CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois, a statewide historic preservation advocacy nonprofit organization, is now accepting nominations for its 2021 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. The annual Most Endangered list is Landmarks Illinois’ longest-running advocacy program and calls attention to historic and culturally significant sites throughout the state that are threatened with deterioration, demolition or inappropriate development.

Community organizations, neighborhood groups, preservation advocates and residents of Illinois are encouraged to submit a nomination by January 22, 2021. Historic properties nominated to the 2021 Most Endangered list are not required to be locally or nationally designated landmarks. They may be places largely unknown to the general public but are valued by local residents and celebrate the history, traditions and culture of the community.

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“In every neighborhood, in every city and town in Illinois, there are places that have meaning to people, that tell the story of our past and deserve to be part of our future,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “Yet too often these places are overlooked and go without much-needed maintenance and rehabilitation. Our Most Endangered program focuses resources and attention on our state’s top imperiled sites as well as the people who are dedicated to their preservation.”

The 2021 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois will be announced in the spring during Landmarks Illinois’ 50th anniversary year. This important organizational milestone only bolsters Landmarks Illinois’ mission to support people saving our historic places — work that will continue to play an important role in our state’s economic recovery from the ongoing pandemic.

“The rehabilitation and reuse of our historic sites has repeatedly been shown to create jobs, spark economic activity and lead to further investment in neighborhoods, all of which is greatly needed after this difficult year,” said McDonald. “Preservation of our ‘Most Endangered’ places improves the lives of people in the community and creates a more equitable and inclusive Illinois.”

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Benefits of ‘Most Endangered’ designation

Properties included on Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois often receive a higher level of statewide attention from residents, governing bodies and media outlets. A listing can also help bolster local advocacy and legislative efforts that help lead to a site’s eventual preservation.

Once a property is included on Landmarks Illinois’ Most Endangered list, Landmarks Illinois staff remain committed to its preservation efforts, continuing communication and relationships with local advocates and providing resources (including small grants) and connections where possible. In many cases, this has led to years- or decades-long relationships between local advocates and Landmarks Illinois. Staff at Landmarks Illinois can also serve as a link to pro bono services from other preservation professionals such as architects, engineers, historians and more.

Since the Most Endangered program began in 1995, more than 100 previously “Most Endangered’ designated sites have been saved from demolition or stabilized. Dozens more have reinvestment projects pending or underway.

Those interested in submitting a nomination are also encouraged to take a look at the sites named to past Most Endangered lists during the program’s more than 25-year history. Additional program and nomination guidelines can be found in the online nomination form.

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