Preservation Group Claims Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Bungled Archaeological Survey to Aid Politically Connected Developer
Chicago, Ill.–(ENEWSPF)–July 17, 2017 – The Pullman National Monument Preservation Society announced Monday that it will appeal the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s (IHPA) authorization to destroy the ruins of an 1880 Pullman Tenement Block House located within the boundaries of both the Pullman National Monument and the Pullman National Historic Landmark District.
“The archaeologists’ report indicates that they were directed by the IHPA to look for ‘prehistoric artifacts associated with Native American occupation’ and not remains of the Victorian Town of Pullman,” said Mark Cassello, President of the Pullman National Monument Preservation Society.
On February 22, 2016, the IHPA requested that the developer conduct a “Phase I archaeological reconnaissance survey to locate, identify, and record all archaeological resources within the project area.”
On May 4-5, 2016, consultants of Midwest Archaeological Research Services conducted an archaeological survey as part of the review of the Pullman Artspace Lofts housing project. The archaeologists’ report states that they were directed by the IHPA to determine if “any prehistoric artifacts of features might be present under the historic fill.” Finding no prehistoric artifacts, but acknowledging that they “noted and mapped the footprint” of the ruin of a historic Pullman tenement, they recommend “project clearance.”
In a June 10, 2016 letter, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Rachel Leibowitz disputes the archaeologists’ claim that they “were to be primarily concerned with prehistory.” She goes on to authorize the destruction of the archaeological ruins of Tenement “B,” a tenement block house constructed in 1880 as part of the first phase of construction of George Pullman’s model town. She dismisses the 153’ x 33’ ruin as insignificant remarking that “all that remains…is a partially destroyed foundation and rubble field.”
“These ruins are a historic resource vital to fulfilling the legislated purposes of the Pullman National Monument, and they have been on the National Register as part of the Pullman National Historic Landmark District since 1970,” said Cassello.
The Pullman National Monument Preservation Society claims that the project violates the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties which were used to evaluate the project. These standards state that “Archeological resources will be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures will be undertaken.”
“President Obama declared it in the public interest to protect the ‘historic objects’ in the Pullman Historic District, and we are here to make sure that Pullman’s historic resources are protected.”
About the Pullman National Monument Preservation Society
In 1960, Pullman residents reactivated the Pullman Civic Organization to save the town from an urban renewal plan that would have leveled the entire neighborhood and replaced it with light industrial warehouses. In 2016, Pullman residents formed the Pullman National Monument Preservation Society to advocate for preservation and restoration of Pullman’s historic architecture, landscape, and plan for the inspiration and education of all.
The Pullman National Monument Preservation Society is a registered 501(c)3 organization and a registered Charitable Organization within the State of Illinois.
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