Rockford’s oldest schoolhouse to receive statewide preservation award
From press release
CHICAGO—Saturday, Oct. 3, the Garrison School Lofts and Town Homes will be one of nine historic sites honored by Landmarks Illinois as part of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. This 15th-annual event honors individuals, organizations and projects throughout the state that represent excellence in historic preservation.
This 1887 brick Italianate-style structure, located in the Signal Hill neighborhood, is the oldest surviving schoolhouse in Rockford. The main building was designed by local architect George Bradley, while a 1920 gymnasium was designed by Peterson & Johnson. Both structures sat vacant for 12 years before the Morrissey family purchased the complex for redevelopment in 2001.
Aware of the property’s historic importance to the community, the owners pursued and were granted listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The school and gymnasium then were carefully rehabilitated, while retaining many of their historic architectural details, which were incorporated into new residential units. The revitalization of these two buildings, plus 18 new town homes on an adjacent lot, is the first redevelopment effort in the Signal Hill neighborhood in many years.
The awards jury stated that, “the rehabilitation of this prominent corner building could serve as a symbol for broader community revitalization efforts.”
“We were extremely pleased with the quality of award submissions received this year,” said Jim Peters, president & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “The nine winners are truly representative of the most successful, innovative and inspiring preservation work in Illinois.”
Since 1994, Landmarks Illinois has been assisted by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to honor those whose works demonstrate a commitment to excellence in historic preservation and inspire others to take action to preserve, protect and promote historic resources throughout Illinois.
The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and a portion of the Trading Room from Louis Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this important part of Chicago’s built environment led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971. In addition, winners receive a $500 cash award.
The awards ceremony will be held Oct. 3, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at The Chicago Club and is open to the public. Tickets are available at $40 for members and $50 for non-members. To make a reservation, contact Landmarks Illinois at 312-922-1742 no later than Sept. 30.
Landmarks Illinois would like to thank the members of this year’s awards jury for generously donating their time and expertise: Clark Christensen, AIA Historic Resources Committee; Marty Harper, Landmarks Illinois Board of Directors; Christina Morris, National Trust for Historic Preservation – Midwest Regional Office; Anthony Rubano, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; and Jennifer Fritz-Williams, City of Elgin – Planning and Neighborhood Services.
For more information about the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards, visit www.Landmarks.org.
The other eight award winners are:
Deere & Company World Headquarters Moline
Situated on 1,400 acres of land and spanning a man-made ravine, the Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline was designed by architect Eero Saarinen and is an icon of the Modern movement. Completed in 1964, the original seven-story office complex is the first architectural design to use Cor-Ten steel as a primary building material. (Over time, Cor-Ten develops a patina of iron oxide that protects the steel members.) The surrounding landscape, designed by Hideo Sasaki & Associates, includes artwork by abstract sculptor Henry Moore. The sleek, contemporary campus quickly became a model for office complexes during the latter half of the 20th century. In 1978, the company expanded, adding a 200,000-square-foot addition by Saarinen’s successor firm, Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo & Associates. The complex has won numerous design awards and is included on the American Institute of Architects’ list of “150 Great Places in Illinois”. For 45 years, Deere & Company has maintained this groundbreaking headquarters building through continuous care and meticulous attention to detail.
Heimbach Residence Blue Island
Designed by Bertrand Goldberg in 1939, this small-scale building is an early example of the architect’s work. Commissioned by Dr. Aaron Heimbach, the house featured both residential living space and an office for the owner’s medical practice. After Dr. Heimbach’s death in 1980, subsequent owners made numerous changes to Goldberg’s design. The current owners purchased the home in 1997 and, in 2004, they embarked on a four-year, multi-phase restoration effort. Work included tuckpointing and masonry replacement, reconstruction of the second floor terrace, reglazing of over 90 windows, and a full upgrade of the house’s heating and electrical systems, which required tearing out and repouring the concrete slab throughout the entire first floor. The awards jury praised the owners, saying “the extent of the work and the visibility of this house make it a model for Blue Island preservation.” The Heimbach house is one of only six surviving residential designs by Goldberg, and is now protected by local landmark status.
Father George Lane Chicago
Father George Lane, the President and Publisher of Loyola Press and a founding member of the Holy Family Preservation Society, has been one of the most dedicated advocates for church architecture and preservation in Chicago. His 1981 publication, Chicago Churches and Synagogues, is an informative survey of Chicago area religious buildings that has become a primary resource for architects and preservationists seeking reliable and scholarly material on the subject. In 1990, it was Lane who led the effort to stave off demolition of the historic 1857 Holy Family Church and helped raise over $1 million in restoration funds before a looming deadline. His appreciation for these lovingly crafted structures and his dogged support for their care and maintenance over the decades have made Father Lane one of the best possible advocates for their continued preservation.
