Focus 580; Historic Preservation and Saving Endangered Places
In the first hour today we'll be talking about historic preservation and saving endangered places and we have two guests with us both who are interested in this issue and who deal with it on kind of two different levels who want a national level and one on a state level. We have and joining us both by phone which would mow president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and also David Bowman. He's executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. We'll try to talk about some of the basic issues and at least with you with at least one specific example that will give us a case study an opportunity to talk about some of the basic issues. And that is the effort to try to preserve a house designed by a very famous architect me spender Oh that's here in the state of Illinois. It's called the Farnsworth house it's near Aurora. I will talk about that I'm a number of other things and of course as we talk if people who are listening I would like to be a part of the conversation that certainly welcome the only thing we ask is people just try to be brief so that we can keep the program moving but anyone listening is welcome to
contribute their thoughts ask questions here in Champaign-Urbana. The number to call 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. We do also have a total free line and that's good. Anywhere that you can hear us Illinois Indiana if you would be happen to be listening over the Internet in fact as long as you are in the United States you can even use the toll free line. That's eight hundred to 2 2 9 4 5 5. Well Mr. Moore. Hello good morning nice to be with you Well thank you very much for giving us your time Mr. Bowman. Good morning. You're a sheet it both of you being with us. I thought I would just take a moment here the beginning to give each you a chance to talk a little bit about your organizations and maybe I'll start with Richard Moe and have you talk just for a moment about the mission of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But I trust has found it a little more than 50 years ago chartered by the Congress actually to be the nation's leading national preservation organization. Originally we started out saving great historic houses and operating them as house museums. We still do
including several outstanding places in the Chicago area but we've also become very program matic we have regional offices all over the country including one in Chicago. We have main street programs to try to revitalize deteriorated towns. We're an advocacy organization and both a legal and public policy sense. So we're all purpose preservation organization. All of it appeared to trying to save the best of our heritage as represented in the built environment. And Mr. Rahman I expect that this far as the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois is concerned the mission is much the same just just confined to what goes on within the borders of the state. That's correct David. We were. Established 32 years ago around the battle to save the Solomon Adler Stock Exchange building here in Chicago we were were unsuccessful in saving that building but the organization of the Landmark Preservation Council was formed around that battle and we've been doing the same thing the National Trust has
been doing for more years than we've been around just here in Illinois trying to save important buildings and sites here in Illinois. Let me ask you a very basic question one that probably could occupy us for some time and that's this we know that the birth environment does change. Tastes change which may or not be an important reason for tearing down buildings needs change. And we know that everything cannot be preserved and I suppose not everything is worth being preserved so that the question is how do we decide what buildings are worth saving. Well that's a very very good question. It gets right to the core of what we're all about of course. It's really largely in the eye of the beholder like beauty itself. But we do have we do have certain rules for what is considered legally historic and that's that there's a set of criteria for that in terms of being on the national register and so forth. But that. Not all encompassing.
Basically what we're trying to do at the National Trust is to encourage each community to the side for itself what it thinks is worth preserving in that community and what it thinks can best serve its future needs perhaps through an adaptive use of a significant historic structure or whatever. So it's there's not a one size fits all answer to that question. But as with beauty you kind of know it when you see it. Those structures and neighborhoods and streetscapes that are very important to the to the character of a community are usually those things that the community wants. We we're we're having trouble David convincing a lot of communities to enact landmark ordinances to do what what Dick has suggested here which is to get each community to take the responsibility of deciding what's important and what isn't. We were dealing with a huge number of communities who want to preserve their personal property
rights but they also don't want that beautiful queen and house next door demolished. So we're caught in between a lot with these communities who aren't willing to take the step to enact a landmark ordinance. Do a survey and have some control without owner consent. Over the the buildings in their communities which add to the public benefit of and quality of life issues it's a real struggle to get people to understand that they can't have it both ways. They can't have they can't have a no land use regulation situation and yet at the same time protect the things that they decide are important. So it's you know it's it's a tough situation for us to deal with with all the individual communities here in Illinois. I suppose that could be a number of reasons for any number reasons why an individual building might be
taken down. It could be that the building itself truly hasn't been well maintained. And so it would cost a great deal of money to fix all things wrong with that. That could simply be a matter of modernizing its mechanical systems. It could be an issue of perhaps a better use of the land the building is sitting on. And although I think probably when it comes down to it the thing that that seems to irk people most and and maybe a leading reason for telling older buildings down is simply an enthusiasm for the new. And I wonder when you think about all the reasons that things get taken down. Is it in fact that that the leading contender for reasons was that people just to have don't have a lot of respect for older buildings and somehow have this idea in their head that if it's new it's better. Well I think that does go in large part to answer your question. You know we consider ourselves to be a relatively young country and that's always been part of our
belief system that new is better than old and therefore tear down the old and build anew. That attitude happily is changing and it's changing largely because people increasingly value older structures in their neighborhoods or in their cities combined with new architecture. The most vital cities in America combined the best of older architecture with the best of new architecture and there's still a city that better represents that than Chicago. That's precisely why I think as an outsider why Chicago is such an interesting and compelling and really vital city and hopefully those attitudes are changing all over the country to bring greater appreciation to older buildings for example I think David David would agree that if the Chicago Stock Exchange building were at risk today it would be safe. I believe that's also true of Penn Station in New York which which played a similar role and in compelling a community to recognize the severity and permanence of the loss.
