True to form, Preservation Chicago has released its 10th annual "Chicago Seven" list of the city's most threatened architectural treasures, from individual properties to neighborhoods and thematic building categories. As we write, a contingent of media and concerned citizens is massing at the Chicago Architecture Foundation to lend a ceremonial punch to the release. We accessed the information online, and, with our own take on somber ceremony, do relay a summary to you. Visit Preservation Chicago for a historical backgrounder on each selection. Prepare to be shamed into action!
1. Unity Hall, 3140 S Indiana Avenue
Threat: As a designated city landmark, Unity Hall cannot be demolished. However, the scourge of deferred maintenance and exposure to the elements could effectively cause its demolition by neglect. The building's current owner, a small church congregation, has not occupied the structure in over a year dur to code violations and the building is currently in receivership... The building has been for sale, but attempts to close on the sale have not come to fruition."
2. Chicago's Historic Movie Theaters
Threat: "Often ornately designed with whimsical details, today very few of these structures remain, and even fewer remain in their original configuration. Preservation Chicago has identified five neighborhood movie palaces that are endangered due to potential demolition by neglect or extensive alterations: Avalon/New Regal; Ramova; Central Park; Lawndale; and Portage."
3. Frank Cuneo Memorial Hospital, 720 W Montrose Avenue
Threat: "Cuneo was closed in July 1988 and was then converted to a children's shelter. The building has stood vacant and deteriorating for several years. Although a recent redevelopment plan for the entire campus was killed in early 2012 by community opposition, demolition, including demolition by neglect, remains a credible threat to Cuneo."
4. St. Anthony's Hospital, 2875 W 19th Street
Threat: "Threatened by its sheer success in serving a diverse community, a new replacement hospital campus is being planned a mile to the south at 31st and Kedzie. The existing hospital, which is located on a narrow site, is to be either redeveloped or demolished."
5. 5700 Block of South Woodlawn Avenue
Threat: "While the area currently survives largely intact, recent purchases by the University of Chicago, coupled with zoning change requests by the university to convert from residential to institutional zoning have put the future of these properties and the historic integrity of the entire neighborhood in doubt."
6. Gethsemane Church, 1352 S. Union Street
Threat: Dramatic alterations; vulnerability in a context of neighborhood transition. "First constructed as a German School in 1869, it later became home to a Romanian synagogue, an African-American church, and then briefly an arts center. All of these changes in use have reflected the changing ethnic and socio-economic character of what was once Chicago's port-of-entry neighborhood."
7. Prentice Hospital, 333 E Superior Street
Threat: "Merely 37 years old, this amazing masterwork is threatened with demolition. Prentice, designed by Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg and completed in 1975, returns to Preservation Chicago's 7 Most Threatened list again this year."