Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center in Chicago to Receive Preservation Honor Award

National Trust for Historic Preservation to present award at its national conference

Washington, D.C. – The National Trust for Historic Preservation will present its Preservation Honor Award for the restoration of the Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center in Chicago.  The project is one of 22 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2012 National Preservation Conference next week in Spokane, Wash.

Since 1905, the towering smokestack of the Sears, Roebuck and Company complex’s powerhouse has been a landmark in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. But in the 1970s, when Sears relocated most of its operations downtown, the chimney ceased smoking, the power plant fell silent and the area around the complex began to decline.

By the 1990s, the building had fallen into disrepair and area residents saw very little potential for its reuse. Enter the Homan Arthington Foundation. Using historic tax credits, the Foundation spearheaded the Powerhouse’s $40 million adaptation, turning it into the Charles A. Shaw Technology and Learning Center—a LEED-certified school and community center, affectionately known as “Power House High.”

Pieces of the building’s industrial past are utilized as both historical reminders and teaching tools, while the building serves as a poster child for sustainable energy technology. The smokestack was restored as well, and fitted with a wind turbine. What was once a white elephant is now an engine of change and a testament to the hope preservation can bring to a struggling community.
“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  “Whether it’s the restoration of an iconic post office in Philadelphia or the transformation of a Greyhound bus station into a Civil Rights museum in Montgomery, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places is bolstering local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country.” 

The award will be presented to the Foundation for Homan Square at the Richard H. Driehaus National Preservation Awards ceremony in Spokane, Wash., on Friday, November 2.

Co-recipients are: Cotter Consulting, Inc.; Farr Associates; IFF; MacRostie Historic    Advisors, LLC; and Pepper Construction.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation. The winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear online at


Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award: Donovan Rypkema, Washington, D.C.

National Trust/Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation: Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station--Freedom Rides Museum, Montgomery, Ala.

The American Express Aspire Award: Recognizing Emerging Leaders in Preservation: M. Rosalind Sagara, Riverside, Calif.  

Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation: Enid Pinkney, Coral Gables, Fl.

National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation: Saint Luke’s Manor, Cleveland.

Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence: The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minn. 

John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy: John Andrew Gallery, Philadelphia.

Trustees Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites: The Jane Addams Hull House, Chicago.


30th Street Main Post Office, Philadelphia.

ASM International Headquarters, Materials Park, Ohio.

Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center, Chicago.

Leavenworth Building 19, Leavenworth, Kan.

Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island’s Preservation of Duey’s Home, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The Historic Park Inn Hotel, Mason City, Iowa.

Main Building at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio.

Market Square Place, Pittsburgh.

New Orleans U.S. Custom House, New Orleans.

Oswego Iron Furnace, Lake Oswego, Ore. 

Accident Fund National Headquarters/Ottawa Street Power Station, Lansing, Mich.

SIERR Building at McKinstry Station, Spokane, Wash.

Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, Kansas City, Mo.

Washington State Heritage Barn Preservation Initiative, Wash.  



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces