Troubled Landmarks Rule in Chicago Could Upset Preservation Across U.S.

Chicago's historic landmarks ordinance is being challenged in the courts and is expected to be ruled unconstitutional. Blair Kamin discusses the impact the rule change could have on historic preservation in Chicago and beyond.
June 7, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Yet the effort to safeguard this mid-1960s classic is grinding forward rather than speeding ahead. That is a consequence, some preservation advocates contend, of a court challenge that could jeopardize Chicago's 41-year-old landmark ordinance-and the 281 individual landmarks and 51 districts it safeguards, including Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall, Louis Sullivan's former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. store on State Street, and Wrigley Field.

In January, the Illinois Appellate Court deemed the law to be unconstitutionally vague. When the Illinois Supreme Court denied the city's appeal of that ruling last Thursday, it sent the case back to the Cook County Circuit Court, where a judge is thought to have little choice but to strike down the law.

The case has jolted historic preservationists around the country, and for good reason."

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Published on Thursday, June 4, 2009 in Chicago Tribune
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