10 Ill. Historic Sites 'Endangered' Without Federal Tax Credit

Apr 2, 2014

The Uptown Theatre in Chicago is on Landmarks Illinois' 2014 list of endangered historic sites.
Credit wikipedia

  An Illinois preservation group has put out its annual list of most endangered historic places. State funding may be a long shot, but enthusiasts are working to save a federal tax credit.

Among the ten endangered sites is a camp in Senator Pam Althoff's (R-McHenry) district. Camp Algonquin, in unincorporated McHenry County, is a rare relic of the open-air camp movement at the turn of the last century.

Althoff, a Republican from McHenry, says the community can save the camp if local advocates campaign effectively.

"Everybody always looks at the bottom line, which is money," she said. "So we have to find a value to these properties so we can explain to people that it is worth their hard-earned dollars to preserve them."

The biggest savior of endangered historic sites is private donations, says Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois. She says these dollars are now endangered too, as a longstanding federal tax credit is on the chopping block in Congress.

"We look around this list and but for this incentive being here, it may be nearly impossible for us to catalyze the private investment that we need," McDonald said.

She says without the federal credit, private money could be lost to other states that offer historic preservation tax credits.

A proposed credit in Illinois may come before the House this session.

Also on the list is the Uptown Theatre on Broadway and the McAuley Schoolhouse in West Chicago — the last operating one-room school in the state.