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Historic Preservation within the Village
This webpage was developed by the Historic Preservation Commission to provide additional information regarding historic character, benefits of historic preservation, architectural styles within the Village and landmarking. Historic preservation guidelines have also been provided to guide homeowners in their exterior alterations and additions to historic properties.
The Glen Ellyn Historic Preservation Commission seeks to preserve our village’s historic character. We see local landmarking as critical to this cause, both of free-standing buildings with historic or architectural merit and of well-defined landmark districts within historic neighborhoods.
Glen Ellyn's Historic Preservation Guidelines are designed to help you make appropriate choices, especially as a first step toward seeking a landmark designation. The guidelines are intended to help property owners who are:
- interested in maintaining their historic homes or other buildings.
- caring for structures situated within historic areas.
- considering streetscape-compatible additions to their buildings.
- planning new construction.
Glen Ellyn’s oft-referred to “historic character” encompasses an eclectic range of building styles for people with different tastes, incomes and lifestyles. In 2002, surveyors from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Historic Preservation Masters Program conducted a historic resources survey of architecturally significant residential and commercial buildings within a defined range in the older historic neighborhoods around downtown. They described Village character in this way:
Glen Ellyn is characterized by single-family homes representing the variety of architectural styles prominent from its founding through today that conform in several ways. They:
- Share the same setbacks on front and sides, allowing for uniform green space and space between lots
- Have rear garages with car-width drives (no circular driveways that pave much of the front yard). Exceptions are the mid-century ranch houses.
- Feature front porches and windows, not garage doors or paved driveways, as their faces to the public
- Do not tower over pre-existing residences
- Incorporate trees into their landscaping
- Often represent the latest in the architectural styles of their time
We urge property owners to renovate rather then replace historic properties. We fear that Glen Ellyn’s character will be lost to the tear down trend. Historic preservation serves a variety of interests in our community. Some of these include:
- Residents and prospective home buyers seeking homes with traditional quality and historic charm
- Neighborhoods hoping to preserve historic ambiance while welcoming compatible new construction
- Economic developers and tourists attracted to Glen Ellyn’s blend of convenience and historic charm
- New business owners deciding where to locate and drawn by the sense of character and place that underlie our vibrant commercial and residential centers
And significantly, historic preservation can benefit you. These guidelines may encourage you to become more familiar with your property’s architectural style and the materials and construction that were common to its time. Many people enjoy this learning process and find it rewarding to have true knowledge of their buildings’ histories.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Historic Preservation Masters Program in 2002 identified Glen Ellyn’s key historic architectural styles within a defined range in the older historic and architecturally significant neighborhoods.
- Greek Revival (1830 to 1850)
- Gothic Revival (1850 to 1880)
- Italianate (1850 to 1890)
- Stick (1860 to 1890)
- Folk Victorian (1870 to 1910)
- Queen Anne (1880 to 1910)
- Colonial Revival (1880 to 1955)
- Tudor Revival (1890 to 1940)
- Cottage (1890 to 1940)
- American Foursquare (1895 to -1930)
- Gable-Front Farmhouse (1895 to 1930)
- Craftsman Bungalow (1905 to 1930)
- Dutch Colonial (1900 to 1945)
- Prairie (1900 to 1920)
- Ranch (1935 to Present)
The purpose of landmarking is to identify, preserve, protect, enhance and encourage the continued use and care of areas, districts, places, buildings, structures, works of art and other objects within the village that express a special historical, community, architectural or aesthetic interest to the village and its citizens. Other benefits of landmarking include, but are not limited to:
- Honoring our historic and cultural heritage as embodied and reflected by designated Glen Ellyn Landmarks
- Encouraging civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past.
- Preserving the character and vitality of village neighborhoods and the central business district.
- Encouraging public participation in identifying and preserving historical and architectural resources through public hearings on proposed designations, building permits and economic hardship variations.
Studies across the country have also documented numerous economic benefits associated with landmarking a property or historic district.
Guidelines are primarily concerned with front facades and other readily visible features. The rears of buildings, less in the public eye, are more flexible and recommended for alterations or additions. Our goal is to help you make smart choices: to provide a flexible set of criteria that can balance personal needs with construction or renovation projects that compliment the characteristics of a historic neighborhood and respect the styles of adjacent properties.
Glen Ellyn's preservation guidelines (PDF) are based on U.S. Secretary of the Interior: Guidelines for repair, rehabilitation and alteration. Broadly speaking, these guidelines will help property owners preserve, renovate or build structures that are compatible with historic buildings and guarantee that a structure's character-defining elements are retained. Keys include:
- Retain and repair, rather than replace, a home’s original parts and materials, whenever possible.
- Replace parts and materials in kind, when necessary. The reference list at the end of this document includes some appropriate resources to help explore your options.
- If replacement in kind simply isn’t possible, it is best to replicate the appearance of the original part or material as closely as possible.
- Modern parts or materials can be smart choices - but incorporate them with sensitivity to a building’s original architectural style.
- Replacing missing features and removing inappropriate modernizations can go a long way toward restoring a home’s original appearance.