Stevenson Home Added to National List of Historic Sites
Lissau, Russell, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Russell Lissau Daily Herald Staff Writer
He was a governor, an ambassador and a presidential candidate.
Long praised as one of Illinois' greatest statesmen, the late Adlai E. Stevenson II is being honored again as his Mettawa home is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The distinction, announced Thursday at a Lake County Forest Preserve District committee meeting, means the property joins Great Lakes Naval Station near North Chicago, the Catlow Theater in Barrington and about 75 other Lake County sites on the register.
Inclusion on the list - the country's official catalog of locations deemed worthy of preservation - paves the way for the home to be declared a national landmark. The home is owned by the forest preserve district and is about to undergo a $2 million renovation.
County leaders were thrilled by the honor, bestowed by the National Park Service.
"I would hope this emphasizes a period of United States history and somebody who was trying to uphold some of the highest ideals of political life," said forest district Commissioner Carol Spielman, a Highland Park Democrat and outspoken Stevenson admirer. "(He) brought such a high standard to government and political life."
Known as an eloquent speaker, Stevenson was Illinois' governor from 1949 to 1953. He was the Democratic Party's unsuccessful nominee for the presidency in 1952 and 1956 and served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1961 until his death in 1965.
Stevenson lived in the house on St. Mary's Road, south of Route 60, for most of his adult life. Notable guests included then-Sen. John F. Kennedy and former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
"(It's) a real piece of American history," said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican who has campaigned to preserve the property.
The site was donated to the forest district in 1974 and was designated an Illinois Historic Site by the Illinois State Historical Society a decade later.
The house's placement on the national register further adds to Stevenson's legacy. The list contains almost 77,000 historic landmarks, national parks and other properties with national, statewide or local significance.
"It's a validation of the importance that this property should hold, not only for the state of Illinois, but also for the people of Lake County," said Katherine Hamilton-Smith, superintendent of cultural resources for the forest district. …