People Saving Places For People
Landmarks Illinois Preservation News
Preservation News is a monthly service Landmarks Illinois provides to its members and supporters and serves as a roundup of our latest advocacy efforts, projects and other news from around the state. JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP HERE
Preservation projects in Chicago, Millstadt, Robbins and Yorkville receive Landmarks Illinois grants
Central Park Theater, home to Landmarks Illinois grant recipient, House of Prayer. Credit: Tom Harris
Landmarks Illinois has awarded a total of $15,000 to six historic preservation projects statewide through the organization’s three grant programs: the Preservation Heritage Fund, the Barbara C. and Thomas E. Donnelley II Preservation Fund for Illinois and Landmarks Illinois’ newest grant program, the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago’s South Side. The individual matching grants range between $1,000 and $5,000 each and will be used toward preserving historic and significant places in communities throughout Illinois. Learn about the grant recipients below.


Bronzeville Community Development Partnership, Chicago
Friends of the Old Millstadt Water Tower, Millstadt
Robbins Historical Society, Robbins
Kendall County Historical Society, Yorkville


House of Prayer, Chicago


Greenstone United Methodist Church, Chicago

Landmarks Illinois helps residents in Arcola fight to save historic building slated for demolition
Landmarks Illinois is assisting local advocates in Arcola to encourage city officials to reconsider a preservation solution for a historic building on Main Street slated for demolition.

In January, the Arcola City Council voted to demolish the Metropolitan Block, an 1872 building that fronts an entire block of Main Street after a wall collapsed in 2018. Last year, a local developer secured financing – $300,000, which included $115,000 in TIF funding from the city – to make the necessary repairs to the historic building. As that deal was being finalized, another wall section collapsed and the city decided to instead pursue $95,000 in acquisition and $179,700 in demolition costs.

Landmarks Illinois believes preservation of the building remains financially viable. In addition, Landmarks Illinois notified city officials that the $179,700 TIF expenditure for demolition would be in violation of the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, a state law that prohibits TIF funds for demolition of buildings listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Metropolitan Block was determined eligible in 2020.

Efforts continue to save Colonel Wolfe School at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Landmarks Illinois is advocating alongside local residents in Urbana-Champaign to push for preservation of the historic Colonel Wolfe School. In November last year, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) listed the Colonel Wolfe School for sale. Built in 1905, the now-vacant school is the work of architect Walter Thomas Bailey, the first licensed Black architect in Illinois. UIUC accepted proposals for the purchase of the school for only one month. Despite the short timeline, Landmarks Illinois marketed the building and succeeded in generating proposals from experienced developers, which UIUC is currently reviewing. The school could decide to proceed with demolition, rather than a sale of the building, however.

Landmarks Illinois is asking for your support in helping to advocate for this historic school. Please contact the UIUC Chancellor’s office at in support of the sale and reuse of the Colonel Wolfe School.
Chicago Residents: Please voice your support for landmark designation of two historic properties
The Miracle House in Galewood.
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks meets next Thursday, February 4, to consider final landmark recommendation to the Chicago City Council for the Miracle House in Galewood and preliminary landmark recommendation of the Pentecostal Church of Holiness in North Lawndale. Landmarks Illinois is asking Chicago residents to send in an email of support for landmarking these properties to and address it to Chair Ernie Wong.

The Miracle House was constructed in 1954, designed by Belli & Belli and built as a grand prize for a raffle sponsored by the St. William Catholic parish on the city's Northwest Side. At the time, the church was fundraising to construct a new church and school campus, also designed by Belli & Belli. Landmarks Illinois assisted in the preparation of a Chicago Landmark designation report.

The Pentecostal Church of Holiness was constructed in 1931 by renowned architect Louis Guenzel. Landmarks Illinois awarded the congregation a Preservation Heritage Fund Grant in 2020 to help make priority repairs as part of its overall restoration of the entire church campus to reflect the original design. Landmarks Illinois continues to provide technical assistance to the congregation on repair needs and fundraising.

Click below to learn more about the upcoming CCL meeting and how to contact the commission.
Landmarks Illinois sets date for 50th Anniversary Celebration
Landmarks Illinois will host an hour-long, virtual fundraising event the evening of March 25 to celebrate the organization’s 50th anniversary in 2021 as well as the people who have shaped our organization and preservation throughout the state!

50Forward will include live entertainment, inspiring videos focused on our past, present and future and features of our 20 Landmarks Illinois Influencers — people who have given their time, resources and expertise to ensure places of our past remain part of our state’s future. These Influencers have each helped grow the preservation movement in Illinois and have made our organization one that is recognized not only throughout the state, but nationwide.

Get to know our Landmarks Illinois Influencers:
Event registration coming soon!
Additional Landmarks Illinois News

  • The Skyline Council of Landmarks Illinois held its annual Trivia Night virtually on January 26. A total of 20 teams competed at the event emceed by Skyline Council member Gregory Dowell. Congratulations to the winning teams: Team Naylon, 1st place; Team Bauer Latoza, 2nd place; and Team Thornton Tomasetti, 3rd place. Special thank you to Skyline Council sponsors who support Skyline Council's events. Follow Skyline Council on social media to stay up to date with upcoming projects and events.

  • Landmarks Illinois Director of Advocacy Lisa DiChiera served on Highland Park's historic preservation awards jury earlier this month. Award-winning projects, which were honored at a ceremony January 25, included the Battledeck house, which Landmarks Illinois has held a preservation easement on since 2003.
More preservation news from around the state
2013 Most Endangered Illinois Places in Illinois
Illinois Times, January 28

Crain's Chicago Business, January 27

2012 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois
Danville Commercial News, January 27

2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois (Hill Motor Sales Building)
Chicago Tribune, January 26

2009 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois
Chicago Defender, January 24

2018 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award Recipient
Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 22

2015 Legendary Landmark
Chicago reader, January 20

2019 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award Recipient
WSIL, January 14
Landmarks Illinois Annual Corporate Sponsors
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.