Neighbors Launch Preservation Push in Bronzeville: Save Our Stable!1 comment
As we reported in September, a long-vacant building designed by Holabird and Roche in Bronzeville is facing imminent demolition. On Tuesday night, a group of stakeholders and neighbors gathered to discuss the history of the building and chart out a vision for its rehabilitation.
The permit was issued in late October; time is quickly running out. But with the help of Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Illinois, the ad-hoc group has a plan and an online petition to save it.
Sharing History and Ideas for Former Stable Building
Dozens of concerned neighbors and stakeholders gathered at the home of Bernard Loyd of Urban Juncture. After initial introductions, attendees shared stories and memories of Boston Store stable building, as well as discussed its history.
Attendees like Aki Antonia, an artist, musician, historian, and resident, who’s lived on the same block as the Boston Store building since the 1960s, shared memories about the building and its role in the community.
Originally built as a warehouse and stables for the Boston Store, the imposing brick structure found new use as a residential building after being sold off by the Boston Store. But for nearly 50 years, 4340 S. Vernon was home to an Elks Lodge.
At the Tuesday meeting, longtime residents recalled live performances by B.B. King at the Elks Lodge, and the spillover activity from the famed, but sadly long gone Checkerboard Lounge, less than a block away from the lodge.
Ideas for the Future and a Race Against the Clock
In addition to personal stories and neighborhood history, residents shared ideas on how the building could be adapted for future use. Ideas ranged from a multipurpose community building to a more common use: residential.
The current owners of the building have indicated they are open to selling the building to a preservation-minded developer with a track record of rehabilitating historic structures. But with the issuance of the demolition permit and green fencing already up, time may be quickly running out.
The Plan: Save Our Stable!
The result of the meeting is a three-part plan with a defined timetable:
- Secure a near-term moratorium–at least 90 days–before demolition to allow for alternatives
- Develop a community-driven vision for revitalization of the Stable, recognizing that there are likely to be multiple viable options for preservation
- Recruit another owner/team to acquire the Stable property and lead the revitalization effort
Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Illinois are currently reaching out to preservation-minded developers and seeking alternate options to save the building.
Sign the Petition
The group has launched an online petition, and will meet with Ald. Pat Dowell to express their support for the building’s preservation.
- Facing Demolition: The Last Remaining Boston Store Stable
- 43rd Street Bronzeville Walking Tour, Part 3: The Forum
The National Coalition of Blacks For Reparations In America© N’COBRA© Chicago Chapter Midwest Region© would be willing support this historic project. Please contact Mr. Kamm Howard, N’COBRA© Chicago at ncobrachicago©gmail.com
Venita K. Bennett-