Overton Hygienic Building Chicago
Located within Chicago’s Black Metropolis–Bronzeville Landmark District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1922 building was designed by architect Z. Erol Smith and built using funds raised by the local African-American community. This four-story, 31,000 square-foot office building originally housed Anthony Overton’s cosmetic company and some of the first commercial real estate in the city marketed and leased exclusively to the black community. By the 1980s, the building had been abandoned, and it sat vacant and deteriorating for the next 20 years. In 2006, the Davis Group LLC began an extensive restoration of the building which included replacement of 300 terra cotta pieces and the replication of 117 wooden-sash windows. At street level, 1,300 square feet of storefront space that had been previously boarded up was rehabilitated, creating a more inviting atmosphere along the State Street corridor. The awards jury noted that “the rehabilitation of the Overton Hygienic Building, an anchor within the community, is paving the way for further revitalization within the neighborhood.”
Pacesetter Gardens Riverdale
At the time of its construction in 1960, Pacesetter Gardens signified a new era of suburban homebuilding. These attached row houses, designed by architect and developer Harry M. Quinn, received national media attention upon their completion and helped spark a new trend in home design. Pacesetter provided housing opportunities to families who were unable to afford a single-family home by offering a rent-to-own option. As early as the 1970s, however, the units fell victim to neglect at the hands of absentee landlords, eventually leading to the deterioration of both the buildings and the community as a whole. Federal, state and local grants were obtained for a neighborhood revitalization effort that would preserve the units as affordable housing while adding new retail and office buildings. In 2007, Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation broke ground and one year later the first residents were able to move in to the restored units. ADA accessible lifts and green technology were added. Hallmarks of the 1960 design that were carefully preserved include colorful aluminum siding, replicated metal window shutters, plus original doors and hardware. This contemporary model for community planning has proven more successful than its 1960s predecessors.
Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley Geneva
A gift from Norway during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, this Viking ship replica sailed across the Atlantic and served as a major attraction during the fair. For many years, the ship was in dry dock in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo but it was eventually relocated to its current site in Geneva’s Good Templar Park during the mid-1990s. After more than a century of exposure to the elements and numerous relocations, the ship was in need of a more permanent preservation solution.
In the winter of 2006-07, the Viking ship was named to both the Fox Valley and Landmarks Illinois’ statewide list of endangered historic resources. Soon afterwards, the ship was selected as one of 25 candidates to compete in the Chicagoland Partners in Preservation Grant challenge, which was co-sponsored by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The online voting process lasted four weeks and prompted a creative “Get out the Vote” campaign by this local grassroots organization.
Finishing in 2nd place, the Viking Ship stabilization effort was awarded 100% of the requested $52,000, which have been used to rebuild the structural support system, repair cracks in the wood, and provide a secure shelter and viewing platform for the vessel. The jury remarked that “without the work of the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, the fate of this rare and invaluable historic resource would still be in jeopardy.”
Pullman House Tour & Façade Assistance Program Chicago
The Historic Pullman House Tour has been a collaborative effort between the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Pullman Civic Organization for over 35 years. The annual day-long event showcases the Pullman Historic District, focusing on several homes that have been restored to reflect their historic past and emphasize the significant features of these workers’ residents. The proceeds from the Historic Pullman House Tour are used to fund a façade grant program managed by the Pullman Civic Organization’s Beman Committee. These matching grants, capped at $1,000 each, are awarded to private homeowners undertaking façade improvement projects on their Pullman homes.
Projects have included masonry restoration, reproduction and/or restoration of historic doors, windows, and details, slate roofing, and repainting with historically appropriate colors. Since the creation of the grant program in 2004, over two dozen properties have benefitted from this incentive program.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. Power House Chicago
Project of the Year
Located in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, this industrial power house was completed in 1905 as one of four main buildings designed by the architectural firm of Nimmons & Fellows for the Sears, Roebuck and Company world headquarters. This structure generated steam, electricity and compressed air, providing power to the entire 55-acre complex. Following the company’s relocation to the Sears Tower in 1973, the power house declined in use and was fully decommissioned in 2004. Developer Charles H. Shaw and the Homan Arthington Foundation partnered with the Henry Ford Learning Institute to create an adaptive use plan that converted the former power house into a state-of-the-art educational facility. As part of the rehabilitation, original machinery was documented and portions were preserved for incorporation into the classrooms and common areas. The school opened its doors to students this fall, offering a math and science based curriculum that prepares students for the future while paying homage to Chicago’s early technological success.
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