And that really gave birth to the preservation movement so we're not there yet but attitudes are changing. And I think the more revitalization work and the more restoration work that occurs and I've seen much of it Chicago that I greatly admire. The more public support there is for this kind of activity. Yeah I agree with you Dick. I think what from from my point of view here in Chicago one of the greatest problems other than just the lack of interest in the old in an appreciation for things historic. The greatest problem is that for many developers who are an educated and experienced in doing rehabilitation or adaptive reuse projects it's much easier for them to scrape a site and build a new building. It's less trouble. It also. And until until there is the learning curve is achieved until a developer does a
rehabilitation or adaptive reuse project and learns what the what the sort of gimmicks are to make it a good project. It can be you know it can be slightly more expensive form because there is that learning curve that he isn't involved in but without I think without exception. Once a developer once. If we have a recalcitrant developer who wants to tear down a beautiful building once we can convince him the preservation project is a better alternative. And once he does one good project we don't have. Our job is done. The Education. Portion of it is over they almost in every instance the developer will go on to be very very enthusiastic about rehabilitation adaptive reuse projects so that there's a there's a learning curve that developers and contractors and real estate professionals have to get past before they understand that this can be done and it can be it can produce better results.
I would just like to underscore that and I think it's one of the most significant and I noted facts that's accounted for the greater restoration preservation work being done. We don't have a coterie of developers all over the country who have learned how to do this kind of work and make a buck off of it and that's a very good thing. Well let me ask another basic question and this may be kind of splitting hairs but I'm interested in what you say supposing that we have a building that's an historic building and someone comes in and says I would like to sell this building but adapt its use so that it can be practical for modern use. So we take that bubbling away. Got it. It's on what's left is the skin of the building and into that building then we put modern mechanical systems and maybe will put new windows in well insulated so will be very energy efficient and turn it into something completely different. You know maybe it had been a let's open a factory and so what we're going to do is turn it into apartment space or left for artists or we're going to make an office building or what I would has and the only thing that's going to be left
from that from that building of the original building is going to be the skin. Is that historic preservation. Yes it is it's what we call adaptive reuse and that's what's accounting for a lot of the work being done with historic buildings in America today. You know it depends upon the significance of the building as to whether or not you're going to get the interior because of the interiors historic also that obviously want to save it. But increasingly with older factories or older commercial buildings or where you're dealing with affordable housing the important thing is to adapt to that depth those structures to modern uses and keeping the historic exterior intact because that's where the public benefit comes in. And that's why tax credits are sometimes available for those kinds of projects. David D. It's always a case by case situation we we we're primarily involved in as Dick said in the in the
public benefit portion of the building which is the exteriors. If you're taking an old warehouse building or a manufacturing building and putting condominiums in it that's you know there are absolutely no objections there whatsoever. But if you're taking this think of an instance in San Francisco a few years ago one of the oldest structures in San Francisco not destroyed by the fire 19 0 6. A Jewish synagogue that a developer wanted to gut and turn into condominiums. Without preserving any of the interior details which were all absolutely original to 1880 if it's a structure of you know cultural as well as historic significance you know you you wouldn't want to do to a hidden tax synagogue what you did to us to our you know up a pipe company. So you have to you have to look at each building on its own merits.
