The efforts of Illinois historic preservation advocates to preserve and promote the state’s heritage paid off in 2018 with 30 properties being added to the National Register of Historic Places, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today.
The places recognized are scattered across the state and include a nationally significant African American art center, a former village hall and fire station, and nine historic districts that combined include more than 2,800 significant properties.
Places are added to the register by the National Park Service based on recommendations from the State Historic Preservation Office, a division of the IDNR. The 30 places were added throughout 2018.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of properties that merit special attention and preservation. Every Illinois county has at least one property or historic district listed in the National Register. Together, they represent a cross section of the Prairie State’s history from its early settlement to the mid-20th century.
In general, properties have to be more than 50 years old to be eligible for the National Register. A listing places no obligations on private property owners but does make properties eligible for some financial incentives.
The 2018 additions to the National Register from Illinois were:
COOK AND COLLAR COUNTIES
Buffalo Creek Bridge, Long Grove, Lake County. Listed June 11, 2018. Buffalo Creek Bridge is important as an example of a Pony Pratt Truss Bridge. Truss bridges are those that support loads through a series of steel elements connected into triangular units. The Buffalo Creek Bridge is further defined as a “Half-Hip Pin-connected Pony Pratt Truss Bridge.” The Pratt design is identified by the short vertical beams with supporting diagonal beams; a “pony” is characterized by steel elements supporting the load from above without a top connection between the bridge’s left and right sides; Pin-connected denotes to the connection of the truss elements – these are connected via pins rather than rivets; and the ‘halfhip’’ design refers to the end posts of the bridge, which are angled such that they extend approximately a half-panel in width. The bridge, constructed in 1906, was identified by the Illinois Department of Transportation as being one of only 2 remaining Steel Pratt Pony Truss bridges in the Chicago Metro area and one of only 33 remaining in Illinois. The majority of the extant bridges are no longer in service, and few, if any, have an original pedestrian walkway feature.
Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District, Chicago, Cook County. Listed December 18, 2018. The 26-mile-long Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District is nationally significant as the first comprehensive system of greenways for a major city in the United States. Beginning in 1869, the system was created in response to the belief that it would not only foster healthful, accessible and livable neighborhoods, but would also spur residential real estate development in what was then the outskirts of the city. Because of Chicago’s prominence, its design was seminal in the creation of park and boulevard arrangements in cities nationwide. Several of the country’s most noteworthy early landscape practitioners created the large connected system of artistically-designed parks, boulevards and squares on a scale unlike any other landscape endeavor in Chicago. The architecture along the system represents the stylistic development of numerous building types constructed in Chicago from the system’s inception to the early 1940s, with the great majority of those completed in the last decade of the 19th century and in the first two decades of the 20th century.
Corron Farm, Campton Township, Kane County. Listed May 21, 2018. Corron Farm is important as a good example of a mid-19th century farmstead during the early settlement period of northeastern Illinois. Settled in 1835 by Robert Corron, one of the first non-natives to settle Campton Township and the first to cultivate the property’s land, Corron Farm is representative of the 19th and 20th century farms that once composed the landscape but are now rapidly disappearing with the expansion of suburban communities. The farmhouse, built between 1850 and 1854 by Robert Corron, exemplifies elements of the Early Classical Revival and Italianate styles, both nationally popular at the time.
Hermosa Bungalow Historic District Chicago, Cook County. Listed December 31, 2018. During the first three decades of the 20th century, Chicago’s population doubled as an additional 1.5 million residents settled into the city. During this same period, tens of thousands of one-and-one-half story brick bungalows were built in the city’s outlying neighborhoods. Built together, many times in entire blocks to form a veritable belt around the center city, the unprecedented form of the Chicago bungalow created an entirely novel form of Chicago urbanism. In 2004, a Multiple Property Cover Document establishing the significance of Chicago bungalows was approved by the National Park Service. Since then, 12 bungalow historic districts in Chicago have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The most recent, the Hermosa Bungalow Historic District, is located on Chicago’s northwest side. Developed in the 1920s, the Hermosa neighborhood offered working class families the opportunity to own solid, thoughtfully designed homes and build communities within a quiet residential setting. Hermosa also afforded architects and developers the chance to promote the attributes of the functioning, well-built, yet affordable Chicago bungalow.
