Edgar Miller Animal Court Update!

There is a different sort of animalia in Chicago:  the beautiful Edgar Miller sculptures  at the WPA-era Jane Addams housing complex (c. 1938), once part of a splash pad for the resident children.  Since I posted about these back in 2010, when their restoration seemed imminent, they completely dropped off the radar.   But the National Trust for Historic Preservation is now on the case…

“… the managing partner for Roosevelt Square LLC., a development conglomerate that, along with the CHA, is rethinking the site that is known as the ABLA Homes: a roughly 37-square-block area of public housing projects that included the Jane Addams Homes and the Animal Court Playground. The project is part of a larger initiative to reduce “islands of poverty” within the city of Chicago and replace them with mixed-income and mixed-use housing.

Part of our charge with [the Roosevelt Square project] is assisting the CHA in the conservation of the [animal] sculptures and their reinstallation in the new Roosevelt Square,” says Tippens. “The most important thing to state is that [the statues] are safe, and they are still an integral part of the plan to be restored and reinstalled [in a public park] near their original site.”  Although a formal timetable is still unavailable, Tippens is confident that the development of the new park and the placement of the restored animal sculptures will occur early in the process.”

Color me relieved!  My garden historian self worries about losing these beautiful things.   If you’re a Chicago reader, keep checking up on this for me, okay?  Note that they’re still seeking additional funds for restoration…

[Thanks to David at the Preservation Nation blog for the update!  The NTHP seems to have developed a sudden interest in historic playgrounds, which is nice…see several articles from the last couple of months here.]



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