You have to look at the importance of the interiors. You know the best case scenario would be all those you know t to reuse a theater as a theater reuse a church as a church. Reuse a school is a school. But when when you get into the types of structures that are easily adaptable present. Nation has had no no objection whatsoever to adaptive reuse programs we have couple of callers and I want to bring them into the conversation and for anyone who's tuned in with the last 10 minutes or so I should introduce again our guests last personhood speak David Bowman is executive director of the Landmark Preservation Council of Illinois and also with us is Richard Moe he's president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and we're talking about historic preservation and saving endangered places. Questions comments are welcome 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. Toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. First call up is in Belgium near Danville in line for a while.
Good morning. I'd like to point out to your guest. And Larry as you suggest we're a community that is dying and we've lost a lot of things and I'm going down now. It might deserve to come down. Some of them deserve to be restored but we're a community that cannot restore them. But I've suggested to some folks that you know inside these buildings are amazingly well musingly a large warehouse of some fabulous materials namely lumber the churches are just full of stained glass windows and stuff that can be recycled fixtures that are not available anymore and some some things it seems to me to be very good. Maybe tear down the worst save the materials and use that and paste them the ones that really need more deserving. Is that function taking place any place on deck yeah I haven't heard of that one thing happening anywhere.
Obviously it depends about how significant these buildings are. Yeah even if a building is vacant if it's that significant architecturally or historically you really don't want to do that average to it. You SURE IT illiterate. This may or may not apply to your community but. But usually when their buildings are torn and for which there is no other purpose for the land those spaces become parking lots for at least a generation. Oh yes I agree 100 percent because that's exactly what happened here. I'm pointing out some of these buildings are not historically significant on some of them are but the materials inside it aren't a priority. You cannot buy nor You might as well be urban forest and just put it in landfill in front of whatever I think I think. You know Dick talked about the subjectivity of of the importance of historic structures and that's absolutely true. But there
are there are ways however of determining whether a building. You know they're architectural historians and in the state of Illinois who can look at a building look at its history look at its architecture and say you know this is something unique this is something we're saving our definition of and we have important structures not only known only but across the country has broadened significantly in the last 20 years. I mean we never considered you know the original McDonald's. The original McDonald's hamburger stand in Downey California 40 years ago that would have been considered an important structure. Today you know aficionados of the modernist movement consider that important historically and culturally. So I would say that you know any any building that's over 50 years old should be looked at very very carefully to see if there is
something there that's worth saving. And architectural historians and Landmark commissions who have a set of criteria to work with to determine historic an architectural significance should always be consulted first in situations like this before you just before someone subjectively decides that that building can be thrown away. You know it's unfortunate because many of these buildings are 100 years old. Thank you very much for your welcome. It is time. I know that there is right here and in our area in Champaign County and an organization called the preservation and conservation Association and with and they were doing precisely at least in part precisely what the caller suggests they're looking at older buildings and I think a lot of them do turn out to be homes around Champaign-Urbana and if they see something that slated to be torn down it may not be something that of great historical significance but what they do is they go in and they try to salvage what they can and then they have a place here where you can go and you can buy things like moldings and
sagging and pillars that stood on somebody's front porch and railings from stairways and you know and windows anything that's worth saving the idea is that then that will be recycled somebody could use it. It can generate a little money that goes into the preservation effort. And so I'm sure that there are other communities where things like that happen. But Dick and I don't like to talk about that. I said I think somehow it makes it more acceptable the idea of tearing a building down. It's like it's like you know developers around the country who have gotten into this whole facade ism mode where they think the only thing of a building that's important that needs to be saved is the front facade of the building 18 inches deep. You know there are cases from time to time. Very unique and very special cases where saving just a facade might be the best you can get. But we don't like to talk about that either because you know a building is an organism that
has you know depth and height and width and plumbing and floors and heating systems and and. It's a it's a three dimensional organism. And as much of that as we can save as much a store of fabric as we can say. That's what we want to be. So we don't like to talk about facade as in projects and we don't like to talk about salvage because we want to make sure that everything is done first before you get to either of the situations. Right. Well let's talk with someone else near Hopson north of Danville line 1. Yes I'd like to talk about the Chicago stockyards in a building that should never have been torn down. It was the headquarters for the settlements or one club for the Hall of Fame of Agriculture. Besides being a fabulous fabulous building with many artifacts from Europe and now the settlement for one club has moved to Louisville Kentucky. The
Hall of Fame has been moved to Kentucky as a young boy I got to be one of the insulation of the functional limit in the seat going people into the Hall of Fame and then later years in the 80s it was from Purdue. It was a fabulous fabulous building I have several stake that's when. It is out of it. Oh we have a we have about 350 other instances like that. If it was a very important structure Unfortunately it was not protected by a local landmark ordinance. It did. It should have remained. It's the best thing about it. The local history of the store one room in the medieval room. You know old Yule things from England and then the store door room. All these famous little places but the best one was a presidential suite.
