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The Consumers Building, 220 S. State St., (from left), and the Century Building, 202 S. State St., lead off Preservation Chicago’s 2024 list of notable properties that could face demolition.

The Consumers Building, 220 S. State St., (from left), and the Century Building, 202 S. State St., lead off Preservation Chicago’s 2024 list of notable properties that could face demolition.

Anthony Vazquez

Century-old State Street skyscrapers hit top ranking on list of most endangered Chicago buildings

Two early 20th century skyscrapers on State Street lead off an advocacy group’s 2024 list of notable properties that could face demolition.

The pair of buildings continues Preservation Chicago’s fight with the federal government, which wants to demolish the towers it owns at 202 and 220 S. State. The terra cotta-clad sentries from another era have made the organization’s list in four prior years.

But the rest of the group’s annual “Chicago 7” list of buildings it deems most endangered is devoted to newcomers as preservation priorities, sites that testify to different parts of the city’s history. They have added beauty or style to the streetscape, but some are vacant and could be lost.

“We are trying to encourage preservation and reuse of these structures. They are endangered, and many are worth landmark status,” said Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago.

The group said lists from past years have focused public attention on important sites, turning “lost causes” into victories. Examples include the Thompson Center in the Loop, the Old Cook County Hospital, the Ramova Theatre and a West Loop building that launched house music.

The 2024 list was announced Wednesday with an event at the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Drive.

“The very identity of Chicago is tied to our historic buildings and the stories they tell,” said Eleanor Esser Gorski, the center’s CEO. “These are the architecturally and culturally significant structures and spaces that give our city its character.”

Here are properties on this year’s list:



Scaffolding, seen last year, wrapping around the buildings at 202 and 220 S. State St. in the Loop.

Scaffolding, seen last year, wrapping around the buildings at 202 and 220 S. State St. in the Loop.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere

Century and Consumers buildings

202 and 220 S. State

What they are:Early steel-frame skyscrapers from the Chicago School of Architecture, works of the influential architecture firms Holabird and Roche (Century building) and Jenney, Mundie & Jensen (Consumers building) and catering to small shops and offices that used to prevail on State Street.

Why endangered:The properties abut the Dirksen federal building, and the federal government wants them razed to improve security. Congress has appropriated $52 million to tear them down, but hearings about their future are under way. Downtown business interests don’t want to see an empty corner on the retail street. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has called for landmark status for the properties, but the City Council has yet to take action. Landmark protection would not bind the federal government, but might build public pressure for an alternative, such as turning the buildings into an archives repository for several organizations.



The cluster of buildings at the northwest corner of Sheffield and Belden avenues on the 'Chicago 7' list.

The cluster of buildings at the northwest corner of Sheffield and Belden avenues on the ‘Chicago 7' list.

Sheffield-Belden Group

What they are:At the northwest corner of Sheffield and Belden avenues, they are five structures, some from the 1890s and part of the Sheffield National Register Historic District, where much demolition has taken place. DePaul University uses part of the property for offices.

Why endangered:DePaul wants to replace the structures with an athletic center. Preservation Chicago said such a change “will adversely impact the streetwall, historic character and human scale” of the area. Neighborhood groups have sided with preservationists, who have urged DePaul to build its athletic center on a parking lot at Sheffield and Fullerton avenues.



The former Turner Manufacturing Co. building, 4147 W. Ogden Ave., designed by Alfred Alschuler.

The former Turner Manufacturing Co. building, 4147 W. Ogden Ave., designed by Alfred Alschuler.

Ogden Keeler industrial buildings

4100 block of West Ogden Avenue and 2300 block of South Keeler Avenue

What they are:Three industrial buildings that formerly housed Western Felt Works and Turner Manufacturing Co. Both have an exterior appearance little changed from a hundred years ago. Architect Alfred Alschuler, an important Chicago figure, designed the Turner buildings.

Why endangered: IDI Logistics has proposed replacing the buildings with a warehouse on a nearly 15-acre site. Preservation Chicago said a “severe, windowless development” would increase truck traffic and detract from the appearance of the historic Route 66.



Schulze Baking Co. building at 40 E. Garfield Blvd.

Schulze Baking Co. building at 40 E. Garfield Blvd.

Schulze Co. Baking Plant

40 E. Garfield Blvd.

What it is: The former home of a baking firm that used its five-story layout, built for heavy equipment, to produce 150,000 loaves of bread each day. The cream-colored terra cotta and glazed brick made the place shine. Preservationists said the plant closed in 2004.

Why endangered:The owner is 1547 Critical Systems Realty, which has tried for years to market it as a data center. In January, the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate firm listed it for sale. The 1914 building is on the National Register of Historic Places but has no local landmark designation and could be demolished.



The soaring entrance of the Chicago Vocational School, 2100 E. 87th St.

The soaring entrance of the Chicago Vocational School, 2100 E. 87th St.

Chicago Vocational School

2100 E. 87th St.

What it is:One of the most architecturally distinguished Chicago Public Schools and commonly known as CVS — not to be confused with the drugstore chain, it was built from 1938 to 1941 to prepare high school students for work in the trades. It was designed for around 6,000 students. It has only about 800 now and emphasizes STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — along with college preparedness.

Why endangered:There are no plans to close or downsize the school, but its supporters said CPS will need money for deferred maintenance and to modernize its curriculum. Preservation Chicago has called for the building to be landmarked, which could generate city funds for its renovation.



The All of Mankind mural by William Walker before it was painted over.

The All of Mankind mural by William Walker before it was painted over.

All of Mankind mural/Stranger’s Home Missionary Baptist Church

617 W. Evergreen St.

What it is:A 1901 church that for years was in the shadow of the Cabrini-Green housing project. It became home for interior and exterior murals by noted Chicago artist William Walker that depicted Black history and looked forward to a world at peace.

Why endangered:The murals have been painted over, although many believe they could be restored. The Cabrini Art House Project has led a fundraising drive to purchase the building and turn it into a community center, along with restoring the murals. But the site is surrounded by Chicago Housing Authority land and could be targeted for demolition. Records show the site’s owner is a family trust in Highland Park.



The historic Swift Mansion at 4500 S. Michigan Ave. in Bronzeville, after it was damaged by fire.

The historic Swift Mansion at 4500 S. Michigan Ave. in Bronzeville, after it was damaged by fire.

Swift-Morris mansion

4500 S. Michigan Ave.

What it is:A Queen Anne-styled house, also called Swift Mansion, that recalls the South Side’s “gold coast” of the early 20th century, it became a base for businesses, and at various times, the Cook County Bar Association and Chicago Urban League. Its current owner is the Inner City Youth and Adult Foundation. The home was connected to the Swift family of meatpacking fame.

Why endangered:Last December, a fire heavily damaged an upper floor, attic and roof, but preservationists said the ground-floor oak paneling and carved ornament appeared to be intact. “Considerable resources will be required to bring the house back to its former glory, but it is an otherwise stable, primarily stone structure that can surely be reconfigured for residential, commercial, or mixed use,” Preservation Chicago said.

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