WIN: After 23 Year Advocacy Effort, Promontory Point Receives Final Chicago Landmark Recommendation (Chicago 7 2022)

“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend that City Council designate Promontory Point as a city landmark; a decision met with jubilation from preservation advocates and city officials alike.

“For more than 22 years community members have organized around preserving the Point’s limestone stair-step revetment from both lakefront erosion and city-proposed demolition. In the past, the city has proposed replacing the park’s stone perimeter with concrete and steel, as has been done along the rest of Chicago’s lakeshore; these proposals have routinely been met with considerable pushback.

“City landmarking means that the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will review any proposed alteration, demolition or new construction at the Point. Effectively, landmarking establishes an overlay of local oversight and scrutiny of the project’s design and construction, which must follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as provided through the National Historic Preservation Act.

“The Promontory Point Conservancy, a nonprofit that advocates for the park’s preservation, particularly the limestone, celebrated the unanimous vote in a statement on Thursday. ‘The stage is now set for the City (CDOT), the Chicago Park District and the U.S. Army Corps to work openly with the community to fix the historic limestone revetment at the Point instead of destroying it. There is now a shared, common preservation language … for a common, shared plan for fixing the historic limestone revetment.’

“Other meeting attendees, including Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), representatives of Preservation Chicago and Landmarks Illinois, alongside commissioners shared the good spirits.

“‘The community, you just kept showing up, and it’s made all the difference,’ said Commissioner Suellen Burns. ‘This is one of the best examples I’ve seen of folks coming together. Finding common ground and achieving something that will really be extraordinary.’

“Jack Spicer, co-founder of the Promontory Point Conservancy opened his statement with, ‘As Mr. Rogers would say, ‘It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.’ We’ve waited so long for this.’

“Spicer then said, ‘I just wanted to be really clear to everybody that for 23 long, long years (Ald. Hairston) has supported the community in their efforts to save the limestone revetment at Promontory Point. She’s going to be ending her aldermanic career soon and this is a high note for that to end on.’ (Monaghan, Hyde Park Herald, 3/9/23)

Preservation Chicago applauds the Promontory Point Conservancy for their dedicated advocacy effort to ‘Save the Point”. Preservation Chicago has been working closely with the Promontory Point Conservancy to request to the Chicago Commission on Landmarks to designate Promontory Point as a Designated Chicago Landmark. Promontory Point Conservancy is responsible for the extensive report by preservation consultant Julia Bachrach detailing the historical significance of the Point which clearly established the need for Chicago Landmark designation.

There has been strong support for saving the Point from elected officials including Alderman Leslie Hairston, Cook County Commissioner William Lowry, State Representative Curtis Tarver, State Senator Robert Peters, and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly. Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement for the restoration of Promontory Point. In addition to Preservation Chicago, other organizations in support include Hyde Park Historical Society, Landmarks Illinois, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Friends of the Parks, Openlands Chicago, and the Cultural Landscape Foundation.


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