Himmelfarb House and Studio, Winfield, DuPage County. Listed October 4, 2018. The Himmelfarb House and Studio is locally significant for its association with acclaimed artist Sam Himmelfarb (1904-1976). Himmelfarb, whose paintings have been exhibited in dozens of prominent museums, galleries and private collections, contributed to the Modern Art movement in mid20th Illinois, with many solo exhibitions, group shows, and awards to his credit. Sam and his wife Eleanor (1910-2009) designed and built this remarkably intact residence in 1942. After his death, Eleanor, a much-lauded local art instructor, continued to live in and work from the building for another three decades.
Larkin Home for Children, Elgin, Kane County
Listed December 31, 2018. The Larkin Home for Children is an excellent and well-preserved example of a Progressive Era children’s home that represented a distinct alternative to the government-operated orphanages of the 19th century. Operated by a private organization of the same name, the Larkin Home for Children played a major role in the welfare of Elgin’s children since the late 19th century. Initially established as the Elgin Children’s Home Society in 1898, the Larkin Home for Children was founded when the society outgrew its original donated home and raised money for the construction of a larger residence on the outskirts of the city to house their ever-growing numbers of charges. Their mission, sustained through private donations, was not to function merely as an orphanage but to provide a temporary or longer-term stable home-like environment for children in their care. Historic buildings on the three-plus acre property include the main residence building (1912), designed in the Georgian Revival Style by local architect Georgie Morris, a small hospital (1925-1926) to the rear of the main residence, and a three-vehicle garage completed in 1964. The small size and domestic setting of the Larkin Home for Children reflected Progressive Era tenets about childcare and created an intimate and nurturing environment for its charges that was believed to be more beneficial in comparison to the previous century’s traditional institutional orphanages. The organization eventually expanded its mission, offering a group home and mental health services for both children and adults. Renamed the Larkin Center, it served as such until it closed its doors in 2013. The Larkin Home for Children is a City of Elgin local landmark.
Promontory Point, Chicago, Cook County
Listed January 18, 2018. Originally conceived by renowned architect and planner Daniel Hudson Burnham (1846-1912), Promontory Point, a man-made peninsula in Burnham Park, was finally completed during the mid-to-late 1930s, with federal assistance from the Works Progress Administration. Plans for the Prairie-style landscape and French eclectic style stone pavilion were produced respectively by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and architect Emanuel V. Buchsbaum, employees of the newly created Chicago Park District. Though the United States Army commandeered a large area of Promontory Point for a Nike radar installation during the Cold War, the site was returned to public use in the 1970s.
South Side Community Art Center, Chicago, Cook County. Listed September 13, 2018. As one of only three free-standing art centers established for African Americans through the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, the South Side Community Art Center is a rare example of government support for African American interests in the 1930s and 40s. Responding to the proposal for a community art center, Chicago’s African American leaders developed a fundraising and publicity campaign; located, purchased and renovated the 1892 building, and engaged artists, writers and performers to teach classes, exhibit or present their work. A unique aspect of the art center was its dual role of showcasing established African American artists and cultivating those who would become nationally known. Acclaimed artists associated with the center include poet Gwendolyn Brooks, photographer Gordon Parks, and sculptor Richard Hunt. Although the center would face financial challenges over the years, the doors were never closed. The South Side Community Art Center is nationally significant as the only WPA Federal Art Project community art center for African Americans to survive to the present day. It is also the only one of approximately 100 Federal Art Project art centers still in its original building and operating under its original ownership, charter and mission.
West Pullman Elementary School, Chicago, Cook County. Listed August 27, 2018. The West Pullman Elementary School is locally significant as an excellent example of a Romanesque Revival and Classical Revival style school built in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Additionally, the school building’s expansion over time, specifically between the late-19th and early-20th centuries, mirrors the growth and development of Chicago’s far south side community of West Pullman. Located on the far south side in Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood, the school was constructed in three phases; each designed by architects employed by the Chicago Board of Education. The initial building, constructed in 1894 as an eight-room school was designed by W. August Fielder in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The building’s 1900 addition, which included a twin eight-room school, was carried out by William Bryce Mundie, and featured Classical Revival elements. The final portion of the school was constructed in 1923 and designed by John C. Christensen. The three-story addition included additional classroom space, as well as extracurricular support space like a gymnasium and an auditorium. Christensen’s design continued elements of both earlier portions of the building and implemented Classical Revival features like symmetry, decorative brickwork, and a terra cotta cornice complementing the building’s earlier portions.
