By TONIA HILL
The Promontory Point, 5491 S. Shore Dr., is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to a weekly list published online on Jan. 19, by the National Park Service.
Community residents under the Community Task Force on Promontory Point submitted the nomination for historic landmark status for the Promontory. The process includes collaboration with local, state and federal preservation agencies.
National landmark status for the Promontory Point, according to Amy Hathaway, national register and survey specialist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, is “primarily an honorific designation where you’re getting outside dispassionate approval of something saying that it has significance.”
IDNR considers things like architecture and or historical significance when examining nominations that are under consideration for historic landmark status.
“I think this is good news for the community and the alderman [Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th)] and the Chicago Park District,” said Hyde Park Resident Jack Spicer, a member of the task force. “Promontory Point is something we should all be proud of.”
Spicer has been actively involved with the efforts to preserve and restore the Promontory Point.
“It’s something that’s long overdue it has always been a local treasure and I’m glad I was able to work with the community to achieve this status,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).
The designation does not include restrictions on what the owner—which in this case is the City of Chicago—may do with their property up to and including destruction unless the property receives federal funds.
The landmark status also calls for consideration for federally assisted projects. Section 106 of the National Preservation Act of 1966 requires that Federal agencies allow an advisory council to comment on all plans affecting historic properties that are listed in the National Register. A section 106 review process is currently underway in Jackson Park related to the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Center.
The Task Force has fought for access to the lakefront and the park’s preservation since 2001. The Task Force has also called for a historically responsible restoration of the Point for almost 20 years, as mentioned in a previous article in the Herald.
The Promontory Point now joins 80,000 other nationally recognized historic sites that are listed individually listed in the Register.
The Promontory Point is 40 acres and is located along the south end of Chicago’s Burnham Park. Landscape architects Alfred Caldwell and architect Emanuel V. Buchsbaum produced plans for the site and its stone pavilion in the 1930s. Space is now used primarily for relaxation, picnic, swimming, cultural programs classes and other special events.