Pat Quinn, Governor

IHPA LinksSkip to Content

Historic Sites
Preservation Services
Presidential Library
Presidential Museum
Contact Us
Illinois Home

[Search Tips]

 Preservation Services  

The Preservation Services Division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency is home to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for Illinois. Each state and territory has a SHPO, an office authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The SHPO is charged with administering federal and state preservation programs and laws, including: overseeing the nomination of sites to the National Register of Historic Places; conducting surveys of historic and archaeological resources; reviewing federal and state undertakings (such as road projects) for their impact on cultural resources; working with local governments in developing local historic preservation programs in preparation for designation as Certified Local Governments; administering rehabilitation tax incentives for qualified historic buildings; providing Main Street design services; and providing education, training, and technical assistance to the public in historic preservation matters.

Illinois Historic Places Screensaver
Let your computer take you on a tour of Illinois’ historic places.
Click here to download. [Windows only]

What's New? 

May is Preservation Month

This year’s them invites everyone to See! Save! And Celebrate the places that give meaning to our lives and thereby achieve the status of history. This is a great time to take stock in your community and host an event or even attend a regular event and make sure that history is on the agenda. In this new era of social media, consider posting your images of people, places and events on any of the numerous new web places. Some of the more popular sites like Pinterest and flickr and have tags for “historic preservation.” You are also welcome to post on the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Facebook page.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will host a full day advanced workshop for National Register Historic Consultants on Thursday, May 16, 2013 - click for details

What’s new: Rockford Peacock Brewery, Illinois’ First State Tax Credit Project

Rockford Peacock Brewery,
The first phase of the renovation of the Peacock Brewery Building in Rockford has been completed. In December 2012, Gary Anderson & Assoc. Architects moved into their new offices in this complex. Gary lead the design and development team on this multi-year project. A banquet hall and a riverfront boat dock facility have also been completed. The overall program will ultimately include more office, retail and residential spaces. This is the first project in the state to qualify for the River’s Edge redevelopment tax credits. This is a pilot preservation tax incentive for historic properties in River’s Edge Redevelopment Districts in five communities -- Aurora, Elgin, East St. Louis, Peoria and Rockford. This pilot program goes from 2012 through 2016. The credit is equal to 25% of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures. The project also qualified for the federal rehabilitation tax credits and received TIF financing from the City of Rockford for the parking lot improvements.

What’s new: Concrete Restoration for Route 66 in Illinois

The Concrete Restoration for Route 66 in Illinois pavement study is now available - click here. The study brings together several components. The initial project was a survey of the early pavement segments in Illinois, with the goal of identifying components segments that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The second part of the study was a technical report on concrete repair and restoration methods, which was prepared by Thornton Tomasetti Inc. of Chicago. The first two parts of the study were funded by the National Park Service Route 66 Heritage Corridor Program. A third part of the study was petrographic analysis of early concrete segments, which was funded by Illinois IDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration. All of these materials have now been combined into one report.

The Concrete Restoration for Route 66 in Illinois report will be a useful guide to highway engineers and advocates for preservation of historic Route 66 across the United States. It can serve as a planning tool for state and local governments to promote preservation and it can be a tourist’s guide for motorists interested in the road. For the highway professional, the recommendations and specifications for road maintenance will be a useful desktop reference for a conservation-based approach to highway maintenance, repair and restoration.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency championed this study as a useful tool for other state historic preservation offices, state transportation departments, scenic byway associations and Route 66 enthusiasts as a starting point for them to protect the Route 66 heritage corridor for the enjoyment of future generations.

February, 2013

Randolph Tower, a preservation and terra cotta success story

Chicago: Randolph Tower. The restored terra cotta exterior was a major technical achievement as part of the conversion of this building into downtown housing.
The completed renovation of Randolph Tower, historically known as the Steuben Club, is a preservation success story that highlights a great team effort. A determined owner, a highly skilled design and construction team, and a city committed to reducing public hazards and restoring historic features were the core team. Added to this was the federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, which were critical to the financial package. This property had fallen into vacancy as parts of the elaborate terra cotta façade were falling into the street. After several years, a new development team got the project back on track, only to be delayed by the real estate downturn of 2008. A complicated financial package was put together while the design and construction team worked out the details. The results all came to fruition when the property retuned to active life as downtown housing in the fall of 2012.

The preservation design and technical achievement of the terra cotta restoration is particularly noteworthy. The exterior terra cotta suffered from years of deferred maintenance. A detailed examination of the entire exterior was undertaken by Wiss, Janney, Elstner, Inc., working with Central Building and Preservation as the contractor. During the course of this assessment, the original shop drawings for the terra cotta were located at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. Through a cooperative agreement, the owner and construction team funded a new scanning system for the museum so that the documents could be copied for reuse. The new scanning system will aid the museum and other for future similar efforts. Using the original terra cotta shop drawings, the Gladding McBean Company was able to accurately reproduce the ground floor terra cotta, which had been removed in 1955. The City of Chicago provided TIF financial support for the exterior terra cotta work. While the ground floor was being reconstructed, the upper stories were getting systematic upgrades through repairs, reinstallation and replacement terra cotta and composite products. More than 12,000 pieces of terra cotta were needed for this project. The completed exterior restoration has truly restored a landmark to its place in the Chicago skyline.
Chicago IL Randolph Tower, reconstructed ground floor terra cotta at the entry (left), contrasted with the entry before the recent renovation (right).

January 13, 2013

Discovering Dart

Cover of Preservation Magazine
The new issue of Preservation Magazine features a cover story on the “discovery” and historic rehabilitation of a house by Illinois architect Edward Dart. What makes this story particularly compelling is that it could have been a “tear down.” The property, in Glencoe, Illinois was purchased with this as the goal. After the new owners started hearing from local preservation advocates and others that this house had a modernist pedigree worth preserving, the listened and ultimately decided to renovate. They nominated to project for local landmark status, engaged skilled preservation consultants and now live in their renovated “mid-century” landmarks. This was a win-win for everyone. In 2012, this house received a Driehause Preservation Award from Landmarks Illinois. The property also qualified for the Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze program. The combination of advocacy, education, and incentives all worked together.


November 11, 2012

Lathrop Public Housing Project

Map of Lathrop Public Housing Project
The IHPA has been working for several years to achieve preservation of the historic Lathrop Homes in concert with HUD, CHA, Landmarks Illinois and Preservation Chicago. Consultation on the redevelopment project is required by section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The CHA/Lathrop housing development team gave a presentation to IHPA staff on November 11, 2012. Three different schemes were presented. The three schemes represent various levels of historic preservation and were developed as part of the planning effort to test several different scales of intervention and to programming demands. The number of housing units, the mix of unit types and the vehicular access/parking are all critical elements of the larger planning process. Video clips on the three schemes are available on the Lathrop Community Partners web site. The IHPA preliminary response to all the schemes was the need for more comprehensive preservation of the existing structures and landscape. Based upon this preliminary review, the development team will produce a next generation proposal for all interested parties. The Lathrop Housing Complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Feb. 21, 2012. It is one of a few public housing complexes in the nation that have been listed. The development team is charged with a redevelopment program that has rarely been attempted before in trying to mix different housing types and while adding some new community-based retails spaces. More information can be found here at the project's web site.


November 2, 2012

IHSAC recommends ten nominations to the National Register of Historic Places

The Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council (IHSAC) approved the recommendation of ten properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places during the meeting on November 2, 2012. Following the Council’s approval, the nominations will be “nominated” by the Amy Martin, the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer. The final step of the process is the review by the Keeper of the National Register. The properties will be officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places once the record of the nomination approval is published in the Federal Register. The recent agenda included nine individual buildings and one “multiple property documentation” for Ethic (European) Settlement in the city of Chicago.

