Andersonville Historic District: Genesis

The impetus for the Andersonville Historic District was originally a class project by students of the Preservation Program at the Art Institute of Chicago. They researched the area and developed a draft application which they submitted to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in 2004. Neither the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce nor the Edgewater Historical Society was aware of the submission until after it had occurred. In late 2005 the Andersonville Chamber received a phone call from the State agency as to some questions they had regarding the application. Thom Greene, a board member of both the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce/Development Corporation and the Edgewater Historical Society, spearheaded the revival of the application. The Chambers Executive Director, Ellen Shepherd lent full support, but it was Thom Greene who took on the task. The Chamber obtained the services of Kristy Menas, a historic preservation graduate student, to assist with the historical data and research required for the application. Thom Greene and his firm, Greene & Proppe Design took the needed photos, researched and created the map of the entire district of 116 contributing buildings. There were many back and forth calls and meetings with Ted Hild from the State Agency regarding content and boundaries. Leroy Blommaert and Kathy Gemperle, members of the Edgewater Historical Society, also provided much research and reviews of the drafts.

The revised application was formally presented to the community at the Swedish American Museum on May 27, 2007. The State Historic Preservation Agency wanted the area expanded to include additional buildings. After much back and forth, Ellen Shepard and the Andersonville Chamber staff headed down state to present the final application to the State Committee for approval. It was finally approved by the State of Illinois and then, on March 9, 2010, it was officially placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

–prepared by Thom Greene, April 2013