Elgin Field Study Highlights National Preservation Conference

Elgin Field Study Highlights National Preservation Conference

Elgin’s historic preservation efforts have earned it a place in a National Preservation Conference taking place Thursday (Nov. 16, 2017).

On that day, Elgin will be one of the participating field study locations for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s PastForward Conference to be held in Chicago. The conference is the leading educational and networking event for individuals interested in the field of preservation.

The Elgin field study, titled “Working Around the Clock to Preserve the Mid-Century,” is a big deal — a unique tour that will explore the modern movement in Elgin’s civic, commercial, institutional and religious structures.

There are 50 attendees participating in the sold out field study with Bill Briska, architectural historian and Christen Sundquist, Historic Preservation Planner, leading the tour along with Eric Keane of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and Anthony Rubano of the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office. Mayor David Kaptain will welcome the group upon their arrival to City Hall.

The tour will include the following sites:

  • Church of the Brethren – General Offices: The Church of the Brethren – General Offices located at 1451 Dundee Avenue was built in 1959 and designed by Frazier, Raftery, Orr and Fairbank. This structure is considered an excellent example of the mid-century style.
  • Elgin Civic Complex – City Hall, The Hemmens, Elgin Post Office: Elgin’s City Hall (1968), The Hemmens (1969) and the Elgin Post Office (1966) were designed by prominent Chicago architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The buildings were designed to reflect beauty and function creating a new era of design in governmental architecture.
  • Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court: Built in 1966 and designed by A. Richard Williams (Architect of Record – Lundeen & Hilfiger), the Appellate Court building displays an elegant combination of contrasting materials including plate glass, brick, wood, concrete and metal. The building is indubitably a child of the Mid-Century Modern period.
  • Union National Bank: The Union National Bank opened its doors in 1904 at its present location. In 1960, the bank demolished its existing building and built the present main office on the same site. This building is an excellent Mid-Century Modern example of how the design and the materials, such as concrete, steel, and marble, reflect meaning of solidity, dependability, strength, and affluence, all great characteristics for a bank.
  • Elgin Mental Health Center – Medical Building, Laundry Building: The Elgin Mental Health Center was founded in 1872 and consisted of a variety of buildings located in Elgin’s southwest side. The Laundry Building, built in 1966, was the first of two buildings designed on the campus by notable Chicago architect, Bertrand Goldberg. The building was structurally innovative for its time due to its use of concrete and the absence of interior columns. Located near the Laundry Building is Goldberg’s Medical Surgical Building built in 1967. The building is considered a prototype to Goldberg’s circular plan used on many of his later hospital designs.

The last time the National Preservation Conference came to Chicago was 1996, at which time Elgin was a part of a suburban tour along with St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and Aurora.

The 2017 conference takes place Tuesday, Nov. 14, to Friday, Nov. 17, and more information can be found at savingplaces.org/conference.

SOURCE: city of Elgin news release