Chicago IL – 42nd Precinct Police Station – 3600 N. Halsted


Chicago IL – 42nd Precinct Police Station – 3600 N. Halsted

Completed in 1907, the police station is a locally significant example of a prominent government building designed in the Classical Revival Style.
Chicago IL - Polish Roman Catholic Union – 984 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago IL - Polish Roman Catholic Union – 984 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Building is a four-story masonry commercial building constructed in 1913 with a renovated first floor from the 1930s. The building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A for Ethnic Heritage. It is locally significant for its association with Chicago’s Polish immigration settlement as defined in the Multiple Property Listing (European) Historic Settlement in the City of Chicago (1860 – 1930).
Chicago IL – Strand Hotel – 6315 – 6323 South Cottage Grove
Chicago IL – Strand Hotel – 6315 – 6323 South Cottage Grove
The Strand Hotel is a five-story masonry structure in the Classical Revival style. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Davis and Davis and completed in 1915. The building main public spaces are relatively intact despite the buildings conversion to retail on the ground floor. This building will be renovated soon for housing.
Chicago IL - The Nueville - 232 E. Walton Place
Chicago IL - The Nueville - 232 E. Walton Place
The Neuville is an eleven-story masonry apartment building located in Chicago’s “Gold Coast” neighborhood. The building was designed by architect John Fugard and completed in 1920. The building is a noteworthy example of the “luxury apartment,” common in both New York and Chicago in this era.
Chicago IL – Vesta Accumulator Company Building – 2100 S. Indiana
Chicago IL – Vesta Accumulator Company Building – 2100 S. Indiana
The Vesta Accumulator Company Building is a four-story masonry loft building designed by architect Carl Almquist and completed in 1913. The building is significant for its association with the Vesta Accumulator Company, a nationally-known manufacturer of batteries, headlamps, and other automobile-related electrical parts.
Chicago IL – Passionist Fathers Monastery - 5700 N. Harlem
Chicago IL – Passionist Fathers Monastery - 5700 N. Harlem
The Passionist Fathers Monastery is a three-story, U-shaped masonry building on a large landscaped setting in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago. The monastery was designed by architect Joseph Molitor and completed in 1910. It is a fine example of an early twentieth century monastery with Classical, Baroque and Romanesque-style detailing.
Chicago IL – Storkline Furniture Corporation Factory – 4400-4418 W. 26th St.
Chicago IL – Storkline Furniture Corporation Factory – 4400-4418 W. 26th St.
The Storkline Furniture Corporation factory is a two-and-three-story U-shaped masonry industrial building constructed in 1925 with a third-story addition in 1930s. The building was nominated for its association with Storkline Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of infant and juvenile furniture.
Pittsfield IL – Zoe Theater - 209 N. Madison St.
Pittsfield IL – Zoe Theater - 209 N. Madison St.
The Zoe Theater is a two-story masonry movie theater designed by Ted Dell and completed in 1950. The building is designed in a late Art Moderne style with an exterior of structural glass. It is an excellent example of an architectural style as well as one of the most complete structural glass facades in the state.
Sheffield IL – Village Hall - 239 S. Main Street
Sheffield IL – Village Hall - 239 S. Main Street
The Old Sheffield Village hall is a two-story masonry structure in a Classical Revival style. The building was designed by George Franklin Barber of Knoxville TN and completed in 1910. It is a rare example of a civic commission by an architect known for his residential structures and “mail order” designs.
Ethnic (European) Historic Settlement in Chicago (1860 – 1930) Multiple Property Documentation Form
This nomination summarizes the story of fifteen different European ethnic groups and the migration to and settlement in Chicago during the period from 1860 to 1930. This nomination summarizes the context for the evaluation of places associated with these various groups. The nomination of the Polish Roman Catholic Union is an example of a structure related to this historic context.

October 16, 2012

Walking Tour of Downtown Shelbyville

Anthony Rubano leads a walking tour in front of the Shelby County Courthouse.
Anthony Rubano leads a walking tour in front of the Shelby County Courthouse.
On Oct. 16, 2012, Anthony Rubano, IHPA “pied piper,” led a walking tour of downtown Shelbyville and gave a public presentation on the historic preservation tax incentives. Anthony has been leading tours in downtown Springfield for several years and has spoken on the topic of architectural walking tours at various Main Street conferences. The Shelbyville event was very well attended and represents one facet of the community’s effort to get more engaged with historic preservation. The Shelbyville National Register Historic District was designated in 1976, but there has been no active local preservation organization. Last year Shelbyville underwent an assessment program offered by Western Illinois University. One outcome of this was an increased effort in historic preservation. A local group that formed as a result of the assessment program has been very active for almost two years. The county board is now undertaking a historic rehabilitation of the courthouse and the city is working with IHPA’s local government coordinator Catherine O’Conner to get a preservation ordinance.


October 12, 2012

Urbana Preservation Coordinator Rebecca Bird receives the IAHPC achievement award for 2012

Rebecca Bird & Catherine O'Connor - IAHPC Award
Rebecca Bird, the preservation coordinator for the City of Urbana received the annual IAHPC achievement award, presented by IHPA Local Government Coordinator Catherine O’Connor. Over the last year, the Urbana preservation commission has been extremely active. A partial list of the accomplishments includes:
  • In Lincolns Shadow Podcast Tour. In Lincoln’s Shadow is a walking “pastcast” tour of Abraham Lincoln related historic sites in Urbana. These videos are also provided online.
  • http://www.urbanaillinois.us/pastcast

  • 100-Most Historic Buildings in Urbana. The Historic Preservation Commission adopted a list of the 100-most historic buildings with public input and lots of discussion about significance. Funded with an IHPA grant. Then with a follow up IHPA grant, created an online guide to all 100 properties with architectural and historical descriptions of each. http://urbanaillinois.us/residents/historic-urbana/100mostsignificant

  • Modern Urbana Homes Tour, May 5, 2012. Worked cooperatively with the University of Illinois’ architecture program to organize a Modern Urbana Homes Tour which had more than 400 participants. http://urbanaillinois.us/node/2921

