and Streator
We made him President
In a move unprecedent-
ed, and he remains our Rock, our Saint Peter

While serving on numerous Boards
With mayors and governors he crossed swords
With Farnsworth afloat
He was rowing a boat
And stacking the primavera in cords

We lost some to weather and torching
Barns teepled and Sullivans scorching
So many facadomies
Like civic lobotomies
And insensitive back and front porching

In preservation you can’t win them all
You are often set up for a fall
But David’s average was high
‘Cuz the prize in his eye
Made him swing for the fences each ball

With the Board he worked toe to toeses
Judith, John, Gavin, Rolf and Pal Joeses
With a good-natured laugh
He wielded his Staff
And parted Red Seas like a Moses

For a decade he fought the good fight
Despite many a terrible fright
From teardowns for Palladians
To spaceships on stadiums
He gave it his all both day and night.

Now we bid adieu to our Hero
A preservationist without peer-o
To a New England retreat
Where he’ll put up his feet
But we’re keeping his number quite near-o


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