I got the thing last winter. That ceiling and there was also Harry Truman's piano. When they knocked the windows out the rain came in and ruined the piano. But they wouldn't. Get away or sell it. Well that the sad thing is that when you when you're not around anymore and others who remember it are not around anymore. Nobody's going to know about it yet a caller makes a really important point here. I mean that's where with the building but it sounds as though it was it help that you have this community its character and its identity the Hall of Fame a better culture has been moved to Louisville at Freedom lol. And the state of Kentucky the governor built many many hallways specialty to put the famous pictures 200 some up all the Hall of Fame of Agriculture. It's still going on today. And if you go to the fair town or any time go through the hall of fame
to see all these famous famous people have pictures. The Hall of Fame paid for the artist but the family had to go. But the big frame but the portrait still there are fabulous frames. Yeah I suppose there's an instance where you could argue that not only did we lose an historic building that we lost something that would draw draw people to Chicago and and. So the best there was in terms of it being a resource. There's a double loss. Increasingly older structures older communities are a real catalyst Bagnet for what we call heritage tourism and this can be a real economic force for any community that really appreciates its Bastien and preserves it. I want to wed to go I want to thank last call and we have a number of callers I want to get out to somebody who is here on a car phone let's do them online number four.
Well yeah I thank you. I'm a contractor and a little building Old City firehouse in Chicago on where I'm gonna put in Illinois I would like to have them for 150 years old. So I'm in complete crunch What's your sentiment but I kind of have to differ on the economics of it it is not. Just a little bit more expensive to save historic buildings and restore them to modern use. It's a lot more expensive. And while I would agree with you America is a land of bad taste that many developers have no taste and don't care about it. It is a lot more expensive to do it and I think the real issue here is Americans willing to pay to save their history and a lot of Americans. But when somebody comes to you and says I want an office building and I want to pay $75 a square foot for it. Well you know architecture is modern architecture fundamentally driven by cost. People use vinyl fighting
not because they necessarily think it looks better but because it's a lot cheaper than using wood siding. And I think you've really got to address this a little more than saying it's just a moderately more expensive it's a lot more expensive to save all the stuff I've been through it. When we lost the color but that I think he made his point pretty clear. Yeah well he makes a valid point but the Sperry's a lot from community to community and project to project but he's right that often it is more expensive to restore than to build a new. But this is one of the reasons why we have federal historic tax credits and increasingly in different states. State Historic tax credits because there's a recognition that there's a public benefit to preserving older structures and there's a recognition that sometimes you need a financial incentive to do that. Now at the federal level there's a 20 percent federal tax credit for restoring buildings that are on the National Register eligible for the National Register
that's a very significant help. And it's increasingly used by developers who are savvy in who know how to access it. And David you'll have to speak as to whether or not there's a Illinois tax credit but if there isn't I know you want to see one. It's something that we it's something that we've long wanted to have in place. What we do have here in Illinois. However Art is a property tax free situation whereby if you spend a certain proportion spend a certain a certain percentage of the of the structure's value on rehabilitating it you can get a 8 or 10 year I can remember the Tator 10 year property tax freeze at pre rehabilitation figures. So that's a huge incentive we have a we have a Cook County property tax freeze program which has been very very successful and a great incentive to to people.
There's also the possibility of a preservation easement donation which can garner for the owner of a property a one time charitable tax deduction for the value of the easement. But the owner must you know the owner the owner must want to perpetually preserve the structure of the that he owns or he wouldn't he wouldn't want to consider an easement because it's a it's a permanent incumbrance on the deed and passes from owner to owner. But that is another incentive that in place that contractors and individual owners of residential structures can take advantage of. We are just a little bit past the midpoint here and will continue our conversation about historic preservation in just a moment. However before we do that there is something else that we need to do because it's the first Tuesday of the month. This is a test of the Emergency Alert System.
This is a required monthly test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test. And you're listening to WY Ellerbe and others whose focus 580 our telephone talk show for the morning my name is David inch. Glad to have you with us we're talking this morning about historic preservation. Let me introduce again our two guests both of them joining us by telephone. Richard Maule he is president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. And David Bowman executive director of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. I want to take at least a couple months here to talk about Farnsworth house as I said that we would end and I know that for both of you both your organizations keep lists of particular structures that you think are endangered and that are important and I am pretty sure that the fines were thousands and I know it's on the Illinois list I'm pretty sure that it's on both of your list. This is a house that was designed by a very very famous architect Ludvig Meese Mandurah
Ventura and it's near Aurora and the current owner of the House who everyone says has taken has been a good owner taking fine care of the house he just says he wants to to sell it. And apparently there's at least one. Person of interest in buying the house but what he wants to do is to move it so that the house would be preserved presumably but it would be a loss to Illinois Ryans that maybe I'll go first to have a bomb and why is it that you and the other folks here are involved in preservation in Illinois I want to maintain the fines warehouse and keep it here in the state. The Farnsworth House David is is is an architectural icon and we don't we don't give that moniker to too many too many buildings. It's an architectural icon of international importance. Every architect every architectural student every afficionado of architecture review years
this work of art has probably one of the most sublime works of architecture of the 20th century. Certainly when you're talking about the modernist movement. It's one of the 10 structures in the world that has the kind of reverence attached to it it is. It is without a doubt a an architectural treasure of international importance. And we're very lucky to have it here in Illinois. Nice is associated very strong it was Chicago because of his creation of the Illinois Institute of Technology as the premier architecture school for me easy in theory. This was done in the late 40s in the early 50s. It's very important that Chicago in Illinois maintain its hold on this building as a symbol of a very very important architectural movement that really developed greatly here and here in Chicago. There are
other works by Meese that predate this. The Barcelona pavilion and the to get out house in Bruno in the Czech Republic are equally famous as international pieces of architecture. We got one here in the United States a residence by me East. He did mostly commercial buildings very few residential buildings. We want to keep it here. I would just add certainly second everything David says about the significance of the house. It is arguably the most significant house built in America in the 20th century and by part of you it is unique at this time because it is also at risk. But first with as you say has been a good steward but it is now up for sale at Sotheby's several twelth up for auction. There are no legal protections on it. There is at least one individual that is interested in buying it and moving it which would be an architectural disaster of the first order. In our view because MS decided this very special house in a very
special place and that's on the banks of the Fox River in Plano I had to take it out of its original context would be to do great damage to its significance. Sell this this. Building deserves to be a museum. We think it deserves to be open to the public. In addition to being preserved we have come together to organizations in a partnership it's really a wonderful partnership and I can't tell you how much I appreciate the leadership that they have all been an LPC I am bringing you this so that we can hopefully purchase this building at auction several 12 and it will become a national trust historic site. But it would be operated by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois and this is a perfect arrangement from our point of view and the kind of partnership that that we think will will bring the greatest value to this very significant structure. Let me let me ask you you know yet another very important. Question because it deals with the issue of rights of ownership. There would have been a time when it would have been
possible for this building to be placed on the Illinois Register of Historic Places and that would mean that it would be protected from being torn down or any major alterations and any changes that the person wanted to make essentially that they could not do that. Then one hundred eighty nine. The General Assembly passed an amendment prohibiting the state from adding property to the register if the owner doesn't consent to the designation. So here now we come down to what is a very difficult issue. And you know all sorts of ways and that is balancing the individual property rights of an owner of a house like this against what we think are some sort of common interest and preserving part of our cultural heritage like this bill I mean how how do you resolve that conflict between some kind of idea of a common interest and the rights
of. Individual or property owners. Well clearly there has to be a balance here. Property rights under our system deserve great respect and we give them great respect but so to community rights the preservation of historic signal structures are of great significance. That's why David made reference to earlier to preservation ordinances and different communities in Illinois. There is no such ordinance in Plato or in that county protecting this structure. I wish there were. When it comes to protecting individual sites it does take her consent whether either through the kind of place but the national or state register that you mentioned or to be a position of an easement which is it which is a device that we increasingly use to protect historic structures like this and David Bob and I have agreed that one of the first things we will do if we acquire this property is to put a protective easement on it so that it can't be moved or
