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Muddy Waters' Home, Movable Bridges Make State Endangered List

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on May 1, 2013 5:30PM

Photo credit: Curtis Locke

The Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois released its 2013 list of the 10 most endangered historic places in the state Tuesday and Chicago is represented by the former home of Muddy Waters and its bascule bridges.

Chicago has more movable bridges in operation than any other city in the world and they’re as iconic as the Skyline and the lakefront in the city’s identity. While the Wells Street Bridge is undergoing a major rehabilitation, other Bascule bridges are in serious need of repair, such as the Chicago Avenue Bridge, Division Street’s two bridges and the North Ashland Avenue Bridges. The Ashland Avenue Bridge has seen a series of patchwork repairs over the years, while the Chicago Avenue and Division Street Bridges aren’t wide enough to accommodate modern traffic flow. The Chicago Department of Transportation is working on a Bascule bridge preservation plan and the Chicago Art Deco Society has requested the Ashland Avenue bridge be designated as a landmark.

The former home of Muddy Waters, meanwhile, is facing a date with the wrecking ball, as we wrote in January. The city sent a warning letter to the current owner of the home at 4339 S. Lake Park Avenue, where the Waters lived from 1954 until he moved to suburban Westmont in the late 1970s. Built in 1882, the home is part of the North Kenwood Landmark District, meaning any attempts to demolish the building requires approval from the Landmarks Commission. The building’s owner has been in touch with the city to address the more serious building code violations and to rehab the home into a viable residential property.

Other area buildings on the list include the Mineola Hotel in Fox Lake, Gage House in Winnetka, and the Joel Wiant House in West Chicago. Mausoleums across the state also made the list; we’ve included a map and the entire list below.

2013 Illinois Top Ten Endangered Historic Places