Chicago’s music scene is a big draw, filling the city with enticing live performances, groundbreaking artists, and plenty of incredible music to enjoy. From the sweeping Candlelight concerts, and popular venues across town, there’s one standout former venue that’s now falls into the landmark category.
A West Loop warehouse and former nightclub, known as the birthplace of house music, has officially been granted historical landmark status. The Warehouse was first sold in December 2022, with current owners saying they aren’t demolishing the space and want to keep the office buildings that eventually took the nightclub’s place.
Initially, a preservation society worked to grant the space landmark status at the beginning of the year.
It seems as though the fervent petition that swept the Chicago music scene has made an impact as the City Council and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has officially approved the space as a historical landmark.
The Warehouse is where DJ and producer Frankie Knuckles founded the popular House music genre. Located at 206 S. Jefferson, the building has been around since 1910 and became home to a popular dance club from 1977 to 1982.
The Warehouse holds cultural significance to Chicago’s LGBTQ, Black, and Latino communities, being a place that broke barriers for marginalized communities, and brought people together.
Now that the historical landmark status is approved, and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks agreed that the building meets multiple criteria, the declaration is now permanent.
The City’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks first received the suggestion back in January and approved landmark status for The Warehouse earlier this June. Now that it’s been approved by the City Council’s zoning committee, it’s officially set in stone.
With the preliminary status approved in April, this new declaration is a big win for the community. Chicago has always been a pioneer of the music scene and community organizers initially pushed for full historical landmark status with a change.org petition that notes “The Warehouse should be protected as a symbol of the rich history of Chicago’s gay and Black communities, the incredible story of house music, and the groundbreaking impact that DJ Frankie Knuckles had on the sound of modern music across the world.”
Granting The Warehouse a Chicago Landmark Designation now fully protects the Warehouse against “demolition and inappropriate alteration.”
The Warehouse, often noted as the birthplace of modern House music, is where Knuckles first started experimenting with mixing disco and European electronic tracks for the first time. Frankie Knuckles won a 1997 Grammy for Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical along with many additional awards and accolades. The House music pioneer passed away in 2014.
As the original petition states, “These walls have a story to tell. And we all should be able to experience first-hand that very place where DJ Frankie Knuckles created house music and changed the world.” this move forward protects The Warehouse for good.
Address: 206 S Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661