altered at any time in the future. But the things that we do David when when communities come to us and say you know we are very upset because 25 percent of our historic building stock of our town has disappeared in the last 10 years. And we want to protect it. So we want to enact a preservation ordinance. And the advice. We always give them is that if you're going to go to the trouble to create an ordinance it has to be an ordinance that carries with it no owner consent provision. But it also carries the responsibility for the community to do a very good solid survey of what their historic resources are preservationists. Some preservationists are are not well educated in terms of architectural history and it may be difficult for them to distinguish
between what's truly a wonderful building and what truly is not a wonderful building and therefore it takes some professional expertise on the part of a community to objectively look at their historic resources and rank them in a very very well done survey. Then the community can say OK here are the hundred fifty or two hundred fifty structures in our town which we know objectively have great historic or architectural importance and we will enhance the public benefit. Concept in our community by enacting a landmark ordinance which protects these 150 buildings without any owner consent provision. Well we have a number of other callers on one try to at least get through three as many as we can in the time remains Let's go next to or ban a line to you. Well good morning. Yes I'm your guest have been discussing the importance of saving the best of our built
environment. I was hoping for comments on the environment that we're building today. I think about traditional The power source and they can be at least the ones that are still around you to sleep. And they tend to feel down oh no that not everything that was you know just years ago or more was a great quality and worth saving. But it's kind of hard. See anybody fighting in another 50 or 75 years. NORRIS Jeff Pollack recently what are we building now that will be worth saving fifty or seventy five years. Well that's a very good question and in my view it's a troubling question because we're not building enough that I think is going to be worth preserving in 40 or 50 years you know we used to put a lot of time and effort and money into building great public structures whether they're courthouses or schools or colleges and universities. That's because we are the function that took place in those buildings whether it was justice or education or whatever. That's not happening anymore or at least not enough to
the schools are largely pink boxes characterless windowless. It's questionable even though well they're serving their educational functions. That's one of the reasons we're trying to preserve neighborhood schools for a whole range of reasons. There is some good architecture being done and some very creative and innovative architecture being done by contemporary architecture. Finding its way often enough in my view into the public realm that's disturbing particularly for public buildings or concert. That's certainly true for richer or new retail concerts or you know we become a nation of strip malls. And as we all know others Oh it's awfully hard to find character in the strip. I think deep adik is absolutely right. And we do we don't we don't want to say categorically that there are good architects using good materials and building very good buildings. But the but the percentage is very very small compared to what it was say
before the Second World War. Planned obsolescence is certainly a concept that we've all not only grown to live with but in general it's accepted by the building community. It's a very very difficult situation. We I mean we we have we have grown used. We have been accustomed to mediocrity architecturally and we don't mind it a bit anymore. Album do you have any suggestions for how communities can try to encourage higher quality and in their areas. I think professionals on planning commissions and building committees you know people who people who are educated and conversant in design architecture construction techniques. It's a level of education and a level of professionalism that many
communities have trouble finding. It says too many too often people and communities are too willing to accept what's presented to them but they don't have to. Communities can determine what what they want their character to be what they what the community character to be about includes design and architecture at a big box retailer comes to the community has every right to say we don't like that design we think you should improve the design of that location and make it fit into our community. Thank you very much. All right thanks for the call let's go to Chicago and line number three. Hello. My question General on it comes out of a specific point it kind of ties into the last caller's question. The specific situation coming out of the effort to save the rock she wrote promissory note. I'm a South Side of Chicago this is a community that has done what what your guests have
suggested which is work together and decided together in an extraordinarily unified way to try to save this historic park structure and are battling against the government and just the city government which is at times reluctant at times hostile to that. And so my question is if you want to if you could talk a little bit about some strategies within that dynamic one which I think your government represents the public option rather than being a with a private developer a community that recognizes this historic resource and wants to save it. Actually working against the government what I did as a strategy it working within that act. I should i should remind the caller that the park district here in Chicago as wonderful as they have been on
