Viewing all posts from the Pilsen neighborhood

2018 Retrospective for Chicago Historic Preservation

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1501 W 18th St. Part of Preliminary Recommendation for Pilsen District [John Morris/Chicago Patterns]

In years past, our yearly retrospective of architectural preservation in Chicago consisted of mostly losses with a few small wins. In 2018, however, a few significant victories changed the tone of how the city’s historic resources are maintained and preserved.

Some of same trends from years past continued in 2018: the loss of late 19th century Italianate homes and flats in near-NW side neighborhoods and Victorian cottages in places like Lakeview and Lincoln Park. Some of these erasures are stories of displacement, as long-term residents in older buildings are pushed out as developers erect expensive single-family homes and 2/3 flats in the place of existing buildings.

But on the plus side, two themes emerged in 2018: new landmarks and community action.

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Wins and Losses for Chicago Preservation in 2017

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1436 W. Berwyn faced demo, but now owned by preservation-minded buyer [John Morris/Chicago Patterns]

2017 brought the usual bag of heartbreaking losses in Chicago’s housing and building stock, but there are several notable wins too. In our annual retrospective of historic preservation, many themes of years past continue: 19th-century Italianate homes and flats in hot neighborhoods are replaced with new construction, one-of-a-kind landmarks in or near the city center are lost in the name of progress, and demolition by neglect continues.

As the race to capitalize on this current real estate cycle continues, landmark status is often the only effective tool to preserve historically important structures. Preservation-minded real estate buyers also continue to affect real change in preservation efforts.

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Dual Landmark Status Not Enough to Save Building in Pilsen

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1144 18th St. [John Morris/Chicago Patterns]

On 18th Street, an 1885 Italianate mixed-use building will soon make way for a new residential building. Marketed as teardown with the infamous phrase “the value is in the land,” the new owner’s intent is revealed in a pending demolition permit.

What makes the loss of the structure more acute is its status on two historic surveys. It is listed as contributing in the Pilsen Historic District on the National Register and is Orange-rated on the Chicago Historic Resources survey.

Sadly, neither designation carries enough weight to prevent demolition.

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Balcony (Rose Window), St. Adalbert

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Soon to close “due to extensive repairs needed and associated high costs.”

Photographed during Open House Chicago 2015. Glad I got pictures.

Noah Vaughn