Chicago's Garden Homes District, Clark County auto dealership, 1909
Bloomington church featured
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[APRIL 30, 2005]
Chicago's Garden Homes District, the Clatfelter Auto Dealership in
the Clark County community of West Union and records that preserve
the memory of a demolished 1909 Bloomington church are featured in
the latest issue of Historic Illinois, a publication of the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency.
The cover article features Chicago's
Garden Homes District. Tucked away in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood
on the city's far South Side is a unique piece of history: a
cohesive ensemble of modest homes built in 1919 and 1920 as the
city's first subsidized housing project. The Garden Homes
subdivision was an innovative attempt by a group of Chicago
philanthropists to provide workingmen with homes at prices they
could afford. Benefactors who helped subsidize the project firmly
believed that homeownership would encourage people to become more
efficient workers and better citizens, thereby decreasing
opportunities for labor unrest.
The Garden Homes represent an important
chapter in the state's social history. The largely intact
picturesque gathering of brick cottages and stucco-clad
double-houses was listed in the National Register of Historic Places
in February 2005. With the cohesive appearance, uniform setbacks and
unusually large lots, the Chicago Garden Homes Historic District
stands out from the city's predominant residential building stock.
The article was written by Jean
Guarino Clark, an architectural historian who developed the Garden
Homes District National Register nomination.
* * *
The well-remembered Clatfelter
Chevrolet dealership and repair garage in the Clark County community
of West Union is the subject of an article written by Keith A.
Sculle, head of research and education for the Illinois Historic
Dale Clatfelter was a self-taught
mechanic who returned on disability from the Navy in World War II
and opened a dealership in his hometown in 1949. An unusual
circumstance helped him select the exact location. In 1941 a strong
wind destroyed the Methodist church that had occupied the site since
1912. The church never reopened, but its foundation became an
excellent shop floor because it proved easier to heat and cool than
a floor built at grade. Customers drove their vehicles a few feet
below ground to the former church foundation floor for service.
Clatfelter kept his small-town
business operating by maintaining a small-town atmosphere, where
people were just as welcome to come in and talk as they were to drop
by for service. The business closed in 1981 when, due to demands
placed on the dealership by General Motors, Clatfelter was no longer
able to acquire the inventory his customers wanted.
* * *
[to top of second column in this article]
Bloomington's First Church of
Christ, Scientist, no longer exists. Built between 1908 and 1909,
the classical revival-style building seated 650, and its copper dome
made it instantly recognizable.
Although the structure is no longer
there, a federal program administered in Illinois by the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency makes this church and many other
long-gone buildings in the state accessible to current and future
generations. The Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic
American Engineering Record program established the standards for
documenting historic structures that are to be demolished or
substantially altered as a result of projects involving state or
federal funds, permits, or licensing.
The article in Historic Illinois,
written by Andrew Heckenkamp of the Illinois Historic Preservation
Agency, describes the federal documentation program and uses the
First Church of Christ, Scientist, as one example of the detailed
historical information maintained for future reference.
Historic Illinois is a bimonthly
publication that features historically significant sites in
Illinois. Subscriptions are $10 per year, which includes six issues
of Historic Illinois and one full-color Historic Illinois calendar.
For more information, call (217)
524-6045, visit www.Illinois-History.gov or write to Historic Illinois, Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency, 1 Old State Capitol Plaza,
Springfield, IL 62701-1507.
Historic Preservation Agency news release]