“The Bertrand Goldberg-designed Helstein House at 58th Street and Blackstone Avenue could be in line for a city landmark designation, as nonprofit Preservation Chicago formally suggested it be nominated at the March 29 meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
“The group said that the residence at 5806 S. Blackstone Avenue has both historic and architectural significance.
“Max Chavez, director of research and special projects for Preservation Chicago, noted during his introduction of the building that it ‘was designed by Bertrand Goldberg, one of the most important architects that the city has ever produced.’ Among many other buildings, Goldberg designed Marina City, with its iconic ‘corn cob’ towers, and the now-demolished Prentice Women’s Hospital, which was located on Northwestern University’s Streeterville medical school campus.
“He compared it to Maison Dom-Ino, a 1914 structural design consisting of concrete slabs and columns by the French modernist Le Corbusier that served as a construction template for other architects.
“The house on Blackstone was built in 1951 for prominent labor activist and attorney Ralph Helstein and his wife Rachel, a social worker and home maker. Ralph Helstein was the president of the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) from 1946 until its merger with Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen in 1968.
“During Helstein’s tenure at UPWA, the organization became active in the Civil Rights Movement. It supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott, formed its own anti-discrimination department and became a strong supporter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). In 1962, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. described the UPWA support for SCLC as ‘a mighty fortress protecting us.'(Monaghan, Hyde Park Herald, 3/31/22)