Unity Temple Congregation May Yield Ownership in Costly Restoration Campaign

Midwest
Thursday, May 16, 2013
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Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL. 1904.

Unity Temple, Oak Park, IL. 1904.

Unity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright’s first public building, may come under new ownership as part of a $10 million deal to help restore the 105-year-old national landmark.

Local nonprofit Alphawood Foundation Chicago and longtime owners the Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation announced Tuesday a joint fundraising campaign aimed at fixing water damage that, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “urgently requires a multi-million-dollar rescue effort.”

If the Oak Park church’s current restoration campaign raises 80 percent of the funds needed for repairs and provides an endowment for future restoration, the ownership transfer could go through. Alphawood’s money counts toward that but, as Lee Bey reports, the total amount “is likely to be substantially more than the combined total of the proposed Alphawood gift and any contribution the Congregation makes.”

Alphawood could then oversee the restoration or create a new preservation organization to preside over the project.

Unity Temple is currently presenting a series of events called Break::the::Box, which recently brought 99% Invisible podcast host Roman Mars to Oak Park.

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