HPHS Headquarters
Award Recipients
 Marian & Leon Despres
Preservation Award


                                        Harper Theater and the Shoreland Hotel.

The first award was presented to MAC Property Management for the redevelopment of the historic Shoreland Hotel. Opening in 1926, the Shoreland hosted distinguished guests like Elvis Presley, Amelia Earhart, and Al Capone, as well as the University’s own Milton Friedman (A.M. ’33) during its time as a hotel. It was an important entertainment spot in Hyde Park for many years, hosting many banquets, weddings, and bar mitzvahs.

In 1976, the University bought the hotel and converted it into a residence hall. Shoreland Hall housed students until 2008, when, after years of deterioration, the building was bought by MAC, which restored the hotel up to “National Park Service standards for historical preservation,” according to the HPHS. Notably, MAC made sure to restore the 1930s-style ballroom. Today, the Shoreland is a luxury apartment building.

The University received this year’s second award for the “rehabilitation of the Harper Theater buildings.” Built in the arts and crafts style of architecture, the theater originally opened in 1914 as a vaudeville house and was redone as a movie theater in 1935. Harper Theater drew audiences until 2002, when it closed.

The University acquired the buildings that year, intending to convert it into retail space. As it had fallen into a state of disrepair, the theater was nearly demolished. However, Pam Haley, a concerned Hyde Park resident, spearheaded a campaign to save the theater’s buildings. Haley collected between 2,000 and 3,000 signatures in support of preserving the buildings.

“The biggest challenge was probably the fact that the momentum was charged by the University and by various real estate interests,” she said.

Recognizing the community support, the University instead decided to restore the buildings back to their former glory, hiring a developer to refurbish the exterior of the building, rebuild the entrance, and install a copy of the original sign.

Harper Theater reopened in 2012, under the management of Tony Fox, who also owns a movie theater in Rogers Park. According to Associate Vice President for Real Estate Operations James Hennessy, who accepted the award on behalf of the University, it has seen commercial success.

“110,000 people showed up within the first 11 months of the theater [opening],” Hennessy said, adding that it took the Rogers Park location three years to reach this milestone.

“In my opinion, [the Harper Theater restoration] catalyzed the rest of what you see going on in 53rd Street today.”

 Marian & Leon Despres
Preservation Award

Chicago Neighborhood initiatives
David Doig President
for the restoration of 24 historic row houses in the North Pullman neighborhood

University of Chicago, Alicia Muraski, Executive Director
for Planning and Design

Woodlawn Homeowners Association
Linda Thisted and Sidney Hans, Residents
For the creation of planned development 43
Sub Area O on the 57oo Block of South Woodlawn Avenue

Paul Cornell Awards
Stephen A Trefffman
for iminaginative and infirmative documentation and preservation of Hyde Park's unique history.

Jackson Park Advisory Council, Louise McCurry President
For restoring Jackson Park's tradition of leadership in natural history, recreation and historic preservation

Washington Park Conservancy, Madiem Kawa, President
for honoring Frederick Law Olmsted's vision of nature and the democratic spirit in a great city park.

   Jean Block Award
Richard A Courage
For his book, The Muse in Bronzeville
African American Creative Expression in Chicago 1932 - 1950

Paul Cornell Award
Hyde Park Herald Archive

Alex Sagan
Paul Sagan
Bruce Sagan, PUBLISHER
For placing the Hyde Park Herald digital archive online

Special Collections Research Center
of the Joseph Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago
Eileen Ielmini
Head Processing Archivist
Maija Anderson
Former Processing Archivist, now with the Oregon Health and
Sciences University Historical Collections & Archives,
Portland Oregon
Daniel Meyer
Associate Director and University Archivist
For preserving the Hyde Park Historical Society Archives

Jean Block Award
Rebecca Janowitz
For her book, Culture of Opportunity: Obama’s Chicago:
The People, Politics and the Ideas of Hyde Park

Past Marian & Leon Despres Preservation Awards

The Willard Gidwitz House
designed by architect Ralph Rapson in 1947
Leon and Rian Walker, owners
For their historic rehabilitation project

Chicago Public Library
PARMA Conservation
--for the conservation and restoration of the historic murals at the Chicago Public Library Blackstone Branch

Stacy Stewart
Ishmael Smith
Bryanna Stalling
--for advocacy of the Carl Hansberry House as a Chicago Landmark

University of Chicago Law School
-- for the rehabilitation of the Laird Bell Law School Quadrangle

Lisa and Nate Eimer
-- for the restoration of the Frankenthal House, 4825 S. Woodlawn

The Medical Center of the University of Chicago
-- for the preservation of the American School of Correspondence building and for the restoration of its lobby and front elevation

Danny Aucunas
            -- for the restoration of the Vierling House, 4914 S. Greenwood

The Kenwood Open House Committee
The South East Chicago Commission
The Commission on Chicago Landmarks
            -- for establishing the Kenwood Landmark District in 1979

The Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church
The Coalition to Save the Met
      for saving the historic Metropolitan Community Church building
 The University of Chicago
The Save I-House Committee
           -- for saving and rehabilitating the historic International House building
            -- for rehabilitating the historic South Side Savings and Loan building

Marian & Leon Despres
-- for their leadership in establishing the Chicago architectural   
preservation movement

Link to Information about previous awards granted by the Historical Society           

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Last updated 04/16/13