David Bahlman, President of Landmarks Illinois, says that the annual list one of the most effective ways to bring the plight of these sites to a higher level of public awareness.
The organization has issued a top ten list since 1995, identifying over 120 sites of architectural and historical significance that are threatened by neglect or redevelopment. Twelve of these have been torn down.
The two Chicago landmarks are the Lakeshore Athletic Club, which closed in 2005 and is about to be turned into a condominium complex; and Lathrop Homes, a Chicago Public Housing Authority complex built in the 1930s, soon to be torn down to make way for mixed-income apartments. A Viking ship, which sailed to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair, and was kept at Lincoln Park Zoo until 1994 (when it was moved to Geneva, Illinois) is also on this year’s list.
Other Illinois landmarks on the list include:
- Barat College’s Sacred Heart Chapel (Lake Forest)
- Broadwell Tavern (Pleasant Plains – Sangamon County)
- Cedar Court (Park Ridge)
- Duncan Manor (Towanda – McLean County)
- Germania Hall (Freeport)
- Longfellow Elementary School (Rock Island)
- Robinson Auditorium Gymnasium (Robinson)
In addition to publishing the annual list of endangered historic places, Landmarks Illinois maintains two “watch lists” – one for the Chicagoland area, and one for the state. The web site also includes a section devoted to Preservation Resources, which provides links to historic preservation projects by category, studies, reports, grants, and even job opportunities in the field.