This year Oak Park's Historic Preservation department awarded 12 homes that represent great preservation remodels.
Doug Kaarre, Oak Park's historic preservation urban planner, said awarding residents for preservation work is a great incentive to keep Oak Park looking authentic. Kaarre said most of the buildings in Oak Park were built before the 1930's and maintaing that historic look in Oak Park is important.
"We've acknowledged that preservation is a way to help preserve the character of the village, which is also an economic tool," said Kaarre.
Awards were given to an array of buildings--residences, commercial property and even a church.
200 S. East Ave.: The front porch of this residential property was deteriorating and in need of repair. Using the original drawings by architect Frank D. Thompson the homeowners were able to replicate the porch that originally adorned this 1897 home.
214 S. Elmwood Ave.: The homeowners did a considerable amount of work to remove the asphalt siding, which blankets the entire house in the dark brown color. Underneath the asphalt siding the original clapboard needed repair along with the cedar shingles. This restoration project qualified for the Illinois Historic Property Tax Freeze, which freezes the property's assessed value for 12 years.
526 S. Elmwood Ave.: The asphalt siding was hiding the original look of this 1910 Gunderson home. After removing the asphalt siding the homeowners repaired the original wood clapboard and shingles to help restore the home to its original look.
1053 Lake St.: This commercial building is one of the oldest in downtown Oak Park. Strand and Browne Real Estate renovated this building by removing the aluminum and stone cladding over the facade. The original cast iron columns were waiting for a reveal underneath the aluminum that covered this 1892 storefront.
1111 Lake St.: This storefront was rehabilitated to bring it back to its original look. Work included both repair to the interior and exterior of the building. This building is a remodel from the inside out. The building is now adorned with new signage, lighting and awnings.
875 Lake St.: The Unity Temple was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and this restoration is just the first phase to repair the building. During the restoration a new slab of concrete was added to the south roof that matched the original. Also the drainage system was replaced, which allows water to drain through a sand pipe hidden in one of the four columns in the sanctuary, which was the original design by Frank Lloyd Wright.
208-232 N. Oak Park Ave. and 719-723 Erie St.: The Santa Maria's original terra cotta pieces on the porticos were falling apart and broken in most places. These porticos were no longer stable because the original structure corroded, the steel frame was reinforced and replaced. Most of the original terra cotta pieces were used to build the restored porticos but some pieces were created to fill in the gaps.
217 Home Ave.: The Park District of Oak Park and the Pleasant Home Foundation banned together to maintain and restore the masonry on the Pleasant Home a National Historic Landmark . The large-scale project was made possible by a large group of donors, which included Tourism Cares, Landmarks Illinois, Partners in Preservation and Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
244 Forest Ave.: This home was originally designed in the Italianate style but was later remodeled with Colonial revival features. A few pictures of the original house existed, which helped guide the restoration. The home is now a balance between its Colonial revival features and Italianate style. This look was achieved by lengthening the windows, adding an entry portico, removing the shingle siding, installing new clapboard and altering the front side bays. The homeowners also added new double front doors with ribbed glass.
188 S. Oak Park Ave.: St. Edmund Catholic Church was expanded to provide additional seating and was restored to its original configuration. An a addition in 2000 was supposed to create multiple rooms but in 2004 a new pastor had a different vision for a large multipurpose room. The multi-use space is now separated with bi-fold doors and the cement floor was replaced with tile and white maple that matches the original flooring of the church. This room is truly a multi-purpose room that functions as a chapel, prayer room, and caters to overflowing crowds.
244 Home Ave.: The restoration on this residential home was geared toward achieving the original look through the use of paint. This home showcases a dramatic look through the use of paint but the award was actually given to the homeowners because of the rear addition that keeps to the character of the house and is barely visible from the street.
553 N. Marion St.: This landmark Schneider house is exposed on a corner lot, which made it difficult for the homeowners to add an addition. The homeowners decided to add a rear addition to this house that repeats the doric columns and octagon tower visible on the original home. The second addition is a short bridge with stairs that connects to the house and provides a sense of separation from the rear addition.