  • Historic Resource Survey Digitization. Working cooperatively with the Champaign County Archives and the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, most of the 1,300+ historic resource survey forms completed for Urbana properties have been digitized and made available online through the Illinois Digital Archives. http://www.idaillinois.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/ufl


October 4, 2012

Modern era Post Office Survey

Chicago Post Office




The Chicago Post Office designed my architect Mies van der Rohe is one of many modern era post office around the country that has already been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
IHPA’s Deputy SHPO Anne Haaker is the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) lead reviewer in the development of a National Register of Historic Places multiple property document on mid-20th century postal facilities. The document contains the history of the postal service from 1940 to 1971 along with description of various types of post offices and other facilities. It has been more than thirty years since the U.S. Postal Service completed its initial survey of its historic facilities. Since that time, a whole generation of structures passed the fifty year mark, the “temporal boundary” for the National Register of Historic Places. Updating the USPS survey has been needed for quite a while. To facilitate this responsibility, the USPS hired the URS Corporation and sought assistance from NCSHPO. The NCSHPO team finished its task the first week of October. The new documents will soon be available for public usage on the USPS web site. These documents tell the story of suburbanization of the nation and construction and adaptation of postal facilities.


October 3, 2012

Will County Preservation Commission Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Will County Historic Preservation Commission LogoThe Will County Preservation Commission marked its twentieth anniversary at the commission’s regular meeting on Oct 3, 2012. Will County was the second county government in Illinois to have a historic preservation commission. The commission has been very active in survey and designation. More than 75% of the townships in the county have been surveyed. The commission has designated more than forty individual properties including barns, bridges, cemeteries, school and houses. All of this work is part of an effort to better manage the residential and commercial growth in the area. In addition to the county program, there are nine communities in the county with local preservation commissions. Congratulations to executives, staff and residents of Will County for this milestone and for their leadership in historic preservation.




September 14, 2012

Climate Change and Preservation

Crane destroying building

Last year, 220,000 tons of CO2 were avoided in Illinois because of SHPO programs.


Each year, IHPA prepares a report to the Illinois Green Governments Coordinating Council about the environmental impacts of the Agency’s operations. This year’s report featured a new calculation – the avoided impact of not constructing new buildings because historic buildings were reused. Not only were these historic buildings reused, but these were also buildings that were renovated to make them more energy efficient. Several noteworthy projects in the past year were also LEED certified, further recognition of historic preservation meeting modern green standards.

Each year, historic preservation programs utilized by IHPA promote the renovation of several historic hundred buildings across the state. Some of these properties receive the federal rehabilitation tax credits or the state property tax assessment freeze. Other properties come under our review because of other state or federal programs that are meeting their historic preservation responsibilities. The outcome of these programs results in millions of dollars of reinvestment in properties that needed substantial rehabilitation to extend their useful life. Renovation and renewal, rather than demolition and replacement yields great environmental benefits, and we have some new tools to calculate this.

In the Spring of 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a new technical study – The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse (see IHPA report from April 22, 2012). Using data from this report and estimating the total square footage of building renovation during the past year we were able to calculate the CO2 savings of “non building.” This is technically known as “avoided impact.” The CO2 was not produced because new bricks were not fired in kilns, new concrete was not manufactured from stone, and all the mobilization and effort to make a new building did not take place. In addition to the CO2 savings, a huge amount of waste was avoided because a historic building was not demolished. Furthermore, most historic buildings are sited where the infrastructure is already in place, so historic building renovation is “smart growth.” The total “avoided impact” of 220,000 tons of CO2 is the equivalent of taking 39,100 cars off the road for a year. All of these factors are why we support the preservation claim that, “the greenest building is the one that already exists.”

August 24, 2012

Rosenwald Court

Rosewald Apartments
Chicago IL : Rosenwald Apartments (Michigan Blvd Garden Apartments)

Rosenwald Court in Chicago’s South Side is now under review for the federal tax credit program. The project is named after the original developer, Julius Rosenwald, who was the president of Sears, Roebuck & Co. This 1920s apartment complex was the architectural prototype for the federal housing projects of the 1930s. The property was listed on the National Register in 1985 and received a moderate rehab back then but was closed some years ago. The property has been vacant for and was identified as a “most endangered” properties by Landmarks Illinois. Over the last decade, several different entities have attempted to put this project together. The new project represents an investment of $ 80 million and will create 331 family and senior affordable housing units.

