Chicago's "American Idol of Preservation" Winners Announced

Posted on: November 14th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

onleongh.jpgThe Viking Ship won.

The results of the second American Express Partners in Preservation popularity contest are in. In what's been dubbed the "American Idol for Preservation," Chicago-area voters had five weeks to cast an online vote for their favorite from a list of 25 historic structures, including a 115-year-old replica of a Viking Ship in Raven, Ill.

Announced yesterday, each of the 15 winners will receive grants totaling $1 million; even the 10 sites that were not selected will get $5,000. A Chinatown building, On Leong Merchant Association Building (Pui Tak Center), won the most votes. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley served on the advisory committee, which, along with executives from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, selected the other 14 projects.

Last year, voters in San Francisco chose their favorite historic sites from that city. Winners must report their progress to the National Trust within 18 months.

"By voting for their favorite historic places, people helped save treasures in communities from downtown to Lake County," David J. Brown, executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a statement. "An eclectic group of historic sites participated in the program, and their enthusiasm and dedication spurred tremendous community involvement."

The 2007 American Express Partners in Preservation award winners are:

  • On Leong Merchant Association Building (Pui Tak Center) will receive a grant of $110,000
  • Bohemian National Cemetery: granted $26,000 for repairs to the wooden watering tank
  • Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall: granted $55,000 for restoration of original stained glass windows
  • Great Lakes Naval Station, Building 42, (The Hostess House): granted $55,000 for the nation's only museum and archives devoted to naval recruiting
  • Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral: granted $75,000 for exterior decorative sheet metal repairs to protect interior from further water damage
  • Homan Square Power House: granted $31,000 to create a unique school lab space for student experiments with heat, airflow and energy generation
  • Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory: granted $31,000 for building restoration and conversion into the nation's only Puerto Rican art museum
  • Peabody Estate at Mayslake: granted $80,000 for rehabilitation of the solarium
  • Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church: granted $100,000 for fractured kitchen floor beam repairs where daycare and weekly meals are prepared
  • Robie House: granted $55,000 for restoration of the Guest Bedroom
  • South Side Community Art Center: granted $67,000 for renovations to safely store artwork and to provide better public access
  • Spring Grove Fish Hatchery: granted $65,000 for restoration to original appearance and conversion for use as a nature center
  • Unity Temple: granted $80,000 for a roof drainage system and to protect interior finishes
  • Viking Ship: granted $52,000 for a new support structure and stabilization
  • Von Steuben High School: granted $68,000 for exterior repairs of terra cotta lintels

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Preservation Magazine