Walgreens' Wicker Park store receives a Landmarks of Illinois' Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award


Damen Ave. is on the right and Milwaukee Ave. is on the left**

The Walgreens Drug Store, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., in the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues, the heart of Wicker Park, received one of Landmarks of Illinois' prestigious  Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards for 2013. It was for adaptive reuse. It opened in December 2012.


Damen Avenue side**

“This year’s winners of a Richard H. Driehaus Preservation Award demonstrate that preservation is not only a tool to rejuvenate a vacant building, which many of our award winners were, but a key revitalization strategy for business, government, and community purposes. Historic places are leading Illinois to a better future,” said Bonnie McDonald, President of Landmarks Illinois.” 


With streetcar wires overhead, this photo was taken pre 1950*

Built by the Noel State Bank, headed by Joseph R. Noel, the building was opened with a public reception on July 30, 1921*. Designed by Gardner C. Coughlen in a Classical Revival style, the construction date is credited as 1919. 

The triangular-shaped building is wrapped in white terra cotta. Large pillars are topped with Corinthian capitals standing like centurions on each side of large windows. The impressive stately building is topped with a prominent cornice, which in its original construction with balustrades looked  reminiscent of the sides of a stately sailing ship. 


Skylight in center of ceiling


Escalators on the Milwaukee Ave. side provide access to all three levels of the building

Walgreens maintained most of the equally impressive interior. The two-story high coffered plaster ceiling was cleaned and each piece of art glass from the hexagonal skylight was removed and restored. The bank vault was maintained as a "Vitamin Vault." 

"This project is an outstanding example of how a corporate retailer can successfully reuse an existing historic building and make it a centerpiece for the neighborhood. We encourage Walgreens to emulate this dedication to context-sensitive design and preservation across the country," Landmarks Illinois stated. 

The other 8 award winners around the state were:

  • Randolph Tower, Chicago—Project of the Year for Rehabilitation
  • Wildey Theatre, Edwardsville—President’s Award for Rehabilitation
  • Harper Theater, Chicago—Rehabilitation
  • Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail, Columbia—Education
  • Livingston County Courthouse, Pontiac—Restoration
  • Pomeroy Apartments, Chicago—Rehabilitation
  • Pure Oil Building, Geneva—Advocacy
  • Washington Square Apartments, Moline—Rehabilitation 

Walgreens' Michael Krasucki, Real Estate Vice President, and Donovan Pepper, Director Government Relations, with Bonnie McDonald

This is the 19th year Landmarks Illinois has presented these awards, aided by a generous grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The awards are designed to honor those whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. The award itself is a small-scale replica of the entrance arch and trading room from the Chicago Stock Exchange building, which was demolished in 1972. The fight to save this structure led to the founding of Landmarks Illinois in 1971. In addition, winners receive a $500 cash award. 

This year’s awards jury was: Andrew Ahitow, Chicago Apartment Finders, Chicago (and Landmarks Illinois Board member); Dennis Garlick, W.E. O’Neil Construction, Chicago; Corlis Moody, Quinn Chapel A.M.E Church, Chicago; Amy Munro, City of Elgin, Elgin; Rachel Will, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Chicago; Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois, Chicago.

This project also received a Chicago Landmarks Preservation award earlier this year.

*Wicker Park from 1673 Thru 1929 and Walking Tour Guide, Elaine Coorens

**Two current exterior photos courtesy of Landmarks Illinois



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