Illinois Villa Stripped of Landmark Status

Posted on: November 28th, 2007 by Preservation magazine 1 Comment

Villa de Chantal, Rock Island, Ill.The city of Rock Island, Ill., rescinded the local landmark designation of the century-old Villa de Chantal on Nov. 12, clearing the way for its demolition.

The Rock Island-Milan School District has proposed a new $9 million building on the National Register-listed villa's 14-acre site.

The Gothic revival Villa de Chantal was built in four portions, two of which were designed by George Stauduhar and completed by 1906: the chapel, dormitories, and classrooms. The Chaplain's Bungalow, also designed by Stauduhar, was completed in 1919. Edward Lerch built the remaining portion of classrooms in 1929.

In 2005 a fire destroyed part of the chapel's interior, and now the prospect of losing the building completely seems imminent.

"Yes, there was damage on the site, but not so much that it does not qualify as a historic site," says Linda Anderson of the local preservation commission, who lives in a historic district near the villa.

The state historic preservation office, which completed a review of the situation earlier this month, has the final word on its demolition.

"The historic complex retains enough character and integrity to remain listed on the National Register," says Anne Haaker, deputy state historic preservation officer. "We need to ensure, prior to our office allowing the demolition, that all alternatives are completely reviewed and rejected for sound reason."

The new two-story 62,068-square-foot school will serve 550 elementary students.

According to Anderson, the surrounding historic neighborhood is not opposed to the idea of the school, but neighbors "want to have some meaningful input into the design and sense of place for the school in order to retain the 'school in the woods' atmosphere."

- Leah Webster for Preservation Online

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

One Response

  1. Valarie Blasko

    January 26, 2008

    I hope the Villa remains on the National Register of Historic Sites. The Villa still has 3 building still standing after the fire,most of the damage done by vandals.Let the school district build on a site where they’ve already closed schools and the buildings sit. Bricks salvaged from the fire have been saved and cataloged ; like a giant jigsaw puzzle waiting to be put back together. I’d like to think there are interested persons out there who would donate money, material and labor to help rebuild at least part of the Villa that was burned in the fire. To get Lewis Hall converted to Senior Apartments . To see her rise again like a “pheonix from the ashes ” would be awesome.