by Michael R. Allen
Preservation Chicago just released its annual Chicago 7 list of the city’s most endangered historic resources. Topping the list is not a building or bridge but the city’s Landmarks Ordinance. According to Preservation Chicago, “several recent redevelopment projects endorsed by the city’s planning department and approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks call into question whether the integrity of the ordinance itself is in danger of being destroyed.”
The ordinance date sto 1968 and has led to local landmark status for 255 buildings and 49 historic districts. Yet recent decisions by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to allow such travesties as the demolition of the landmarked Farwell Building and the reassembly of its facade on a new, much taller building call into question the level of protection the ordinance provides.