The neighborhood’s 120-year-old Truc Lam Temple will soon be demolished to make way for a preschool.
The temple, 1521 W. Wilson Ave., went up for sale in 2017 and soon after the Vietnamese Unified Buddhist Association members who worshiped there moved to suburban Elmwood Park. Although the Buddhist association still owns the property, Viking Development will finalize its purchase of the property as soon as the city signs off on its demolition, according to a spokesman for Viking. The Gardner School, a company focused on early childhood education with preschools located in seven cities across the country, will be the buildings long-term tenant.
Despite attempts by preservationists to save the colorful building, it is very likely to be torn down. Although a preliminary landmark designation was approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in 2004, the property never gained landmark status. Originally, the building was known as the Ravenswood Club, and after that it was the Paul Revere Masonic Lodge.
“We have a remarkable set of buildings with a remarkable history but there isn’t the political will to keep it preserved,” Ward Miller said. “It ties back to some of the early history of the community,” Miller said. “It’s a remarkable frame structure that really does sort of set the tone at that corner. With its big parkway and green space in front its a great asset for the community. It’s a waste to see just another four-story mundane piece of architecture there. The loss would be tragic.” (Ballew, 11/1/19)