Landmarks Illinois is about 20 years too late the help the Murphy Building in East St. Louis.
The group put it on its 2015 Most Endangered Historic Places list, but clearly this building is beyond saving. When the city of East St. Louis sought redevelopment proposals last year, it got no takers. That’s because, while the front of the building might still look salvageable, collapsed floors are visible from the back. The city has slated demolition for next week, and that is the right next step. This building needed to come down years ago.
Landmarks Illinois and other historic preservation groups would do well to learn about triage so they can better identify which structures can be saved, and which ones are lost causes. Groups can wish all they want that a building be saved, but it’s not going to happen without a developer willing to take on a project.
Calling attention to far-gone, unsafe structures like the Murphy Building is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.