Chicago Landmarks

Chicago Historic Resources Survey FAQs

Are each of the 17,371 properties in the database potential landmarks?
Roughly 4,500 of the properties listed in the CHRS already are Chicago Landmarks, having been designated by the City Council either before, during, or after the survey was conducted. As for the remaining 12,800 properties, some of them could be eligible for landmark designation, either as individual landmarks or as part of a district of significant buildings. However, such a determination can only be made after a more detailed analysis, which would be part of a formal process involving the Commission on Chicago Landmarks and the Chicago City Council. While many of the properties in the CHRS database would probably not qualify as official city landmarks, inclusion in the CHRS does mean that these properties have merit as a piece of Chicago's architectural history-either individually or in association with other nearby properties.

How accurate is the information in the survey?
Because the survey field work was conducted as long ago as 1983, some of the buildings listed in the CHRS have since been demolished or significantly altered. It is also possible, due to the large number of listings in this report, that data entry mistakes may have occurred. Similarly, because historic permit records occasionally list incorrect addresses, and addresses and property identification numbers may have since changed, those mistakes also may appear in the survey Some of the survey data information is also incomplete. This could be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes building permit information such as construction date or architect does not exist for a particular property, either because the property was built prior to the area's annexation into Chicago or because the original permits have been lost or destroyed. In other cases, surveyors were not able to identify a specific building type or style because of the property's mix of uses or styles. Or, in the case of buildings that were identified only by the Illinois Historic Structures Survey (ISS), additional building permit research simply was not done. Nonetheless, the research information contained in the CHRS database represents the most complete details available.

Why was the survey done?
One of the duties of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks is to recommend to the Chicago City Council which buildings or districts should be protected by law as Chicago landmarks. The citywide survey helps makes this determination process a more rational and well?informed one. However, there was an additional broader goal for the survey-to provide a comprehensive source of information for the numerous community groups, public agencies, businesses, and individuals that deal with the city's buildings on an ongoing basis.

How can I find out more about a specific building listed in the survey?
There are a variety of resources at area libraries, historical societies, and government offices that provide useful information. A short booklet, entitled "Your House Has a History," provides guidance on how to research a building, whether it's a house or another type of structure, and is available for a $1 mailing charge from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division, 33 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1600, Chicago, IL 60602. For more information, call (312) 744-3200.

Historic Resources Survey
Historic Resources Survey FAQs