August 2, 2012

New state laws supports school preservation

Gridley High School - El Paso, IL
El Paso – Gridley High School in El Paso, Illinois Image: Landmarks Illinois

Gov. Patrick Quinn signed Senate Bill 639 on August 2, 2012, which officially changed the state of Illinois funding priorities to allow the renovation of “aging schools.” This change is critical to historic preservation, as the previous law specifically stated that priority for state school funding was that of “replacing aging buildings.” Because of this prior law, school districts in Illinois evaluating older and historic buildings were implicated directed towards new buildings rather than rehabilitation. The change in the law doesn’t prohibit the funding of new buildings, but it levels the playing field for evaluation so that rehabilitation or new construction decisions are not made based upon funding eligibility. Landmarks Illinois and AIA Illinois were both instrumental in supporting this change to the law.

Click here to view news coverage of this story.

August 1, 2012

Morrison, Illinois is the 76th Certified Local Government

Historic Home along Lincoln Highway - Morrison, IL
One of Morrison’s noteworthy houses along the Lincoln Highway.
Source: http://www.city-data.com/picfilesv/picv11135.php
The National Park Service officially designated Morrison as Illinois’ 76 Certified Local Government (CLG) on August 1, 2012. Morrison is the county seat of Whiteside County in northwestern Illinois. The town has a great collection of 19th century houses along West Lincolnway, the path of the Lincoln Highway in the early 20th century. The town’s Main Street runs parallel to the Lincoln highway and has an very collection of mid-19th century commercial buildings along a fairly narrow street. Since 1998 the City has designated 20 local landmarks, ranging from the Annan Grist Mill on west Lincolnway to the Carlton House Museum (circa 1860) now located at 219 Main Street. Main Street business Bob Vaugh, the newest member of the Morrison Historic Commission, views the CLG status as a new opportunity to strengthen the local preservation effort. The Historic Preservation Commission and the Mayor’s office are working with IHPA to enable owners of designated historic property to take advantage of the Property Tax Assessment Freeze program for rehabilitation projects which meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. According to City Administrator Jim Wise, “The City is proud to have obtained this designation. The Certified Local Government status will help establish Morrison, Illinois as a destination for visitors and tourists. It will also provide new opportunities for economic development and further the efforts to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of our community.”

July 29, 2012

On Target – a landmark revived!

New Target Store in Carson Pirie Scott landmark store in Chicago, IL
The grand opening of the new Target store in the landmark Carson Pirie Scott store in Chicago took place on July 29, 2012. This project put a major modern retailer back in this landmark department store, one of the most important buildings ever designed by Louis Sullivan. Target is the tenant of the first and second floors in a project that actually combines eight separate buildings along State and Wabash streets. This use combines a great program with a design and preservation success story. This is the first of a new generation of center city Target stores and the first one to be located in an historic building. The Carson, Pirie Scott store is a National Historic Landmark and a designated city of Chicago landmark. The city designation includes much of the interior, with the open first floor volume accented by column capitals designed by Sullivan with his signature florid style. Inserting all the necessary modern systems into the building while not impacting these elements was a technical and design achievement.

The overall Sullivan Center complex is the largest historic tax credit project in Illinois with a budget of more $220 million. In addition to the federal historic tax credits, the project also received city TIF funding, which helped with the restoration of major exterior features of the building, including the replication of the missing cornice and ground floor cast iron restoration. The credit list for this project is extensive, with Joseph Freed and Assoc. as the developer. Harboe Architects was the lead preservation architect for the project, including the cornice construction and first floor cast iron restoration. RSP Architects are the architects for the store renovation along with the Target design team, including Mary Shaffer and Heather Sexton. Chicago Landmarks staff Cindy Roubik and Eleanor Gorski and National Park Service staff Kaaren Staveteig made insightful contributions. IHPA Chief Architect Carol Dyson lead the Illinois SHPO team in recommending the project for federal tax credit certification. Anthony Rubano, IHPA, Project Designer, contributed to an earlier stage.

July 24, 2012

Rock Island launches renovation web site.

Rock Island, IL Preservation Commission's new web site:  renovateqc.org


The Rock Island Preservation Commission and City of Rock Island, in partnership with the non-profit Rock Island Preservation Society, have established a new website, http://renovateqc.org, which informs and supports owners with appropriate maintenance and rehabilitation techniques for their historic properties. The website includes renovation tips, finding and recommending contractors, a discussion forum, calendar, resource links, and project showcases.

The idea for the website came from a discussion in late 2010 by the Rock Island Preservation Commission. “We were challenged by our youngest commissioner to create a method of useful outreach and education that is accessible to a younger audience,” said Jill Doak, a city planner who staffs the Preservation Commission. “That discussion prompted a survey of online resources for inspiration, and we landed on a website for the Des Moines Rehabbers Club, which was largely the model for RenovateQC.org. This type of website, with its local focus, is fairly unique.”

The website was created from a Certified Local Government grant to the City of Rock Island from the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the IHPA. The Total project cost was $10,546, with $7,382 provided through the grant.

July 20, 2012

Springfield – The Grill is Gone!