Best Building, Rock Island, Rock Island County. Listed July 17, 2018. The Best Building, located at 1701-1707 Second Avenue in downtown Rock Island, is locally significant as an early representative example of an early large-scale commercial building constructed of reinforced concrete. The Best Building was a leader in the new wave of large new downtown buildings. Constructed in 1908, the building was designed by Clausen & Clausen, the leading architectural firm of Davenport, Iowa, and employs sophisticated design that demonstrates a modern articulation of the building structure. At the time of completion, the Best Building was one of several buildings that transcended the low commercial blocks in the adjacent cities of Rock Island and Moline in Illinois and Davenport in Iowa. Today, the Best Building retains its stature as a major commercial block in what is now called the Quad Cities, and is the second-tallest building in Rock Island.
Bloomington High School, Bloomington, McLean County. Listed April 19, 2018. Built to provide modern and comprehensive educational facilities for Bloomington teenagers, the Bloomington High School building exemplifies, in the historic context of Bloomington, Progressive Era educational ideas and strategies for the education of high-school students in the early 20th century. Architecturally, the building is a large and impressive local example of a Collegiate Gothic-style educational building designed by Arthur L. Pillsbury and expanded by Schaeffer & Hooten, and it reflects the style’s popularity for secondary school buildings during the early 20th century. The building’s symmetry, overall rectilinear forms, concentration of Gothic-style ornament at entrances and along roof parapets, and large window openings all exemplify the Collegiate Gothic style as used for high school buildings. It was largely built between 1914 and 1917, with subsequent additions in the 1930s and 1970s.
Burgess-Osborne Memorial Auditorium, Mattoon, Coles County. Listed March 5, 2018. The Burgess-Osborne Memorial Auditorium, constructed in 1953, has served as Mattoon’s community center and entertainment venue throughout its existence. The auditorium was a gift to the City of Mattoon from Emily Burgess-Osborne to be used by the public for educational, religious and recreational purposes. It is the only public building in Mattoon possessing Mid-century Modern characteristics, exhibited through its asymmetrical plan, roof pitches, dominant entrance pylon and masonry texturing/corbeling projections.
Dr. William Burns House, Polo, Ogle County. Listed August 27, 2018. Dr. William Wallace Burns, who lived here between 1854 and 1868, was the first medical doctor in Polo. As an allopathic physician, Burns was trained to treat any number of illnesses from a wide variety of patients on a given day. During the Civil War, Burns received an appointment from Governor Yates which made him eligible to serve as a surgeon. Burns returned to Polo after the war and his practice flourished. He later built a more ostentatious house, which has since been demolished. His modest first house — the first brick home built In Polo — is also significant as a good example of gable-front folk architecture.
Children’s Village of the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School, Normal, McLean County, Listed May 21, 2018.The Children’s Village of the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School is significant for picturesque Tudor Revival cottage architecture. The identical cottages in the Children’s Village, with play and living areas, were originally designed by State Architect C. Herrick Hammond to respond to the needs of 3- to 8-year-old children who were orphaned or children whose parents couldn’t afford their care. The architecture of the Children’s Village, completed in 1931, expresses a playfulness that was inviting and comforting and provided a homelike setting for children from all over Illinois. It is an intact example of the cottage plan for institutional housing that was developed in the early years of the 20th century.
Downtown Peoria Historic District, Peoria, Peoria County. Listed December 10, 2018
The Downtown Peoria Historic District is significant as Peoria’s historic commercial center, and for its collection of significant architectural styles and building types. Peoria’s abundance of natural resources and location on the Illinois River allowed the city to flourish into a commercial center with access to important markets across the United States. By the turn of the century, large retail department stores, including the Schipper and Block and P.A. Bergner department stores, both native to Peoria, located in the downtown, offering a myriad of goods rivaled only by Chicago and St. Louis. The vibrancy of the downtown continued during the late 1950s through the mid-1970s — even after the construction of Peoria’s major outlying shopping centers and departure of big retail – as evidenced by the International Style, Modern, and Brutalist versions of commercial and governmental buildings constructed in the district.
First National Bank Building, Danville, Vermilion County. Listed September 13, 2018. The First National Bank Building in Danville is an excellent local example of the Classical Revival style. Twelve stories in height and clad completely with terra-cotta on its two primary facades, the building towers over Danville’s skyline. The building, completed in 1918, was designed by the Chicago architecture firm of Mundie and Jensen. The First National Bank Building features a rusticated lower story of terra-cotta and polished granite. Decorations of medallions, cartouche, molded panels, and organic motifs are used subtly on the building’s east and south primary facades.
