Thompson Center, Neighborhood Churches Among Endangered Sites

Bob Roberts
February 27, 2019 - 9:11 pm

(Photo by Brian Nguyen/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Each year around this time, Preservation Chicago updates its list of the city's seven most endangered buildings.

This year, it had trouble keeping it to 20.

The O'Hare International Airport Rotunda makes the latest list because of the planned reconstruction of Terminal 2. The circular building that once housed the Seven Continents Restaurant, built in 1963, lies within the original portion of the airport that may be demolished.

Designed by a trailblazing female architect Gertrude Kerbis, the building is "a remarkable midcentury modern structure," the group's announcement said.

Meantime, the Helmut Jahn-designed James R. Thompson Center makes the list because state government would like to sell the asset. Jackson Park is on the list because of the proposed Obama Presidential Center and Tiger Woods-designed PGA golf course.

Churches predominate. The Second Church of Christ, Scientist merited its own listing. A dozen grand Catholic churches are grouped together.

Preservation Chicago President Ward Miller said each is endangered by the Archdiocesan "Renew My Church" initiative.

He would like to see closed churches re-purposed as community centers.

Topping its list of endangered churches is Holy Family, dating to 1857. It is Chicago's second-oldest church, the "mother church" to Loyola University and St. Ignatius High School, and not coincidentally, Miller is a parishioner.

Another church on the list that has received extensive publicity is the Henry Schlacks-designed St. Adalbert in Pilsen, "mother church" to Chicago's Polish community.