A Chicago preservation group has listed the site of The Warehouse as one of Chicago’s “7 most endangered” buildings and destinations for 2023.

Preservation Chicago unveiled their list of endangered buildings at a noon press conference today. Listed third is 206 S. Jefferson, one of the sites of the legendary early house music club The Warehouse.

Robert Williams arrived from New York City in the mid-1970s and opened The Warehouse (originally “US Studios“) with another New York transplant, Frankie Knuckles, as resident DJ.

According to the release, the 1906 and 2017 structure was “a membership-only venue, the Warehouse became wildly popular, especially with Chicago’s African-American LGBTQ+ community and others, as a place of dancefloor liberation.”

“The Warehouse became known in Chicago as one of the best places to hear this developing sound which later took its name from the nightclub itself, and ultimately become known as house music.”


The building had the same owner since the late 1990s until last December, when the property was listed and a new owner snapped it up. The new owners have not responded to Preservation Chicago’s inquiries.

“The Warehouse should be protected as a symbol of the rich history of Chicago’s LGBTQ+ African-American community, the incredible story of house music, and the groundbreaking impact that Frankie Knuckles had on the sound of modern music today,” the group says.

As we’ve noted in the past, Chicago is fairly awful at preserving historical sites. “We don’t just pave paradise and put up a parking lot here,” we wrote in a story about the city’s initiative to install markers at sites of historical importance for Chicago music. “Sometimes we don’t even pave it over.”

One marker was placed for 206 S. Jefferson — you can see it on the ground on the picture above from the sales listing on LoopNet — unfortunately, less than two years later, that nondescript building where so much that matters today began might be another one that’s gone.

Preservation Chicago has been creating their list of “most endangered” historical buildings, sites and objects since 2003. Learn more about their mission at preservationchicago.org.


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