Glen Carbon Village Hall and Firehouse, Glen Carbon, Madison County. Listed April 19, 2018. The Glen Carbon Village Hall and Firehouse, constructed in 1910, was the community’s first purpose-built government building. When first constructed, the fire hall was located in the lower level and the upper level was used for meetings and conducting Village business. Located on one of the highest points in Glen Carbon, the bell on top of the Village Hall, could be heard for miles. The bell was used to alert the firemen, in an emergency at the coal mines, and to toll a death knell for the funeral of a firefighter. Over time the building housed the village offices, library, fire department, and served as the meeting place of the Village Board, library, and fire department. It served as the village hall until 1954, when the village government moved its offices to the Glen Carbon Grade School.
Hampshire Colony Congregational Church Princeton, Bureau County. Listed August 28, 2018. The Hampshire Colony Congregational Church, built in 1906, is a noteworthy example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, identified by its rounded arches at the entrances and windows, hipped roof with side gables, and square towers. The church is also significant for its construction with concrete blocks that resembled stone. Unlike the concrete masonry units used in modern construction, these blocks could be molded in different designs. This type of material had been gaining in popularity nationwide when construction on the Princeton church began in 1905. The church was dedicated in 1906; its clock tower was completed in 1911.
Hotel Belleville, Belleville, St. Clair County. Listed June 20, 2018. Hotel Belleville was constructed between 1930 and 1931 to provide Belleville with a modern hostelry capable of representing an upward moving city. The building’s role within the commercial history of Belleville continued for three decades, providing essential office and meeting space for local and national organizations, a permanent home for the Chamber of Commerce and other civic groups, dining and entertaining space, as well as spaces for merchants, on top of the hundredplus “modern” hotel rooms for guests. Designed by the St. Louis architectural firm Manske and Bartling, the Art Deco-style building remained in service until 1961, after which a period of decline in hotels was ushered in by the more popular motel model.
House at 502 S.E. 4th, Fairfield, Wayne County. Listed April 19, 2018. The house at 502 S.E. 4th in Fairfield, which was constructed in the mid-1870s, is a good example of an Italianate House with Folk Victorian details. Italianate characteristics of the house include its pyramidal hip roof with moderate pitch and flat top, wide trim board, wide and boxed overhanging eaves, and wide band board at the eave-roof junction. While its square footprint, hipped roof, and chamfered porch supports with brackets are features are found on both Italianate and Folk Victorian subtypes, the house’s high-pitched gables with porthole windows would be more characteristic of the Folk Victorian style.
Jacksonville Downtown Historic District, Jacksonville, Morgan County. Listed September 14, 2018. The Jacksonville Downtown Historic District is significant as a physical representation of the community’s commercial and business center. The downtown endures as the heart of local commerce and community culture, with an intact collection of commercial buildings representing architectural styles from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. Most of the buildings within the district have Italianate and High Victorian Eclectic influences, but there are also examples of Romanesque Revival, Commercial Style, Classical Revival, and Modernism.
Kankakee Downtown Historic District, Kankakee, Kankakee County. Listed June 11, 2018. The Kankakee Downtown Historic District is significant as an example of a small, Midwestern urbanized settlement. The cross streets of Schuyler Avenue and Court Street form the district’s main historical commercial corridor, which is comprised of a cohesive group of buildings that represent the historical development of the area, and include not only commercial structures, but civic and religious as well. The district is a mix of styles dominated by Italianate, Art Deco and Classical Revival, but also including Greek Revival, Romanesque Revival, and Post-War and Mid-Century Modern.
Methodist Episcopal Church, Salem, Marion County. Listed August 28, 2018. The Methodist Episcopal Church in Salem, completed in 1907, is important for both architecture and art. Designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by the architectural firm of Charles Henry and Son from Akron, Ohio, the church was completed in 1907. A sensitive addition mimicking the historic architectural style was built in 1960. The interior remodeling of the sanctuary in 1968 was completed under the direction of church member Vi Mueller. Mueller, an interior decorator for Stix, Baer & Fuller, transformed the church’s interior reusing materials to create architectural features including ceilings of paper-pulp egg cartons; colonnettes of cardboard carpet tubes topped with finials of croquet balls painted to resemble old, gold colored distressed marble; and decorative sconces of downspouts and sheet metal. Linoleum tiles that lined the staircase and the risers were also used for the horizontal bands of ellipses representing the Christian fish symbol. The colorful alcove was created using 15,000 pieces of wood dipped in 89 different hues. The cross in the alcove, an impressive 18 feet high and 12 feet wide, was constructed of gold colored wires stretched vertically and horizontally between lighted plastic blocks. Mueller’s ingenuity made it possible to create an extraordinary artistic display at little expense and has gained significance in its own right.
