Armed with paper hearts and signs festooned with positive messages, Landmarks Illinois’ young and emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, held its annual event to bring attention to an historic building and to highlight ongoing efforts to preserve it.

The family-friendly event was held in advance of Valentine’s Day on Feb. 10 at the Schlitz Tied House, located at 958 W. 69th St. in Chicago.

Members of the council decorated the building with handmade red and pink hearts as well as signs and other displays highlighting the 125-year-old building’s history and value to the community.

Built in 1898, the two-story, Queen Anne-style structure in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood is one of 57 original taverns or “tied houses” commissioned by the Milwaukee-based Schlitz brewery in Chicago in the late 19th early 20th centuries. The Tied House on 69th Street is one of only a few of these buildings that remain today. The building’s current owner, local activist and leader Jennipher Adkins, hopes to restore and reuse the house as a community gathering space.

“Huge thanks to Landmarks Illinois for showing this old gem some love,” says Adkins. “This event will undoubtedly mark the start of a new chapter, bringing together the community and setting the tone for the building’s transformation. I am grateful for the attention and look forward to the possibilities ahead.”

Landmarks Illinois

Photo courtesy of Landmarks Illinois

Alyssa Frystak, chair of the Skyline Council, said she hopes the event will generate interest in a South Side landmark that is in need of attention. “This site tells a unique story of Chicago’s past, and with the proper resources and preservation efforts, it can continue to serve the community well into the future,” she says.

Landmarks Illinois facilitated a pro bono building enclosure condition assessment on the house—conducted by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc.—to help Adkins develop a preservation plan. Both the assessment and plan helped Adkins recently apply for a city of Chicago Adopt-a-Landmark grant that, if received, would fund necessary building repairs.

Since 2018, the Skyline Council has hosted an annual event in honor of Valentine’s Day. The event is based on a national movement that started in 2012 with activists and community members showcasing their love for abandoned historic properties by papering them in handmade Valentines. According to the preservation association, it has become an effective and highly public way to activate and bring attention to historic places in need of preservation resources.

Previous Skyline Council Valentine’s Day events have taken place at the Harley Clarke Mansion in Evanston, Altgeld Gardens in Chicago and the former Will County Courthouse in Joliet.