the rehabilitation and restoration of park buildings throughout the city as well as parks boathouses beach houses they've done a phenomenal job. But it is it is the same said agency that's responsible for Soldier Field. You know there are times I'm afraid there are times when. Deals are cut and put in place. Sometimes not. And with public transparency. And you know you can go all the way to the Supreme Court of the state of Illinois and it's not going to make a difference. Politics is a very very important part of preservation. And I think the preservation movement if it can integrate itself with the political process as deeply and as early as possible you can avoid situations like this. But
sometimes sometimes the politics are just so strong that there's nothing you can do about it. In this case. The private property that is the consent of the other big choir Trish Stuart preservation works against the public because the owner it is the government that is the park district. Refusing to give their consent for preservation is to block a private owner using circular provision. All they really have no question about it Would that it worked so I hope you take some comfort from the fact that we are very we at the national press are very much on your side on this issue I just recently sent a letter to the authorities urging them to reconsider their position. Thanks to both of you and thanks for answering a question I thank you for the call we had a couple of other callers you will try
again least once had someone on the cell phone here line for Hello. The call of their on line form. Let's go to line 1 then Champaign County. I think yes saved by the cell phone. Speaking of public agencies that have been a bad actor I think that we can point out the Maxwell Street facade and also I think it may turn it into a strip mall not sure on that but that's the University of Illinois land grant university which ought to have as a cultural no cultural value has some value but I guess the corporatization of the university is. That's another discussion on so. That's a good discussion though that we could speak for hours about it. OK we don't have a moment I want to actually if you want to say something about that but also the point about the economics of preservation overtaken building new building as the biggest you know economic phenomenon. There's something to be said for about as far as
you know we don't have this edifice complex anymore we don't have to buy big to buy to build a bigger building and all that sort of thing that we actually ought to be working where people live that opposed creating another mile exactly. There are many arguments supporting that kind of work and one of them increasingly is economics I mean there's great economic value to redoing these older buildings in there in terms of the employment offers in terms of rising property values and so forth. That should not be ignored. There are many developers in town that I've spoken to your in Chicago who have not won preservation bone in their body yet they have to admit to me that it beautifully rehabilitated older building will sell much better and people will be much more much happier with that in the end than anything you know any at least mediocre condominium or or apartment building that that one can build for
$75 a square foot there. There is I think you know even if you even if you're not oriented historically toward anything there is a greater pleasure in living with a beautiful building than a new one provided that the new construction is not of anything more than mediocre value. We weep we battle agencies the University of Illinois I was in Champaign yesterday talking with the University talking with the head of facilities and planning to make sure that they understand the importance of not only the buildings on the on the champagne Urbana campus but also all the all of the important historic resources in the whole university system. Maxwell Street was an atrocious and an egregious ignoring of what was there. The state of Illinois also agreed the advisory council of the historic preservation agency here
- Focus 580
- Producing Organization
- WILL Illinois Public Media
- Contributing Organization
- WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Historic preservation and saving endangered places are the themes of this episode, outlined by host David Inge. Guests include Richard Moe, president of National Trust for Historic Preservation and David Bahlman, Executive Director, Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois. Inge asks how do we decide what buildings are worth saving. Moe outlines the legal definition for buildings or districts to be historic, but also notes how that is not all-encompassing. Moe emphasizes that it is up to the community to decide what is worth saving to tailor it to local needs and values. Moe notes that the most vital cities combine the best of old architecture with new architecture, and how Chicago is a compelling city that subscribes to this belief. Next discussed are economic incentives to use historic preservation for residential and commercial buildings. The men then discuss Ludwig Mies van de Rohes Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois and the preservation of the home.
- Broadcast Date
- Art and Culture; community; historic preservation
- No copyright statement in content.
- Media type
Guest: Moe, Richard
Guest: Bahlman, David
Host: Inge, David
Producer: Brighton, Jack
Producing Organization: WILL Illinois Public Media
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: cpb-aacip-3a415b9fd53 (Filename)
Format: Zip drive
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: cpb-aacip-00144929a98 (Filename)
Format: Zip drive
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “Focus 580; Historic Preservation and Saving Endangered Places,” 2003-12-02, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 3, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-16-rb6vx06j76.
- MLA: “Focus 580; Historic Preservation and Saving Endangered Places.” 2003-12-02. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 3, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-16-rb6vx06j76>.
- APA: Focus 580; Historic Preservation and Saving Endangered Places. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-16-rb6vx06j76