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Mapping some of Chicago's most endangered historic buildings

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The Chicago Historic Resources Survey was a decade-long effort to catalog buildings of important architectural or historic significance constructed in the city prior to 1940. Completed in 1995, the survey is the frontline resource for city planners and preservationists to determine which buildings immediately merit close attention.

The highest designation, "Red," is reserved for buildings deemed to have importance either historically or architecturally for the entire city, state of country. There are about 300 such buildings in the city. The second highest designation, "Orange," represents a much larger selection of buildings, numbering just under 10,000 across the city. Whenever an owner or developer seeks a permit to demolish or significantly alter an "Orange-rated" building, it automatically triggers a 90-day "hold" while the building is evaluated by city staff to see if it qualifies for landmark protection or if neighbors or preservationists can provide an alternative. Still, dozens of Orange-rated buildings are demolished each year.

With the current development cycle in full swing, many historic buildings around the city are endangered of being demolished to make way for new projects, or in being so altered as to lose any historic character. These are just some of the most-endangered of that cohort of buildings.

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1. 6739 N. Oxford

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6739 N Oxford Ave
Chicago, IL 60631

This Queen Anne style single family was built in the 1880s when the northwest side neighborhood of Edison Park was still a suburb. The owner’s application to wreck the house and garage is currently under review.

2. "The Eagle Building"

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3834 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60613

Designed in 1911 by architect Harry Hale Waterman and known for its series of repeating terra cotta eagles, this building was purchased by a developer who intends to build a new-mixed use building on the site and will reinstall the façade in the same location. This is often called a “façade-ectomy” in preservation circles but the plan was approved and the permit released earlier this month.

3. 2746 N. Magnolia

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2746 N Magnolia Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This home in Lincoln Park was originally proposed for demolition in 2015 as part of a redevelopment that included the neighboring church. While the latest application will only result in demolition of its side bay, these small changes often end in the same result years later once the building has been compromised.

4. 2738 N. Racine

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2738 N Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This Queen Anne/Eastlake style home was sold earlier this month for $1.185 million. It was originally listed as an opportunity for a rehab but the former owner filed the application to demolish the building in April and it was officially released from its hold. A demolition permit has not yet been issued.

5. 1117 W. Wrightwood

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1117 W Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This Queen Anne style brick residence in the DePaul area was constructed in the 1880s. The owners’ request to demolish the building is currently under review by the city’s staff.

6. 1756 N. Cleveland

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1756 N Cleveland Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Time may be running out for this 1880s Italianate in Old Town. Originally built as a single family, it has since become a multi-unit building. The demolition is currently under review with less than 30 days remaining on its “hold.”

7. 1443 N. Wells

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1443 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610

This Eastlake/Italianate style mixed-use building in Old Town was sold earlier this year for $2.1 million. The new owner is seeking a permit to demolish the building and while it’s still under review, the hold runs out next month.

8. 1241 N. State St

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1241 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

In June a developer bought this 140-year-old post-Chicago Fire cottage in the Gold Coast. There has been some outcry at the proposed demolition from neighbors and the application remains under review with less than a month left before the city’s “hold” runs out.

9. St. Boniface

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N Noble St & W Chestnut St
Chicago, IL 60642

This Noble Square landmark may be one of the most high-profile endangered Orange buildings in Chicago. A demolition permit for the historic church has been issued but preservationists remain optimistic even though a demolition-minded developer recently attempted to purchase the debt on the property.

10. 1399 W. Lake

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1399 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

The 1892 Queen Anne building that was once home to La Luce Italian restaurant caused a stir when it was released from its demolition hold last month. While time is running out, the demolition permit has not yet been issued.

11. 971 W. 18th St

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971 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

This building in Pilsen has received a permit for rehab that will involve duplexing the second floor into the attic, together with “substantial demolition of the existing roof." The permit was released from the demo delay last month.

12. South Side Masonic Temple

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6400 S Green St
Chicago, IL 60621

Designed by noted architect Clarence Hatzfeld, this giant multi-use temple in Englewood has been a perennial on preservationists' “most endangered" lists. It has been left to sit vacant for years.

13. 1230-32 E. 75th Street

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1230 E 75th St
Chicago, IL 60619

The Walter Burley Griffin-designed Cornell Store and Flats is a rare example of commercial Prairie School architecture. The building is currently in demolition court and landed on Landmarks Illinois’ list of most endangered buildings earlier this year.

