Petition: Make Chicago Vocational School a Historical Landmark Receives Over 6,200 signatures!

Chicago Vocational School, 2100 E. 87th Street, Architect John Christensen, 1941. Photo Credit: Lee Bey

A Chicago Landmark designation for the Chicago Vocational School will significantly help the Avalon Park neighborhood:

  • Create tourism revenue and increase their property value to allocate for development and community upgrades.
  • Validate the rich history that our district and school had while educating the nation of their unique role in World War II and contribution to American Architecture.
  • Support the potential eligibility for grants, tax credits, and other opportunities to maintain its historic character and contribute to beautifying the neighborhood.

Construction began on the Art Moderne Chicago Vocational School in 1939, and it was opened in 1941. Costs for construction were funded by the Works Progress Administration. During World War II the vocational school served the war effort and it trained many United States Navy mechanics.

“Chicago Vocational’s original concept was revolutionary. The school system figured out the world of the 1940s and beyond would need more machinists, auto mechanics, electricians, architectural draftsmen, food service experts, sheet metal workers, complex printing machine operators–and more–so they built a school to fill the need. The school was built for 6,000 students, all male, originally, who would graduate with certificates proving they were work-ready.” (WBEZ, Bey)

“The interior ornament incorporated Art Deco influences, while the exterior was fashioned in the Art Moderne style. The mostly unadorned stone façade incorporated a series of bas relief sculpted panels depicting individual trades taught at the school. Chicago Vocational School would lead an era of modernism in the Chicago Public Schools.” (Context Statement, Bauer Latoza Studio)

Please click here to view the petition

Additional Reading

School of architecture: A look at sprawling Chicago Vocational, Lee Bey, WBEZ Chicago, May 21, 2012 


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