WIN: Preliminary Landmark Recommendation Approved for Hyde Park Union Church

“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted Hyde Park Union Church preliminary landmark status earlier this month, a designation church-goers and preservationists alike sought to protect the 118-year-old building from significant exterior alteration.

“The church, a sizable red sandstone structure tucked away in the University of Chicago campus at 5600 S. Woodlawn Ave., has, since 1906, been home to a vibrant baptist congregation and a hub for community service in Hyde Park.

“According LaShaun Bryant, a member of the church, the congregation requested the designation last year to ‘protect the church’s legacy’ as it conducts routine maintenance and repairs on the building.

‘Basically what we’re doing is upkeeping of the building,’ said Bryant in an interview. This includes patching a hole in the roof and ensuring that the windows are in good shape. ‘And we’re happy that this (designation) keeps it from being demolished,’ she added.

“The preliminary landmark designation passed the landmarks commission without objection on Feb. 8. Commissioners still need to review a final proposal for landmarking the church in the coming months; if approved, City Council will vote on whether to landmark it within a year.

“At the Feb. 8 meeting, the commission’s Historic Preservation Division staff made the case for the church’s landmarking on three criteria: it has historic value to the city, displays exemplary architecture and was created by a historically significant architect.

“‘Hyde Park Union Church, much like our beautiful stained glass windows, is a tapestry of the community,’ Bryant told commissioners. ‘We’ve taken our architect’s vision of a sacred space and multiplied it beyond anything he imagined.’

“The preliminary landmarking, supported by both Ald. Desmon Yancy’s (5th) office and the nonprofit Preservation Chicago, will protect the church exterior and roof from demolition or unsympathetic alterations until a recommendation for permanent landmark status — ultimately approved by the City Council — is made within a year’s time.” (Faris, Hyde Park Herald, 2/26/28)

Preservation Chicago is thrilled by this outcome. We have been in communication with leadership at Hyde Park Union Church for some time and were happy to testify in support of its bid for Chicago Landmark status at the February 8, 2024 Commission on Chicago Landmarks hearing.

Read the full story at Hyde Park Herald

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