Serbian American Club Withdraws Demolition Permit Application Fearing Aldermanic Support for Landmark Protection

UPDATE: Shortly before the Chicago Commission on Landmarks’ April meeting, the Board of the Serbian American Club withdrew the demolition permit request, for the second time. This action removed the historic 1905, East Lake View Daniel O. Hill House, from the agenda and prevented 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney and community members from advocating for the building’s consideration for Preliminary Landmark Designation. It also prevented the Chicago Commission on Landmarks from taking a vote to approve Preliminary Landmark Designation which would provide protection against demolition.

The building is safe for now, but Preservation Chicago and community stakeholders will remain vigilant until the building is secure; either by being sold to a preservation-sensitive buyer or through landmark protection. The building is significant enough to be eligible for an individual landmark or ideally, could an anchor an expanded East Lake View or “Meekerville” Historic Landmark District.

Preservation Chicago applauds 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney for his leadership. Alderman Tunney’s vocal support for Preliminary Landmark Designation has proved to be an important pillar in the defense and protection for this building.

Thanks to the rapid-response advocacy of Preservation Chicago, community leaders and community organizations, DPD Landmarks staff initially considered the request for Preliminary Landmark Designation and has recommended that the Landmarks Commission grant preliminary landmark status. Preservation Chicago applauds DPD Landmarks Staff for prioritizing this important historic structure.

As part of a planned sale to a developer, the board of the Serbian American Club had twice submitted a request for a demolition permit which triggered the 90-day demolition delay. For many months, Preservation Chicago has been providing assistance to the Serbian-American community and Lake View residents that have been leading the effort to stop the sale and demolition of the Serbian American Museum & Club/St Sava. An online petition to stop the sale and demolition received nearly 900 signatures. Preservation Chicago has been in communication with Alderman Tunney and his staff, has written letters of support to DPD Landmarks Staff in support of landmark designation, and has included updates in the monthly Preservation Chicago Newsletter.

This preservation effort might yield greater benefits for Lake View. Blair Kamin reported that, “Tunney held a community meeting Feb. 28 to discuss a possible landmark district for an area that would include the Barry Avenue mansion and other properties. The district would be bounded by Sheridan and Broadway, and Belmont and Oakdale avenues, Lawson said.
But while Tunney backs landmark status for the mansion, he has not committed to the district. “He would like to have a buy-in from the owners,” Lawson said.”

The Serbian American Museum & Club/St Sava has operated since 1952 from the historic 11,400 square foot mansion in East Lake View. This extraordinary Prairie Style home, originally the Daniel O. Hill House at 448 W. Barry Ave was designed by Frederick W. Perkins and was completed in 1902. Its graceful proportions, broad porch, intricate classical ornament, unique and highly-ornamented arched third floor dormer and fine detailing with Roman brick make it a natural candidate for consideration as a Designated Chicago Landmark.

Even among the many wonderful historic homes in Lake View, the Hill House is so important that it was individually recognized for its architectural significance on a short list of 14 homes from the hundreds of homes within the 1972 Lakeview Historic District National Register Nomination.

This orange-rated building is architecturally outstanding and has served an important cultural resource for the Chicago Serbian community for over 60 years. Preservation Chicago fully supports a Historic Landmark Designation and strongly supports a wider Historic Landmark District to protect greater number of significant Lake View homes and buildings. Our organization urges the Landmarks Commission, 44th Ward Alderman Tunney, Serbian and Lake View neighborhood organizations, and Lakeview neighbors to continue to take the steps necessary to protect this important historic landmark and others in the district.

Additional Reading

Demolition deferred for Lakeview’s historic Daniel O. Hill house

Column: Alderman moves to protect Lakeview mansion from demolition, Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin, 3/10/17

Serbian museum lists Lakeview East mansion for $3.85 million, Chicago Tribune, 7/20/16

Photo Gallery, 448 W Barry Ave CHICAGO, IL 60657 Curbed Chicago, AJ Trace, 7/21/16

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