Historic Landmarks

In Chicago, there are two layers of historic landmark designation; National Register of Historic Places and the Chicago Landmarks. Both of these designations recognize the value and significance landmarks contribute to the cultural and built landscape of the city. Here are the differences between the two, which are often misunderstood:

Chicago Landmarks

  • These buildings’ exteriors are only protected.
  • Demolition is not allowed.
  • In order to make alterations to the building’s exterior, review and approval is needed by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.
  • Permit fees are waived for Chicago Landmark buildings.
  • The landmark designation of areas, districts, places, buildings, structures, work of art, or other objects must meet at least two of the following criteria: value as an example of City, state or National heritage; location a site of a significant historic event, identification with a significant person, exemplary architecture, work of significant architect or designer, representation of a significant theme and a unique or distinctive visual feature. Examples of these City-wide would be The Wrigley Building, Buckingham Fountain, etc. In the 25th Ward, one of the most prominent examples is Thalia Hall on 18th Street in Pilsen.

National Register of Historic Places Landmarks

  • Honorable designation on the National Register of Historic Places, joins thousands of other prestigious buildings.
  • This designation offers no protection from demolition.
  • Incentive based program – this designation does offer substantial tax benefits for buildings rehabbed under certain guidelines.
  • You don’t have to follow the guidelines, unless you want to receive the tax benefits.
  • There is no review process for construction on buildings with this designation.

Landmarks in the 25th Ward

 Chicago Landmark:

  • Site of the Origin of the Chicago Fire of 1871 –  Dekoven (1050s) and Jefferson (600w) St. Commemorative sculpture,
  • “Pillar of Fire,” by Egon Weiner.  1961.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge – South of 19th Street, East of Lumber Street (South Branch of the Chicago River)
  • Schoenhofen Brewery – 18th Street and Canalport Avenue
  • Thalia Hall – 1215-25 W. 18thStreet
  • Jane Addams Hull-House – 800 S. Halsted Street

 National Register:

  • Pilsen Historic District (attached database  PDF)
  • South Loop Printing House District – Roughly bounded by Taylor, Polk, Wells, Congress and State Streets
  • United States Post Office –  433 W. Van Buren Street
  • Raymond M. Hilliard Center Historic District – Cermak Road & S. State Street
  • Automatic Electric Company Building – 1001 W. Van Buren Street

    Automatic Electric Company Building

*All contributing buildings in a National Register Historic District are eligible for the historic tax incentives.

 Chicago Landmark & National Register:

  • St. Ignatius College Prep Building ~ 1076 W. Roosevelt Road

 Historic Landmarks and Preservation – Helpful Links

Database of all buildings in Chicago: Chicago Historic Resources Survey

Chicago Landmarks List 

National Register of Historic Places – State of Illinois

Historic Preservation Tax Incentives