14. Guyon Hotel

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4000 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60624

The Jens Jensen-designed Moorish Revival landmark in Garfield Park has also been a perennial “endangered” building and remains in the city’s building court due to various violations.

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1. 6739 N. Oxford

6739 N Oxford Ave, Chicago, IL 60631

This Queen Anne style single family was built in the 1880s when the northwest side neighborhood of Edison Park was still a suburb. The owner’s application to wreck the house and garage is currently under review.

6739 N Oxford Ave
Chicago, IL 60631

2. "The Eagle Building"

3834 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60613

Designed in 1911 by architect Harry Hale Waterman and known for its series of repeating terra cotta eagles, this building was purchased by a developer who intends to build a new-mixed use building on the site and will reinstall the façade in the same location. This is often called a “façade-ectomy” in preservation circles but the plan was approved and the permit released earlier this month.

3834 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60613

3. 2746 N. Magnolia

2746 N Magnolia Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This home in Lincoln Park was originally proposed for demolition in 2015 as part of a redevelopment that included the neighboring church. While the latest application will only result in demolition of its side bay, these small changes often end in the same result years later once the building has been compromised.

2746 N Magnolia Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

4. 2738 N. Racine

2738 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This Queen Anne/Eastlake style home was sold earlier this month for $1.185 million. It was originally listed as an opportunity for a rehab but the former owner filed the application to demolish the building in April and it was officially released from its hold. A demolition permit has not yet been issued.

2738 N Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

5. 1117 W. Wrightwood

1117 W Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This Queen Anne style brick residence in the DePaul area was constructed in the 1880s. The owners’ request to demolish the building is currently under review by the city’s staff.

1117 W Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

6. 1756 N. Cleveland

1756 N Cleveland Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Time may be running out for this 1880s Italianate in Old Town. Originally built as a single family, it has since become a multi-unit building. The demolition is currently under review with less than 30 days remaining on its “hold.”

1756 N Cleveland Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

7. 1443 N. Wells

1443 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610

This Eastlake/Italianate style mixed-use building in Old Town was sold earlier this year for $2.1 million. The new owner is seeking a permit to demolish the building and while it’s still under review, the hold runs out next month.

1443 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60610

8. 1241 N. State St

1241 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

In June a developer bought this 140-year-old post-Chicago Fire cottage in the Gold Coast. There has been some outcry at the proposed demolition from neighbors and the application remains under review with less than a month left before the city’s “hold” runs out.

1241 N State St
Chicago, IL 60610

9. St. Boniface

N Noble St & W Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60642

This Noble Square landmark may be one of the most high-profile endangered Orange buildings in Chicago. A demolition permit for the historic church has been issued but preservationists remain optimistic even though a demolition-minded developer recently attempted to purchase the debt on the property.

N Noble St & W Chestnut St
Chicago, IL 60642

10. 1399 W. Lake

1399 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60607

The 1892 Queen Anne building that was once home to La Luce Italian restaurant caused a stir when it was released from its demolition hold last month. While time is running out, the demolition permit has not yet been issued.

1399 W Lake St
Chicago, IL 60607

11. 971 W. 18th St

971 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

This building in Pilsen has received a permit for rehab that will involve duplexing the second floor into the attic, together with “substantial demolition of the existing roof." The permit was released from the demo delay last month.

971 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

12. South Side Masonic Temple

6400 S Green St, Chicago, IL 60621

Designed by noted architect Clarence Hatzfeld, this giant multi-use temple in Englewood has been a perennial on preservationists' “most endangered" lists. It has been left to sit vacant for years.

6400 S Green St
Chicago, IL 60621

13. 1230-32 E. 75th Street

1230 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619

The Walter Burley Griffin-designed Cornell Store and Flats is a rare example of commercial Prairie School architecture. The building is currently in demolition court and landed on Landmarks Illinois’ list of most endangered buildings earlier this year.

1230 E 75th St
Chicago, IL 60619

14. Guyon Hotel

4000 W Washington Blvd, Chicago, IL 60624

The Jens Jensen-designed Moorish Revival landmark in Garfield Park has also been a perennial “endangered” building and remains in the city’s building court due to various violations.

4000 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60624