Early Preservation in Chicago: Challenges and Opportunities

Sun Sep 24 2023 at 02:00 pm to 03:00 pm

Pullman Exhibit Hall | Chicago

Historic Pullman Foundation
Publisher/HostHistoric Pullman Foundation
Early Preservation in Chicago: Challenges and Opportunities
When the community of Pullman was threatened with demolition in 1960, the preservation movement in Chicago was in its infancy.
About this Event

When the community of Pullman was threatened with demolition in 1960, the preservation movement in Chicago was in its infancy. The Robie house had recently been saved, but one of Chicago’s first honorary landmarks, Sullivan’s Garrick Theater, was razed that year. The decade saw the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act and the rescue of Glessner House (located across the street from the site of Pullman’s Prairie Avenue mansion) and ended with the first buildings in Chicago being designated landmarks under a new ordinance that actually protected them.

This presentation will explore the early preservation movement in Chicago, focusing on issues with connections to the Pullman legacy. These include the designation of the first historic districts; the south end of Pullman was the third in the city, and Prairie Avenue followed soon after. More recent preservation efforts at Second Presbyterian Church, where the Pullman family worshipped and installed a window in memory of Hattie Pullman’s mother, will also be discussed.

Event Photos


William Tyre has served as Executive Director and Curator of the Glessner House in Chicago since October 2007. Bill holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008, he published Chicago’s Historic Prairie Avenue, part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia. In his role as director of Glessner House, he oversees the daily operations of the museum including collections management, programming, tours, interpretation, and restoration projects.

He has developed and presented numerous talks on a wide variety of topics relating to Glessner House. These have included lectures on craftswoman Frances Glessner, designer Isaac Scott, the early history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, William Morris and the English Arts & Crafts movement, and several on various topics related to Prairie Avenue. In October 2017, he presented on the life and career of the Glessners’ daughter, Frances Glessner Lee, during the opening weekend of M**der Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Tyre has also been an active board member of Friends of Historic Second Church since 2007. He is primarily responsible for the interpretation of Second Presbyterian Church, a National Historic Landmark designated church, featuring a fully intact Arts and Crafts interior by Howard Van Doren Shaw, pre-Raphaelite murals by Frederic Clay Bartlett, and a collection of stained glass windows including nine by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

He resides in a restored manager’s house in Arcade Row, which he purchased in 2011. It has been on the Pullman House Tour three times, most recently in 2022.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Pullman Exhibit Hall, 11141 South Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, United States


USD 10.00

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