Popular Vote winner On Leong Merchant Association/Pui-Tak Center, Chinatown
November 14, 2007

2007 Partners in Preservation: Chicagoland

In 2007, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation selected twenty-five sites of historical, cultural and aesthetic significance in Chicagoland as candidates for the Partners in Preservation program.

For a period of five weeks, you had the opportunity to cast one vote each day online for the sites that you care about, with the winning site, the On Leong Merchant Association/Pui-Tak Center, guaranteed funding from a $1 million preservation fund.

American Express, the National Trust and an Advisory Committee comprised of local Chicagoland dignitaries have reviewed your votes, along with each site’s monetary needs, to determine how best to distribute the $1 million in preservation grants.

Grants were calculated according to the financial support required to fulfill preservation and restoration projects at the chosen sites. Not all sites received funding.

Participating Places

Bohemian National Cemetery
5255 North Pulaski Road, Chicago

Planned in 1877 by the Czech community, the Bohemian National Cemetery is a 122-acre garden located on Chicago’s north side. The cemetery is the final resting place for over 114,000 people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, and is still accepting burials. Its extraordinary statuary, fascinating buildings, shade trees and elaborate flower plantings make it a peaceful neighborhood park and outdoor museum.

Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall
23 East Downer Place, Aurora

Funded by “popular subscription” to honor Civil War Veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall (GAR) has continuously served this purpose since its completion in 1878. Now a widely recognized local landmark, the GAR was threatened with demolition in the early 1960s. Public outcry saved the building then, and the City of Aurora is committed to restoring the building as a local museum that will house many of the original artifacts used by the GAR.

Great Lakes Naval Station, Building 42, Hostess House
Hostess House, Building 42, Great Lakes Naval Station, Great Lakes

The Hostess House, designed in 1942 by Gordon Bunshaft, is one of the New York architect’s earliest works in the United States. The building played a historic role in the training of Naval recruits in World War II and served as a meeting place for tens of thousands of recruits, their families and guests. Once threatened with demolition by the Navy, the Partners in Preservation grant allowed Building 42 to be preserved as an important element of our country’s Modern architectural heritage and Naval history.

Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral
1121 N. Leavitt Street, Chicago

An architectural gem and Chicago landmark, Holy Trinity was designed by architect Louis Sullivan and constructed with funds from Czar Nicholas II to serve Chicago’s Russian Orthodox community. It currently serves as a place of worship for 185 parish families of Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians. The grant money received from Partners in Preservation helped repair the roofing problems and to restore damage to the exterior of the building. Roofing problems and deferred maintenance had damaged much of the decorative sheet metal ornamentation on the exterior of Holy Trinity and caused substantial water damage to the delicate painted and stenciled surfaces of the Cathedral’s interior.

Homan Square Power House
931 South Homan Ave, Chicago

The Power House was completed in 1905 as part of the Sears, Roebuck & Company world headquarters designed by the Chicago firm Nimmons & Fellows. Today, the Power House is part of the award-winning Homan Square redevelopment project and serves the community as the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center and the new Henry Ford Power House High School.

Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory
3015 West Division Street, Chicago

Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory was built in 1896 and designed by architects Fromman & Jebsen. Jens Jensen, a renowned Chicago landscape architect, used the building as his office and headquarters for many years. The Chicago Park District and the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture (IPRAC) have undertaken a major restoration of the building and grounds for a Puerto Rican cultural/arts center that will serve the residents of Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

On Leong Merchant Association Building/ Pui-Tak Center
2212-2220 S. Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

Winner of the popular vote! Pui Tak Center, located in Chicago’s world-renowned Chinatown, is a church-based community center offering social services to recent Chinese immigrants. The Pui Tak Center is housed in Chinatown’s only historic landmark building – originally known as the On Leong Merchant Association building – recognized for its colorful and exquisite terra cotta detailing and pagoda-style roof. The center offers English classes and adult tutoring courses, youth activities, family literacy classes, music programs and computer courses to over 2500 new immigrants annually.

Peabody Estate at Mayslake
1717 W. 31st Street, Oak Brook

In 1919, Benjamin Marshall constructed the Mayslake Peabody mansion for coal baron F. S. Peabody. Subsequent uses and modification, plus standard wear and tear, had obscured many of the elaborate and distinctive finishes. Grant money received from Partners in Preservation helped the Peabody Estate repair and restore the original windows and doors.

Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church
2401 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago

Quinn Chapel AME, Chicago’s oldest African American congregation, hired architect Henry Starbuck to design their impressive Gothic-style church out of Indiana limestone in 1892. After almost 120 years in this location, Quinn Chapel is still a vital part of the Bronzeville neighborhood. A Partners in Preservation grant was awarded for repairs to the kitchen and foundation. The project was completed in 2009 and has contributed to the continued success of Quinn Chapel’s many outreach and children’s social services programs.

Robie House
5757 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House is considered an American architectural masterpiece and was the first National Historic Landmark in Chicago. A $4 million exterior renovation of the Robie House was completed in 2004 and restoration of the interior continues. The Partners in Preservation grant was used to restore the art-glass windows, lighting, doors and finishes in the guest bedroom to their original state.

South Side Community Art Center
3831 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago

The South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) is housed in the 1893 Seaverns mansion. With its gallery space, art labs and recently renovated second floor, the center provides services and resources for African American artists and members of the community. The center has a unique Bauhaus-style gallery space but insufficient storage areas for its more than 200-piece art collection. SSCAC originally planned to renovate the basement into a collections storage area, but slightly revised the project and used the Partners in Preservation grant to create an archival storage space on the third floor instead.

Spring Grove Fish Hatchery
2314 Hatchery Road, Spring Grove

Closed for a time in 2004, Spring Grove Fish Hatchery was the state’s first fish hatchery, raising fry and supplying stock for the areas ponds, and has reopened under the ownership of the Village of Spring Grove. A Partners in Preservation grant was used to make repairs to the main house and to turn the property into a nature and educational center for the entire community.

Unity Temple
875 Lake St., Oak Park

Unity Temple, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908, is considered one of Wright’s finest buildings, especially notable for its revolutionary use of reinforced concrete. Still in use by the original Unitarian Universalist Congregation for whom it was designed in 1908, Unity Temple is a place of worship and community meeting place. Open to the public seven days a week with weekend guided tours, it also hosts over 25,000 scholars, students, and visitors each year. Grant money received from Partners in Preservation helped to reverse the effects of the elements on the concrete.

Viking Ship
Good Templar Park, 528 Eastside Drive, Geneva

The Viking Ship stands in Geneva’s Good Templar Park as an example of the history of Norway and Chicago from the ninth and 19th centuries. Inspired by the 1880 discovery and excavation of the ancient Viking ship Gokstad, the replica was originally built in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The stabilization of the ship, thanks to the Partners in Preservation grant, allowed for its relocation to a more secure and permanent site, where the multi-phase conservation process can be viewed by the public.

Von Steuben High School
5039 North Kimball Avenue, Chicago

Von Steuben High School was designed by architect Paul Gerhard in 1931. The brick facades are adorned with unique and elaborate terra cotta bas relief panels and are characterized by figures illustrating academics, athletics and students. The grant money received from Partners in Preservation helped restore the panels to their original splendor.

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