Old Fire Station, Chester, Randolph County. Listed June 15, 2018. The Old Fire Station, built in 1935, represents efforts by the City of Chester to provide modern and efficient fire protection services to their community. Designed by Theo F. Lacey, the city engineer, it was built with assistance from one of the new federal work relief programs under the New Deal established in the 1930s by the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to combat the immense unemployment during the Great Depression. For 26 years, it served as the fire station to the community until 1961, when a new fire station was constructed as part of the city hall building.
Princeton North and South Main Street Historic Districts, Princeton, Bureau County
Listed January 18, 2018. Princeton’s downtown has two historic commercial centers, one along South Main Street adjacent to Courthouse Square, and the other being the commercial district along North Main Street near the city’s railroad station. Both exemplify of Princeton’s evolution over time as a vibrant local commercial center in Bureau County in the 19th and 20th centuries. South Main Street Historic District developed as Princeton’s earliest downtown. It is comprised of the County Courthouse and Courthouse Square, the buildings that surround the square, and two commercial blocks of South Main Street that were built during this downtown area’s historic period of development.
The Princeton North Main Street Historic District developed as Princeton’s second downtown, built in response to the 1854 coming of the railroad to Princeton and the construction of a train depot at this location. It is comprised of the commercial buildings that developed in close proximity to the train station and roughly three blocks of largely commercial buildings. The districts are intact collections of commercial buildings that represent architectural styles commonly found in small-town American towns and cities during the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries.
Rochelle Downtown Historic District, Rochelle, Ogle County. Listed December 31, 2018. The Rochelle Downtown Historic District in Rochelle, Ogle County, is locally significant as a physical exemplification of Rochelle’s evolution over time as a vibrant local commercial and governmental center in Ogle County in the 19th and 20th centuries. The district is the historic downtown and center of commerce and government for Rochelle, comprised of commercial buildings, the City and Town Hall, and the former Rochelle Fire Department. Rochelle’s historic United States Post Office building as well as the Masonic Temple, a social building of importance historically to the city, are also located in the district. The buildings exemplify types and styles commonly found in small-town American towns and cities. Dominant styles include the Italianate and Vernacular Commercial, but there are examples of the Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, Romanesque Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Classical Revival, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, and Colonial Revival. The district continues to have active commercial, governmental, transportation and social uses to the present day.
St. Thomas Catholic High School for Boys, Rockford, Winnebago County. Listed October 4, 2018. St. Thomas Catholic High School for Boys was designed in 1929 by local architect Wybe Jelles Van der Meer, who combined features from High Victorian, Tudor, and Collegiate Gothic to create a harmonious blend of Gothic Revival genres. One of the most distinctive exterior features is the polychrome masonry, a characteristic more commonly found on buildings from an earlier time period. Van der Meer’s design for St. Thomas features alternating rows of red brick and smooth cut limestone, which create a distinctive banding pattern at the base of the building. Castellated features on the original front entry were attributes often used in Collegiate Gothic designs, a popular form for larger secondary schools and colleges during this time period. The steep pitched roofline, Tudor arch doorways, and stepped parapet gables give the building an English Tudor feel, a fitting blend for this building that once served as both an educational and religious building.
Christian F. Weinrich House, Chester, Randolph County. Listed June 15, 2018. The Christian F. Weinrich House is important as an example of a Folk Victorian dwelling with Gothic Revival influences. Built ca. 1873, its Folk Victorian and Gothic Revival influences are illustrated through its materials, massing, form and decorative details. Folk Victorian dwellings were constructed with a simple form that allowed for homeowners and builders to copy elements from different architectural styles. The Gothic Revival influence in the Weinrich house is represented by the steeply pitched roof with cross gables and the centered gable, cross brackets, vertical clapboard and stickwork detailing.
Frederick Weistar House, Chester, Randolph County. Listed June 15, 2018. The Frederick Weistar House, locally known as the Stone Cottage, is an architecturally significant example of a mid-19th century two-door facade building type, constructed ca. 1859 for Frederick Weistar. The house is a well-preserved example of vernacular domestic architecture of the 1850s era, illustrated through both original exterior and interior details found throughout this dwelling. The two-door facade is believed to have been the influence of German building traditions adapted to a regional area in Illinois.