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Art History major, Madeleine Kent, 2023 Monroe Scholar

Photo of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building in the process of being demolished, following a lengthy court battle to have it recognized as an official landmark.

Madeleine Kent, Art History major, is the 2023 recipient of the Monroe Scholars program. Madeleine explains her research:

"My Monroe Scholars program research seeks to investigate the Chicago architectural conservation movement and the formation of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. This conservation movement has roots in conservation movements of the 1880s, but was most active in the 60s and 70s during a period of time where many historically and culturally relevant structures were demolished by the city of Chicago. Buildings were often demolished in order to make way for new infastructure, or to otherwise aid in one of Chicago's urban development plans. Historically relevant landmarks demolished include the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, Garrick Theater, Chicago Federal Building, etc. The destruction of these structures prompted protests and calls for conservation, led by key figures in the movement, including Richard Nickel, John Vinci, and David Norris, amongst others. Several other prominent American cities had branches of their government dedicated to the protection of historic buildings, but it took Chicago until 1968 to establish a commission with real legal power to protect these structures. Even then, the commission had little power and faced several embarrassments, including the 1972 demolition of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building. The commission is still active today, continuing its mission of providing legal protection for historically and culturally important Chicago buildings. My research will examine what buildings had to be demolished in order to prompt the establishment of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, the evolution of this Commission, the history of Chicago's architectural conservation movement, and the key players of the conservation movement."