The Johnson Publishing Co. Building has been a proud part of Chicago’s downtown since it was first constructed in 1971. However, it was also a beacon of hope and Black pride as it housed Ebony and Jet and many other publications up until 2012.
Given its rich history, the building is ever closer to being commemorated as an historical landmark.
Ebony reports that Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted to give the building preliminary landmark status last week, which protects it from demolition and alterations while it’s considered for a permanent status.
“This is the first office building to be built by an African-American in a major metropolitan city,” said Linda Johnson Rice, Ebony Media’s Chairman Emeritus. “For it to be able to stand the test of time with all of its beauty and strength and the important leaders who walked through those doors, and to know it will still be there gives me a sense of fulfillment.”
The building was first designed by Black architect John Moutoussamy and is still appreciated as a piece of architectural mastery as it overlooks Grant Park.
After being bought by Columbia College Chicago in 2010, the famed building was intended to be turned into a library and the the John H. & Eunice W. Johnson Center, named after the publisher and his wife. These plans fell through and it’s been on the market since June of 2016.
“This designation will cement the building’s status as a landmark that is not just a part of the legacy of the history of Chicago, but the history of our nation,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The decision to grant the Johnson Publishing Co. building permanent status as an historical landmark would be a moment to celebrate all of the history it helped foster in the past. And, despite moving its officers a few blocks away, it would surely inspire more great work from the publishing corporation in the future.
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