Ferguson Building, 6th & Monroe - Springfield, IL with old facade   Ferguson Building, 6th & Monroe - Springfield, IL with out facade  

Removing an architectural “slipcover” from a downtown building provides an opportunity for history to be revealed again. The 1960s fad to modernize commercial buildings with light weight grills and panels was one response to a market for “newness.” Some of these were quite utilitarian and only a few every rose to a level of architectural merit. The new screen applied to this structure kept the original windows in place and allowed natural light and air into the upper floor offices. This was seen as an inexpensive way to “update” the building and did leave most of the original façade intact. The building’s cornice had been removed years before this. Unfortunately, this new design also made the entire building a giant pigeon roost, which has vexed the owner and the downtown for years.

This week, the new owner completed the removal of the screen wall. The original brick, stone and windows are all there, although somewhat affected by pigeon droppings. The Ferguson building was noted as a non-contributing building in the Central Springfield Historic District when this area was added to the district in 1990. With the upper floor façade cover removed, the National Register nomination can now be amended and the building will gain its status as a historic building. This will allow the owner to claim the federal rehabilitation tax credits.

Click here to watch a time lapse video of the removal

July 13, 2012

Route 66 pavement restoration study underway

Pontiac IL - Route 66 mural at the Illinois Route 66 Museum
Pontiac IL - Route 66 mural at the Illinois Route 66 Museum

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency received a grant from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program to identify historic sections of the original Route 66 pavement and make technical recommendations for its restoration. The survey of original segments has been completed and the technical study is now underway. On July 13, 2012, IHPA Deputy SHPO Anne Haaker met with Amy Lamb Woods of Thornton Tomasetti, a Chicago-based engineering firm. Amy has extensive experience in concrete restoration and will lead the technical study on pavement restoration. The results will be published on the IHPA and NPS Route 66 web sites later this year.

June 29, 2012

IHSAC recommends five properties for the National Register

The Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council (IHSAC) approved the recommendation of five properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places during the meeting on June 29, 2012. Following the Council’s approval, the nominations will be “nominated” by the Amy Martin, the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer. The final step of the process is the review by the Keeper of the National Register. The properties will be officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places once the record of the nomination approval is published in the Federal Register. The agenda before the council contained only five properties, but they represent two very different historic districts, two very different single-family homes and one cemetery chapel with its crematory.


Macomb IL - William S. Bailey House 1887
Macomb IL - William S. Bailey House 1887

The William S. Bailey House is an excellent example of Queen Anne residential architecture in Macomb IL. Located just a few blocks off the town square, this house has been well preserved and now serves as a community meeting facility.

Chicago IL – Auburn Gresham Bungalow Historic District
Chicago IL – Auburn Gresham Bungalow Historic District

Chicago is the home of literally thousands of brick bungalow’s that occupy a great swath of the city’s west and south side. The Auburn Gresham Bungalow Historic District is one of several intact clusters of this ubiquitous building type that will be recognized in the National Register.

Chicago IL – Auburn Gresham Bungalow Historic District
Chicago IL – West Loop LaSalle Street Historic District

The LaSalle Street corridor has long been recognized as the core of the city’s financial district, but the area will now be recognized as a historic district. The street has a number of noteworthy buildings that have previously been listed on the National Register individually. The new district takes in both sides of LaSalle Street from the Chicago River bridge at the north to the Chicago Board of Trade Building at the south.

Rockford IL - Greenwood Chapel and Crematory 1891
Rockford IL - Greenwood Chapel and Crematory 1891

The Greenwood Chapel and Cemetery is an excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture using the buff-colored limestone common to northern Illinois. The structure was altered to include a crematory in the 1920s, which continues in use today.

Rockford IL - Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House - Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect 1949
Rockford IL - Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent House
Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect 1949

The Laurent House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Kenneth and Phyllis Laurent. Ken was a WWI vet who used a wheel chair. Wright’s one-story Usonian style house was adopted to provide better accessibility, a major design innovation in 1949. The Laurent’s lived in this house until 2011. The house and furnishings were subsequently purchased by a local foundation and will make it available for public tours in 2013.

June 22, 2012

Archaeology Summer Field Schools around Illinois

It’s summertime, and that means that archaeologists from around the world have summer field school programs. Illinois, a state with extremely important archaeology resources is a frequent location for these summer “digs.” This year, field school operations are underway at several state historic sites. Cahokia Mound, the World Heritage Site in Collinsville is hosting an international team from the University of Bologna in Italy. Emerald Mound, near Lebanon, Illinois, is the second only to Cahokia Mound in size and is hosting a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Indiana. Kinkaid Mound, in Massac County is hosting a team from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Through these summer field school programs professionals and students will advance their skills while adding to our collective knowledge of our past.

