Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award

Top Illinois Preservation Projects Receive Award
Seated (l-r) Kay Smith, Eleanor Macey, Ben Hammond, Irma Hammond; standing (l-r) Charles Gamm, Mayor Ken Smith, Damian Macey, Pat McCammon, and James Peters, President Landmarks Illinois.Chicago, Ill. — Nine preservation awards – from across Illinois – were given on October 23rd by Landmarks Illinois, a statewide group that advocates for the protection of historic properties.
The winners included a local historical society, a college course, an individual, and six buildings that were brought back to life. “These projects are truly the best of the best,” said Jim Peters, President of Landmarks Illinois. “They show how historic buildings can be saved in a variety of economically successful ways—by owners and communities committed to protecting their architectural heritage.”
The nine winners received a Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award—which included $500 and a distinctive trophy—at a special ceremony at the historic Chicago Club on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago that attracted 200 people. The winners were:
  • The Buckingham Building, Chicago
The adaptive use of this former office building into student residences for Columbia College was cited by the awards jury for its positive impact on a neglected corner of the city’s South Loop. The 27-story building, which had been vacant for five years, was completed rehabilitated, including its Art Deco-style exterior and historic lobby.
  • Chautauqua Pavilion, Pana
This century-old, circular structure was built as part of the educational summer camp movement known as “Chautauqua”. Its year-long restoration, which included the reconstruction of three performance areas, “has brought back a special community gathering place,” the awards jury said. “We love that this great Illinois building is being actively used again.” Pana is located in Christian County, about 30 miles south of Decatur.
  • Harlan Hall, Marshall
Once threatened with demolition for a parking lot, this 140-year-old former horse stable/opera house has been converted into a community center. After being purchased by the City in 1999, the building was largely rehabilitated through local fundraising efforts and over 25,000 volunteer hours. Marshall is the easternmost Illinois community on the historic National Road (U.S. 40).
  • Haskell-Barker-Atwater Buildings, Chicago
These buildings, among the oldest in Chicago’s Loop, were built shortly after the Great Fire of 1871. After being threatened with demolition, a new owner restored them as part of the restoration of the Sullivan Center, using historic photographs and analysis. Among the discoveries, under layers of alterations, was long-lost, cast-iron ornament by famed architect Louis Sullivan, a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Carolyn Oxtoby, Springfield
Called “the patron saint of downtown Springfield,” Carolyn Oxtoby has been a leading preservationist in the capital city for over 30 years. She has purchased and restored dozens of historic structures, while advocating for the preservation of countless others. “Carolyn has accomplished great things and is an example to all of us,” the awards jury noted. “Many buildings, many battles – nothing seems to have daunted her.”
  • Polo Historical Society, Polo
Local historical societies have contributed greatly to the historic preservation movement in Illinois. Few, though, have accomplished as much as this group in the tiny northwestern Illinois town of Polo. The society has purchased and restored a half dozen structures, including a house where Abraham Lincoln stayed in 1856 and a century-old lime kiln. “They are an inspiration for communities and historical societies of all sizes,” the awards jury noted.
  • SIU Preservation Summer, Carbondale
This summer course at Southern Illinois University has exposed graduate and undergraduate students to hands-on history and/or preservation projects in the region. Projects have ranged from field research of Lewis and Clark’s travels in southern Illinois and oral histories of blues musicians to the hands-on rehabilitation of a shotgun style house in Cairo. “This is what preservation education should be,” the awards jury noted. “The students—and their community partners—are out in the field, educating people, restoring buildings, and listening.”
  • St. John’s Church, Quincy
This 1852 church was struck by lighting in August 2002, causing a fire that destroyed the roof and much of the interior, but left the stone walls intact. Instead of constructing a new building, the congregation decided to rebuild the historic structure. All but one of the stained-glass windows were saved and reinstalled. “It was a very difficult situation,” the awards jury noted, “but they handled it beautifully.”
  • University Commons/South Water Market, Chicago
South Water Market was the city’s main produce distribution market from 1925 until 2000, when the six buildings were left nearly vacant and decaying. Most developers proposed wholesale clearance of the site, but the winning bidder converted the three-story, terra cotta-clad structures into more than 925 new residential units. Original features—including loading docks and steel canopies—were retained, while parking was placed underground. After listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the project utilized a local property tax freeze program for historic properties.
About the Awards. This is the 16th year Landmarks Illinois has presented these awards, aided by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The awards are designed to honor those whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and trading room from the Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this structure led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971.
This year’s awards jury was: Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office, St. Louis; Jean Follett, Historic Preservation Consultant, Hinsdale; Thom Greene, Greene & Proppe Design, Chicago; Marty Harper, Leo Burnett, Chicago; Karla Kaulfuss, Historic Preservation Planner, Geneva; and Hank Norris, Brinkoetter & Associates Realtors, Decatur.
Photographs of Award Winners. For more information about the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards including images of the winning projects, visit www.Landmarks.org.
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Landmarks Illinois is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation. Since its founding in 1971, the 2,500-member statewide organization has saved countless architectural and historic treasures throughout Illinois. Landmarks Illinois’ mission today focuses on saving buildings, facilitating preservation, and educating the public through innovative programs and promotion. For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.