Like much of the country, Oak Park’s interest in historic preservation took off in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In 1969, the village commissioned the Hasbrouck Sprague plan, which identified 264 historically significant homes in the village. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple became Oak Park’s first National Historic Landmark in 1971, and in 1974, the Home and Studio Foundation, the precursor to today’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, was founded with a mission of restoring the iconic building on Forest and Chicago Avenues.
Since that time, the village has designated three historic districts, and the FLW Trust, Pleasant Home Foundation and Oak Park and River Forest Historical Society have educated generations on historic preservation. Formed in the wake of the demolition of E.E. Roberts-designed Hill Motor Building, Preservation Oak Park is carrying the torch with a Facebook group and in-person meetings on preservation issues in the village.
Pictured are a handful of buildings that illustrate the role of preservation in Oak Park.