May 8, 2024 - Culture

Sears, Portage Theater among Landmarks Illinois' most endangered buildings

Large classical bank with columns.

The former Bank of Illinois in Shawneetown is the oldest bank building in the state and on this year's endangered list. Photo: Courtesy of Gallatin County Historical Society

Landmarks Illinois' latest list of endangered buildings includes a canned goods factory, a neoclassical theater and the Sears administration building.

Why it matters: The group argues that 10 new sites on its list represent architectural treasures and important cultural history in the state.

Zoom in: Here are three in Cook County.

1. Libby, McNeill and Libby, Blue Island

13636 S. Western Ave.

Large, boxy brown brick and white building and empty parking lot.
Photo: Courtesy of Calumet Heritage Partnership

The company was once the second-largest producer of canned foods in the country and the economic engine for the near southwest suburb, but it's fallen into disrepair since its closure in the late '60s.

2. Portage Theater

4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Theater with two marquees with the word Portage on a red background.
Photo: Courtesy of Landmarks Illinois

The art moderne and neoclassical style theater at Six Corners has been closed since 2018 after years of opening sporadically.

The intrigue: The former movie house is classified as a Chicago landmark and could qualify for county and city funding for rehab.

3. Sears Administration Building

3333 W. Arthington St.

Large brown brick and white building with boarded doors.
Photo: Courtesy of Landmarks Illinois

The main anchor of the Sears, Roebuck and Co. campus in North Lawndale is a national landmark. Other buildings on the campus have been turned into housing, which Landmarks Illinois suggests would be the ideal path for the admin building.

What's next: The historic preservation agency offers suggestions for how the public can advocate for each of the 10 locations on its list.


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