Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maryville One Of The "Chicago Seven"

According to the Tribune's Blair Kamin:

"Three Chicago hospitals and a cluster of aging movie theaters top a list of endangered historic properties released Wednesday by a Chicago preservation advocacy group. The group, Preservation Chicago, each year announces its "Chicago Seven" list to draw attention to the plight of historic buildings and encourage property owners, city officials and citizens groups to save and reuse them."

Among them is an old friend -- Maryville (under its birth name).  "Cuneo Hospital, 720 W. Montrose Ave., an idiosyncratic modern design from 1957 by Edo Belli. Community opposition has thwarted the construction of a large-scale mixed-use complex that would have destroyed the vacant hospital, but the building's proximity to the lakefront still makes it a possible site for redevelopment and demolition, Preservation Chicago said."

As a reader points out:  "Preservation Chicago gives the tacit impression that we resisted the development there because we are enamored with the 1957 (?) Edo Belli-designed “Cuneo Hospital”.  I don’t recall ever seeing what the original purpose of the building was until now…not that it makes me any more “enamored” of the building."

UU Note:  Here is the dedication of the building:  "In Memory of Frank and Amelia Cuneo."  The Cuneos were wealthy Uptowners from about 100 years ago who founded the South Water Market, the Cuneo Press, and were benefactors to their community.  Here is a photo of the hospital's opening blessing, from the Uptown Chicago History blog.


  1. An antiquated building that has outlived its purpose.

    There I said it.

    How about if the preservations all get out their checkbooks and buy and renovate it?

    In another couple of years our 4 plus one buildings will become mid-century modern historic properties.

    Yee Gods for that!

    You will spend years of looking a a developer to take on such a project and meanwhile the property will continue to rot and be an eyesore.

  2. I just moved to the neighborhood after buying a condo down the street from this building. Frankly, I can't WAIT to see it knocked down.
    It is falling apart, looks creepy and attracts sketchy people.
    If this group is so concerned with preserving it, maybe they should restore it and DO something with it.
    I can't wait to see it go....

  3. Just think how long it has taken to get a promise that financing will be in place to renovate the Uptown Theatre. Oops there is no financing in place. Only a promise by the end of 2013????

  4. The Cuneo building has a lot of potential. The design is subjective of course but I like it. The used good materials, it has nice curves and a footprint that would make it look more was detached from that monstrosity accross the street. The plywood and being joined at the hip to that Soviet Union-looking reject doesn't help.

    The building needs a new roof and a few small pieces of limestone are loose on the facade but otherwise it is a very solid mid-rise. It could be repurposed and with some superficial enhancements, even just creatve applied lighting could be stunning. I am sure some disagree, but that building does have an eclectic cool-ass style to it. If it were standing alone would be more obvious.

    The brown monster on the west parcel and the big ugly bridge have got to go.

    The east parcel is a small lot and adjacent to a parkspace so commercial\residential redevelopment doesn't seem right.... also that is a sensitive spot to reconsruct upon since the old pumping station has its legacy just below the surface.

  5. It is on parkland... tear it down, return that small parcel to the park... redevelop the other 3 large lots on the west side of Clarendon to high density market rate housing....there, problem solved..

  6. Fact Check: The east parcel was never part of the park, it was a pumping station. It was public property so maybe that is the source of the confusion. End Fact Check.

    The proposal by Ald. James to hold a charrette to drill down deper into this respects the complexity and opportunity of the Maryville site....

    ...process solved.....

  7. The suits at Sedgwick claimed the parcel of land was a pumping station owned by the city and was given by the water department to the sisters for the purpose of running a non-profit charity hospital.

    The sisters decided to sell it for millions of dollars fifty years later, and there was no provision in the gift the city gave them to prevent this. (Apparently the sisters feel there's no such provision or obligation to shovel their sidewalks or maintain the safety of their property, either, but that's another story.)

    I know several Uptown historians who dispute the notion that the land was not parkland, and are researching it. I am not inclined to believe anything Sedgwick says at face value, with the possible exception of "bye-bye."

    I am looking forward to seeing what Uptown United, the Zoning and Planning Committee, and staff from the city's Department of Housing and Economic Development come up with as recommendations and expectations for future developers.