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Prentice Women's Hospital, Historic West Side Hotel Make 'Endangered' List

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Prentice Women's Hospital has again made the list of the most endangered historic places in the state.

Landmarks Illinois issued the 18th annual list on Tuesday. It is meant to call attention to threatened historic resources in need of assistance in the form of responsible stewardship and/or creative reuse plans.

The economic downturn, public deficits and a lack of available financing continue to challenge such sites, a release from Landmarks Illinois said.

The old Prentice Women's Hospital 333 E. Superior St. was designed by the legendary Bertrand Goldberg and opened only 37 years ago, but Northwestern Memorial Hospital moved the women's facility out of the building in 2007 and wants to have it torn down for a new research and laboratory facility.

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Prentice also made a similar endangered building list issued earlier this month by Preservation Chicago. That group has partnered with Landmarks Illinois, the National Trust from Historic Preservation, the American Institute of Architects Chicago, and Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement, to advocate for preserving the hospital.

Also on the Landmarks Illinois list is the Hotel Guyon, at 4000 W. Washington Blvd. in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. The West Side landmark has sat vacant for more than a decade.

Since a 1980s renovation, it has had numerous owners and is currently in demolition court due to code violations, the release said. Despite a need for affordable and senior housing in the neighborhood, the current lending market makes renovation of the largest residential building on the West Side a challenge for developers, Landmarks Illinois says.

Also on the list is the Maywood Home for Soldiers' Widows at 224 N. First Ave. in the western suburb was built in 1924 to house the widows of Civil War soldiers. The classic brick structure would have a relatively small project size and prominent location that should make it the lynch pin for much-needed redevelopment in a historic suburb, a news release said.

The building has been vacant since 2003 and owned by the village since 2008, though viable redevelopment options have been passed over. Landmarks Illinois says the site needs a realistic plan and village support to make it happen.

In the northern suburbs, Landmarks Illinois is concerned about the Blair House, at 925 N. Sheridan Rd. in Lake Bluff. The group says the 1955 "Modernist masterpiece" by Keck & Keck is up for sale and has no landmark designation, and thus could well be torn down to make way for new construction.

In Kane County, the group is concerned about the Fox River Country Day School, a campus featuring several significant buildings by Prairie School architect John S. Van Bergen. The school closed last year due to declining enrollment, and the property is up for sale and considered a "prime development opportunity," Landmarks Illinois said.

Downstate and elsewhere in Illinois, Landmarks Illinois has included the 1917 Bresee Tower high-rise in Danville, the 1854 Bruch-Guertler House in Alton, the sandstone and brick Freeprort City Hall in Freeport, the Maribold Farm with its 1850 farmhouse in Greenview, and historic neighborhood schools in El Paso, Harrisburg, Jacksonville, Pekin and Springfield.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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