Illinois State Fairgrounds Named On Endangered Historic Places List

Apr 25, 2018

The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin, which are frequented by hundreds of thousands of people annually, are included on Landmarks Illinois’ latest list of Most Endangered Historic Places.

Landmarks Illinois compiles the annual list as a way to call attention to threats of development, deterioration and more.  

President and CEO of the preservationist group Bonnie McDonald said the maintenance and repairs at both fairgrounds carries a price tag of about $180 million.

“Lack of funding for capital projects has truly created a substantial maintenance backlog for both fairgrounds resulting in building closures as well as emergency repairs,” McDonald said.

A private fundraising effort is underway to help offset the cost, but it is far away from the goal.

State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield insisted the state’s fairgrounds are in need of protection.

“The Coliseum has been closed for a while, it’s a very historic building. . . so I’m trying to advocate for funding for the fair grounds here in the legislature, we have a lot of discussions about that, but I appreciate Landmarks really highlighting the need for what we’re trying to do here,” Butler said.

In the nearly quarter of a century Landmarks Illinois has put out its list, 75 percent of the properties included have been saved from demolition. This year’s list names 11 other sites across the state, including the Thompson Center in Chicago, the state office building Gov. Bruce Rauner has talked of selling.