Preservation Group: Save Former HQ of ‘Chicago Defender’

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By: E&P Staff

The Chicago Defender’s now-vacant headquarters heads the list of 12 architecturally significant buildings that the historic preservation group Landmarks Illinois says should be preserved for posterity.

In an announcement in front of the Defender office building on the Near South Side of Chicago, Landmarks Illinois President David Bahlman said the Defender building and others on the Chicagoland Watch List “are important community touchstones, which need to be preserved.” The preservation effort was reported in a Chicago Tribune article by staff reporter Tony C. Yang.

The Defender building was designed by Philip Maher, an architect in the Prairie School style, and built in 1936 as the headquarters of the Illinois Automobile Club. The black-oriented Defender bought the building in the 1950s, filling in an Olympic-sized pool to house its presses, but otherwise preserving its dark wood interior.

The Defender sold the building and moved to a downtown high rise earlier this year.

The Tribune reported the building has some protection as part of the Motor Row Historic District, but said there has been some vandalism in the months it has lain vacant.

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