STUDENT NOTE: WHEN HISTORY IS HISTORY: MAXWELL STREET, "INTEGRITY," AND THE FAILURE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION LAW Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2001 Chicago-Kent College of Law
Chicago-Kent Law Review

STUDENT NOTE: WHEN HISTORY IS HISTORY: MAXWELL STREET, "INTEGRITY," AND THE FAILURE OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION LAW

2001

76 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 1847

Author

Mark D. Brookstein*

Excerpt

Introduction
 
Most people would probably agree that historic preservation is a legitimate and important aspect of land use regulation. There may not, however, be as much agreement as to which historic properties should be preserved. There are easy cases, of course, like the preservation of a famous Civil War battlefield 1 or a beautiful Beaux-Arts railway station. 2 But what about a run-down area west of downtown Chicago, at the intersection of Maxwell and Halsted Streets? Although "Maxwell Street" 3 is of conceded historical significance, 4 its nomination to be designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places was blocked by the City of Chicago.

Since the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act ("NHPA") 5 in 1966, preservation law has focused primarily on two areas: first, whether historic designation amounts to a taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment; 6 and second, whether a permit may be granted for the demolition of a building already designated a historic landmark. 7 Little, if any, attention has been focused, however, on which properties are nominated and eventually designated historic landmarks. While the taking issue is beyond the scope of this Note, 8 the demolition issue is more closely related, as it concerns balancing historical and development values. 9

This Note examines the process by which an area acquires historic district 10 designation, focusing on local governments' ability to deny historic district status in spite of strong evidence to the contrary. In particular, this ...
 
 
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