Street Smart Chicago

411: The Right to Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s world-renowned Unity Temple has been added to the 2009 America’s Most Endangered Historic Building’s List. Through not in jeopardy of being demolished, the Unity Temple is in need of massive renovations. The building has suffered water damage, which affects the roof and outer structure. “Water is our main enemy; over time water damage has built up,” says Emily Roth, executive director of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation. “It has become critical to fix it now or else the roof will become unstable.” Since 1973, UTRF, a non-profit organization, has been making strides in preserving the National Historic Landmark. Yet the restoration costs have outpaced funding and has only been compounded by the recession. Thankfully, the organization has received federal funding from the Save America’s Treasures grant through the National Parks Services. The grant will match the group’s fundraising efforts up to $200,000 dollars.  The UTRF is “bound and determined to raise $200,000 dollars” this summer, according to Roth. As a result of the landmark’s status, Roth has seen an increase in support and donations. “We had a flurry of donations from all over the country,” she says. “Making a donation is a way of preserving our cultural heritage.”

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