Endangered Architecture

2013-02-18T00:00:00Z Endangered ArchitectureJane Ammeson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
February 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Endangered buildings are sometimes in the eyes and beliefs of the beholders.

A developer might see a turreted Queen Anne style home as a deterrent to a new parking lot, but for Tiffany Tolbert, the remaining Gary historic buildings, some of them in disrepair, are worth saving.

School buildings such as Emerson and Horace Mann that have been vacant and are not being maintained or secured make her personal list of endangered buildings.

“They are endangered because there does not appear to be a plan to either reuse them or market them for development,” she says.

The English Tudor style Marktown, designed in 1917 by Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw as industrial housing, remains in need of preservation and rehabilitation.  There is some fear that it is particularly endangered because BP needs the land for expansion. Marktown was placed on Indiana Landmrks’s 10 Most Endangered Properties List in 2006.

Indiana Landmarks lists the House of Tomorrow in Beverly Shores on their 10 Most Endangered Buildings of 2012. Designed to show visitors to Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition what the future home would have – walls of glass, air conditioning, electric eyes to open the garage door, a dishwasher and a bay for the family plane – the edifice was carted across Lake Michigan by barge and is now part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Four other homes from the Exposition, including the Cypress Cabin and the Florida Tropical Home, are also nearby. Landmarks, which leases the homes from the park, has subleased them to people who have or are renovating them, but the House of Tomorrow continues to languish.

George Rogge of Miller Beach was a founding member of the Society for the Restoration of the Gary Aquatorium and Octave Chanute's Place in History.  The organization saved the crumbling Gary Bathhouse, built in 1921 and closed 50 years later, from demolition. Now he is a member of the Miller Beach Forum which is working to save the Miller train station.

“I believe it’s the future of Gary,” he says. “An inner city railroad is the link. People go to where there’s transportation. The Gary stations were the biggest stations to come to and that will happen again if there’s some place nice to come to.”

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