by Julia S. Bachrach, Chicago Park District Historian
The Chicago Park Districtís Multiple Property Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places serves as an umbrella document. Although it does not designate the individual properties that it describes, it sets the stage and simplifies the process of nominating a large number of thematically related historic resources. This document allowed the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to deem approximately 100 parks or features in parks as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Of that list of 100, today, 36 Chicago parks (or park properties) are officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places, while four have been designated as National Historic Landmarks, which is an even more selective list of landmarks maintained by the National Park Service.
Many local governments also have landmark ordinances that can provide for the designation of park district properties. In Chicago, the local landmark ordinance affords stronger protection to historic resources than the two federal landmark programs. To date, the Chicago Park District has 11 buildings, three monuments, and five landscapes that have been either individually designated as Chicago landmarks or included in Chicago Landmark Historic Districts. Any repairs or major construction work that is done to these properties and requires a building permit is reviewed by the staff of the Landmarks Division of the cityís Department of Planning and Development for compliance with the Secretary of Interiorís Standards and Guidelines for Historic Rehabilitation.