Landmarks Commission votes to support creation of Near North Side Landmark District
Loop North News

River North

(Above) Homes built in the late 19th century at 42, 44, and 46 East Superior Street in present-day River North. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

16-Feb-20 – Fifteen properties built on the Near North Side between 1871 and 1923 would be protected in a new landmark district that now has the support of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Department of Planning and Development

(Above) Locations of 15 buildings in the Near North Side Multiple Property Landmark District. 1 - 642 North Dearborn Street, 2 - 17 East Erie Street, 3 - 14 West Erie Street, 4 - 110 West Grand Avenue, 5 - 1 East Huron Street, 6 - 671 North State Street, 7 - 9 East Huron Street, 8 - 10 East Huron Street, 9 - 16 West Ontario Street, 10 - 18 West Ontario Street, 11 - 212 East Ontario Street, 12 - 222 East Ontario Street, 13 - 716 North Rush Street, 14 - 42 East Superior Street, 15 - 44-46 East Superior Street.

If approved by the Chicago City Council, the Near North Side Multiple Property Landmark District would cover an area in River North and Streeterville bounded by Chicago Avenue, Fairbanks Court, Grand Avenue, and LaSalle Drive.

All the properties built in this general area were once fashionable homes for the well-to-do in a neighborhood known as McCormickville. The buildings are a time capsule of architectural styles popular in the 19th century, including Italianate, Romanesque Revival, Second Empire, and Queen Anne. Nearly half were built in the first decade after the Chicago Fire of 1871.

“Despite the great fire, which essentially leveled the neighborhood, its residents rebuilt and attracted new families to the area and enabled its continued growth and opulent development during the Gilded Age,” according to a report published by the city’s Department of Planning and Development.

Among the properties that would be protected are three buildings on East Superior Street that had been slated for demolition to make way for a skyscraper. The 60-story Carillon Tower was proposed by New York-based developer Symmetry Property Development but was not approved by the city.

The three-story house at 42 East Superior Street was designed by the Chicago firm of Treat & Foltz for Dr. Herrick Johnson, a pastor associated with the Fourth Presbyterian Church, which was once located in the same block as the Johnson house before its current location was built on Michigan Avenue.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

The houses at 44 and 46 East Superior Street (left) were built in 1872 for Richard Hennesey and Patrick Hennesey, operators of a construction firm, Hennesey Brothers.

The commission voted in favor of the landmark district on February 6.

Preservation group says more landmark districts are needed

Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, says his organization will advocate for more landmark districts.

“We need more of these types of historic and protective districts throughout our city, and we want to challenge our elected officials and city planners to create more such areas in the future,” said Miller (right). “Once these historic structures are gone, they’re gone forever. These types of buildings really do make our cities more livable, more walkable, and much more interesting.”

Ward Miller

Miller says many of the protected structures were designed by noted architects and “tell a story of the community.”

“They provide a sense of scale, a place where sunlight can reach sidewalks, a place for small businesses to thrive, in addition to a sense of history and authenticity, in an extremely dense community of residents and tall structures,” said Miller.

 Previous story: New landmark district will save Superior Street row houses from demolition

• Contact Peter von Buol at insidepublicationschicago@gmail.com

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