WIN: Florence Crittenton Anchorage / Wolfson Building Receives Preliminary Landmark Approval

“The city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks is taking a positive step this week in weighing whether to give a preliminary designation to a 130-year-old former East Garfield Park mansion that’s under threat of demolition.

“But here’s hoping the commission grants a preliminary designation that would set the stage for preserving and reusing a handsome late 19th Century building in a neighborhood that has seen too many of its vintage structures wrecked and hauled away over the last 50 years.

“The turreted, three-story brick and limestone home was built in 18898for tire manufacturer Fred W. Morgan, according to Preservation Chicago, an organization which seeks to save the structure.

“The building spent much of the 20th century as a home for children and unwed mothers. More recently, the structure housed social service organizations.

“In addition to the home’s architecture, Preservation Chicago Executive Director Ward Miller said the building should be granted preliminary landmark status for its history of providing ‘essential health care services to women, and especially women of color, on Chicago’s West Side, in an era when such medical services were so limited and considered out of reach to many.’

“The city’s 20-year-old demolition delay ordinance — the creation of which was championed by preservation groups — deserves a hat-tip for helping bring attention to the building’s planned demolition.

“The law puts an automatic 90-day delay on any demolition permit application filed for a building that is rated orange or red on the city’s Chicago Historic Resources Survey, allowing the Department of Planning’s landmarks staff and the commission to figure out if a building is worthy of preliminary landmark status.

“The East Garfield Park building is among more than 9,000 properties listed as orange — a rating second only to red — indicating it has ‘some architectural feature or historical association … potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community.’

“And given the West Side has fewer individually landmarked buildings than any other area of the city, we’re glad to see the demo delay ordinance come into play to potentially save an historic East Garfield Park building.” (Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 8/1/20)

Preservation Chicago launched a rapid response advocacy campaign to try to save the Wolfson Building at 2678 W. Washington Blvd in East Garfield Park from demolition. Extensive research revealed the building’s fascinating and important history. Proactive community organizing and stakeholder outreach galvanized the support necessary to allow the Preliminary Landmark Designation to advance.

Read the full editorial at the Chicago Sun-Times

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