March 11, 2008

Chicago Sucks at Historic Preservation

"Pave paradise, put up a parking lot."

Ald. Joe Moore up in the 49th ward had a real opportunity to find a reuse and revitalization project for the North Shore School, formerly the Birchwood Country Club, up in Rogers Park. Instead, the owner tore down this beautiful old building and is going to put up a parking lot of all things. I just can't believe there was not a single viable reuse project that would make for a better alternative; a private parking lot at this site, right on the lake front, is a poor use of land.

Craig at The Broken Heart of Rogers Park links to some of the issues and Jocelyn at Rogers Park Neighbor nicely sums up my outrage. Here's an excerpt of the announcement from Joe's office:

Fortunately, however, the existing greenspace surrounding the building will be preserved. The parking lot will cover only the footprint of the existing building. Ms. Triem also intends to use permeable pavement for the parking lot, which will prevent water run-off and is a much more environmentally friendly material than traditional asphalt.
It sounds kinda lame to say, "Well, a bit of history is gone, folks, but at least the parking lot will use green technology."

Portrait of Miss Florence Chandler, wearing a costume and holding a tambourine at the Birchwood Country Club, located at Chase Avenue and Lake Michigan
in the Rogers Park community area of Chicago, Illinois, 1916.
DN-0066108, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society.


Bill Morton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Morton said...

It's a damn shame that Joe Moore allowed the North Shore School to be demolished.

You know, the lot is not even a paved for parking after all of this time.

What a waste.

Joanne said...

Bill, It makes me sad whenever I look at this vintage picture. I took a tour of the School during an open house a few years back, and was impressed with how nice a building it was. I was flabbergasted when I first learned the owner wanted to demolish it.


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