Robert Williams opened the nightclub in early 1977, and it closed for good in 1982. But in that short amount of time, the hot spot at 206 S. Jefferson changed the shape of music and culture in Chicago—and eventually, the rest of the world.
Last month, that historical structure appeared on Preservation Chicago’s annual list of the city’s seven most endangered buildings. Considering house music’s international stature, people around the world responded fiercely to the news that the building where Frankie Knuckles changed the course of dance music is vulnerable to demolition. DJ Mag, NME, and Resident Advisor joined a smattering of local outlets in reporting on the news and the efforts to save the Warehouse. Preservation Chicago launched a Change petition to help gather interest; it’s gathered more than 12,000 signatures.
The Department of Planning and Development’s Historic Preservation Division took notice—the division oversees the monthly Commission of Chicago Landmarks meetings. The preliminary landmark recommendation hearing is the first of many steps that can ensure the Warehouse not only avoids demolition but becomes a protected landmark. The meeting begins at 12:45 PM on Thursday, April 13, and it’s virtual; if you wish to speak about the importance of the Warehouse during the meeting, or simply want to attend, this page has all the information you need.
In the interim, I highly recommend reading Deanna Isaacs’s piece about Preservation Chicago executive director Ward Miller for our recent “Best of Chicago” issue. And if you need a guide to some of our past house-music coverage, this handy link has you covered.