Friday, September 14, 2007

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation Launch Program in Chicago Metro Area; Public Open House, Sept. 15-16

American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently launched a community-based historic preservation initiative supporting the Chicago metro area as part of the American Express Partners in Preservation program. American Express is committing $1 million in preservation grants to Chicagoland, and is encouraging members of the community to participate in the initiative by voting for their favorite historic place from a slate of 25 sites across five Chicagoland counties.

Launched in 2006, the Partners in Preservation program is a philanthropic initiative in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, pledged $5 million over a five-year period toward preserving historic sites in the United States. In September 2006, American Express allocated $1 million in preservation grants to 13 sites in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago we welcome the Partners in Preservation program and thank them for preserving part of our city's past for future generations," said Mayor Richard M. Daley, Honorary Chair of the Partners in Preservation Advisory Committee. "I encourage everyone to take part in this wonderful program and learn more about our area's historic sites."

"Through the Partners in Preservation program and online voting, our goal is to re-introduce historic sites in Chicagoland to the local community, support tourism and spur economic development, while also saving a piece of the local history," said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. "We encourage everyone to vote online daily and help us choose the winning site to receive grant funding."

"Architecture, history, design and folklore are at the heart of the Windy City's history and contribute to the many reasons people love Chicago," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Every vote counts towards providing a better future for Chicago's historic treasures. We invite you to vote early and vote often, for historic preservation."

The American Express Partners in Preservation program was created to help preserve historic sites that reflect Chicago's rich cultural history, architecture and landscape, while also engaging the community in preservation, driving tourism and stimulating economic development.

Additionally, American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the slate of 25 sites in an effort to raise awareness of some of the region's most important, but often not widely recognized "hidden gems." The public's participation in the grant selection process will ensure that this remains a community-centered initiative.

Sites on the slate reflect the diversity of Chicagoland's heritage -- encompassing cemeteries and Viking ships, farmsteads and cultural centers, and lighthouses and cathedrals. The scope of the preservation needs at these sites ranges from fixing leaking roofs, repairing foundations, restoring original terracotta to adapting buildings for further use as assets in the community.

Vote to Preserve
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation encourage all Chicagoland residents, and people who care about Chicagoland, to cast their vote from Sept. 6 to Oct. 10, 2007, through a dedicated website,

The public can vote once daily through Oct. 10. The community will also be able to share their memories, photos and thoughts about each landmark on the website, encouraging others to vote for their favorite sites.

American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a special advisory committee comprised of local Chicago dignitaries will review the public's votes, along with each site's monetary needs, to determine how the $1 million in preservation grants will be awarded. The site that receives the highest number of popular votes is guaranteed to receive funding.

The sites being awarded American Express Partners in Preservation grants will be announced to the public in November 2007.

Public Open House
A public open house at all 25 sites will be held on September 15-16, 2007, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. both days, for the community to tour and learn more about each of the historic sites on the slate. Information on the site locations, activities during the open house weekend and further details can be found on the Partners in Preservation website at

Historic Chicagoland Sites on the Slate
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation used specific criteria to select the 25 sites on the slate including their historic, architectural and cultural significance, demonstrated community support for the sites, ability to complete a preservation project by June 2009, and potential to contribute to tourism or community development. The 25 selected sites are as follows:

Cook County
* ABLA Animal Court Sculptures
* Bohemian National Cemetery
* Chicago Cultural Center
* Fountain of Time Sculpture
* Grosse Point Lighthouse
* Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral
* Humboldt Park Stables and Receptory
* Independence Park Bungalow
* International Museum of Surgical Science
* On Leong Merchants Association Building [Pui-Tak Center]
* Pleasant Home
* Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church
* Robie House
* Roger Brown Study Collection
* Homan Square Power Plant
* South Side Community Art Center
* Unity Temple
* Von Steuben High School

DuPage County
* Peabody Estate at Mayslake

Kane County
* Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall
* Viking Ship

Lake County
* Great Lakes Naval Station, Building 42 [The Hostess House]
* Ragdale Foundation

McHenry County
* Petersen Historic Farmstead

More information about each of these sites can be found at

About American Express
GoodBiz113 ad partner American Express Company [] is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

Historic preservation has long been the hallmark of American Express' involvement in the community, reflecting its recognition of the contribution of sites and monuments to a sense of national and local identity and the role that their preservation can play in attracting visitors and revitalizing neighborhoods.

As early as 1983, American Express launched a cause-related marketing effort that raised $1.7 million for the preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. From 1996 to 2005, American Express contributed more than $10 million to help preserve 126 historic sites in 62 countries from the World Monuments Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites.

In June 2006, the company announced the American Express Partners in Preservation initiative, with the National Trust for Historic Preservation as its partner in the U.S. and the World Monuments Fund as its partner internationally.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation [] is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities.

Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the National Trust for Historic Preservation was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to protect the irreplaceable places that tell America's story. Staff at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, six regional offices and 28 historic sites work with more than 270,000 members and thousands of preservation groups in all 50 states.

Sources: American Express Company, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Wikipedia

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