Plainfield's 'Opera House' Building Could Become Local Landmark
Now, Plainfield's Opera House Block building, 24027 W. Lockport St., could become a local landmark.
The Plainfield village board will vote Monday on whether to direct the village attorney to draft an ordinance bestowing the honorary designation.
The building was resurrected by Chicago-based shoe wholesaler Clarence W. Marks after it burned in February 1898. It reopened in January 1899, according to architect and historian Michael Lambert, who in recent years worked to renovate the building.
Also known as the "Clock Tower" building for the restaurant that it housed in the late 1950s, the structure had fallen into disrepair by the 2000s. In 2010, it was purchased by developer Bill Habiger.
"Mr. Habiger and his wife did a remarkable job of rehabbing the building," Historic Preservation Commissioner Chairman Michael Bortel said. "If you want to know what it looked like in 1899, just go out and look at it today."
"I think the amazing thing about [the building] was the history of Mr. Marks," Lambert said of the shoe wholesaler and prolific horse racer, who was a close friend to A. Montgomery Ward.
Marks went to Plainfield College, today known as North Central College.
"He was a multi-millionaire, but he never lost affection for the people of Plainfield," Lambert said. When the previous owner of the Opera House was unable to rebuild, "He came to the rescue of Plainfield," Lambert added,
Today, the Opera House Block building houses Acorn Portraits, Me Tu Boutique and Sharp Designs hair salon.
The village board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Village Hall, 24401 W. Lockport St.