Archaeology student from the University of Illinois & Indiana work on site.


Emerald Mound, near Lebanon IL. An archaeology team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Indiana are part of a summer field school team investigating this important site from the Mississippian era.

June 2, 2012

A group of enthusiastic historic preservationists attended a day-long workshop on basic cemetery restoration on June 2, 2012. The goal was to learn correct and acceptable techniques in locating, elevating and resetting headstones and markers. Hal Hassen, an archaeologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Dawn Cobb, a physical anthropologist with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, began with a discussion of the Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act. This Act protects all unregistered graves, grave artifacts, and grave markers. This law offers protection of grave sites from all disturbances including, but not limited to, cultivation, excavation, vandalism, removal, defacement, or desecration (20 ILCS 3440/1) After three hours of education using the Illinois Historic Cemetery Preservation Handbook, the group reconvened after lunch at the Old Macomb Cemetery on Wigwam Hollow Road.

During the afternoon session, eleven headstones were excavated, elevated, cleaned and reset using the established techniques based on “Do no harm! The participants in this workshop are charged with educating volunteers in their respective communities to adhere to the correct methods of cemetery restoration. The two Macomb participants, Marty Fischer and Gil Belles, will be calling for volunteers to help with the restoration and preservation of the Old Macomb Cemetery. Participants came from Hanover Park, a Chicago suburb, central Illinois, and southern Illinois, including two from Macomb. A high school Girl Scout from Salem was planning her major project.

Participants expose and excavate a headstone the the Old Macomb Cemetery.
Workshop participants expose and excavate a headstone at the Old Macomb Cemetery

May 24, 2012

Park Ridge is the 75th Certified Local Government in Illinois

Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, IL
The Pickwick Theater is the most well known landmark in Park Ridge. The vaudeville and movie theater was designed by William Zook and opened in 1928. It was listed on the National Register in 1975. The theater gained national fame when movie critics Siskel and Ebert used is as the opening venue for their movie review television program.

The National Park Service officially designated Park Ridge as Illinois’ 75 Certified Local Government (CLG) on March 24, 2012. Since the Park Ridge Historic Preservation Commission was established two years ago, the group has eagerly pursued preservation activities within the community. The Commission has recognized seven local landmarks, including the Pickwick Theater Building, the Town of Maine Cemetery, the Alfonso Iannelli Home & Studio, the Helen Unseth House, the Walter Clute House, as well as two other residential homes. Additionally, the Commission has created an “honor roll” for 100-year old homes in the community, and has developed an annual historic preservation poster contest for local third graders. The Commission has also started a photo inventory of significant historic structures. On becoming Illinois’ 75th CLG, the Park Ridge HP Commission looks forward to continuing to maintain the historic integrity of Park Ridge and preserving the City's rich past.

May 21, 2012

Historic Architectural Resources – Geographic Information System

Click here to USE HARGIS

HARGIS update launched:

Screen shot of new HARGIS web site

A greatly improved and updated on-line mapping and research tool for information about the historic resources in Illinois is now available. The “soft launch” of HARGIS took place on May 14, 2012. The new system is fully available to the public, but during the “soft launch” period we are asking users to comment on the features and effectiveness of this new system. At the end of the initial use, we will be able to do some final corrections on the system operation.

What information is available online?

Data and scanned photographs and background documentation for almost 78,000 buildings, structures, objects, sites, and districts in Illinois has been logged into HARGIS. These properties were surveyed either as part of a National Register nomination, through the Illinois Historic Structures Survey, the Illinois Landmarks Survey, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Historic Bridge Survey, and the Chicago Historical Resources Survey. There are many other additional surveys that need to be added to the HARGIS database and there are many older listings where properties have changed or been demolished, which have not been updated on this system.

Special note for Archaeology

HARGIS does not identify specific known archaeological areas, which are exempt from general public access under the state Freedom of Information Act. (They may be accessed at our offices in Springfield by professionally qualified archaeologists for legitimate research purposes or by property owners.)

Special note about Chicago:

The City of Chicago online Zoning Map includes the city’s landmarks and survey information. The data on the city’s map is more recent than the data on HARGIS and is also integrated with more city information than HARGIS.

May 1, 2012

May is Preservation Month: “Discover America’s Hidden Gems

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation selects a theme for preservation month as a promotional tool for local communities and preservation organizations across the country. This year’s theme, Discover America’s Hidden Gems, invites communities to recognize special resources in their communities. Landmarks Illinois, as the state-wide advocacy organization for preservation in Illinois, has created a special Facebook page for you to reveal your own “hidden gems.” Please share your stories about “Hidden Gems” in Illinois. A “hidden gem” recommendation from the IHPA staff: The Cloud State Bank in McLeansboro IL.

Designed by the architecture firm of Reid & Reid of Evansville, Indiana, the building features elaborate The Cloud State Bank in McLeansboro IL. ornamentation and complexity beyond the confines of the florid Second Empire style it was designed in. Among the more prominent details are “blocked” or banded columns, a segmental central pediment, round-headed windows, use of red brick and white stone, richly ornamented frieze and several cornices, outward-splaying chimneys, and a Mansard roof pierced by dormers and topped by a “bull’s eye” clock tower covered with zinc shingles and crowned with wrought iron work. Inside, an ornate vault, which at one point was the only enclosed room in the entire bank, still remains. Of added importance is that the iron, tin and zinc work were executed by the company of J.B. Mesker & Son of Evansville, Indiana, whose sons later created their own companies, George L. Mesker & Company and Mesker Brothers Iron Works, and popularized galvanized sheet-metal cornices and entire building facades throughout America’s small towns, including McLeansboro. Built entirely by private funds, the building has served the public almost continuously since its completion. Few small towns in Illinois can boast of such a monumental and elegant commercial building. The Cloud State Bank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

April 22, 2012

Celebrate Earth Day – April 22nd; New evidence: Old is the New Green.

“The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Value of Building Reuse”This spring, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a major technical report on Building Reuse, which provides in-depth information on the environmental benefits of reusing existing buildings. The study, entitled “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Value of Building Reuse,” applies modern Life Cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies to this topic. The study compares the reuse of an existing building with the construction of a comparable new building for six different building types in four different weather zones. The results vary somewhat, but the overall conclusion is that it takes decades for a new building to save enough resources, particularly energy resources, to make up for the resources required to construct it in the first place. If anything, the study methodology errs on the side of new buildings, so that critics of building preservation can’t pick at the details. The historic preservation community has needed this study for years, as the topic was last explored back in 1980. Kudos to the National Trust, the Preservation Green Lab, and the consulting team for this timely and impressive report. “The greenest building really is the one that already exists!”


April 15, 2012

Preservation Tax Incentive in Illinois - 2000 - 2012 $ 2.3 Billion Dollars invested

Historic properties in Illinois received more than $ 2.3 billion dollars in reinvestment from 2000 to today for owners who utilized the federal rehabilitation tax incentives. In 2011, Illinois was first in the nation with more than $ 365 million in certified rehabilitation expenditures. This investment was stimulated by $ 460 millions in federal tax credits. Based upon recognized national models, this investment created more than 37,000 jobs. The attached report highlights some of the projects from around the state. Historic Rehabilitation projects in Illinois 2000 - 2012

April 15, 2012

Federal Tax Credit Projects in Illinois 2000 – 2012

The Richardson Building in Rockford - a tax credit success story

The Richardson Building in Rockford - a tax credit success story



Richardson Building Project
201 W. State Street
Rockford Illinois

Project Cost $ 1,000,000, completed 2006

Roll over the picture to the left to view the results of the restoration.

The striking transformation of the Richardson Building provides visual proof of the impact of the tax credit program in stimulating reinvestment and improving buildings and places. This downtown Rockford Building received an “architectural slipcover” in the 1960s, during an era in which old buildings were seen as something to “be covered up” rather than celebrated. Using a historic preservation approach, the original quality of this building has been revealed and enhanced. The upper floor includes new residential units while the first floor continues to serve modern retail uses.

Why Preserve? 

It is reasonable to ask, "Why preserve?" when faced with the decision of what to do with an older property. The thought of starting fresh when faced with the problems of an older home or building is attractive in our modern society. The downside of this tendency, however, is that we lose part of our history every time we raze an old building. Without the old structures, cities take on a different character; neighborhoods lose their identity; we more easily forget those who went before us. Each time an old building is torn down, one of our cultural roots let go.

When we preserve and restore our historic resources-buildings, sites, structures, objects, and landscapes-we gain a lot:

We maintain our community's appearance and character, which gives it an identity and a personality all its own.

We give our children a glimpse of the architecture of their forefathers and mothers.

We save the artistic workmanship so evident in older structures.

We "recycle" structures into other uses: how many other purposes can you think of for old train stations?

Preservation Services Links

Preservation Services Home
National Register Listing
State/Federal Project Review Info
Cemetery Preservation
Architectural Services
Community Preservation Services
Main Street Design
Tax Incentives
Education and Publications
Preservation Services Plan 2012-2016
Preservation Services Plan 20052009
Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council


Contact Us
Custom Search

Copyright © 2007 Agency Contact Us | About | Illinois Privacy Information | Web Accessibility | Fiscal