Founded in 1861, Lanark has been able to maintain many of the treasures from its early days as a railroad town.
Some Lanark, Illinois community members have been banding together to keep the city’s rich architectural history from facing the wrecking ball by keeping the cornerstone of this downtown community standing.
The idyllic main street through Lanark is a place neighbors don’t want to disappear to the sands of time.
Cornerstone member Lonnie Prowant said, “If we lose these buildings, chances are in our small town is these buildings will never be built again or anything like them.”
It’s something Lonnie Prowant has already seen as parts of this town’s roots have already disappeared.
Cornerstone President Jim Wyeth said, “Not have a lot of gravel parking lots which would have been. We’ve already lost two buildings next to this one.”
There are less gravel parking lots as the Cornerstone Projects gives some new life to Lanark’s old bones.
Prowant said, “We’re just local people that want to get involved and try to save some buildings downtown.”
The non-profit’s president Jim Wyeth says their efforts started in 2007, stepping in to keep the city for demolishing the building that now is home to the pharmacy.
“Definitely needed a roof,” said Wyeth. “I mean you could drop a car through the holes that were in the roof of it. It was in really horrible shape and the guy that owned it before the city got a hold gutted it, took anything that was worth anything out of it.”
After four years, they passed on the keys and are now on their second major project.
Wyrth said, “This building was originally built by Mr. Valentine, is his name. He was a store clerk, basically a variety store back in the 1800s.”
It’s been about two years of work and money to replace the roof, repairs to the exterior and a fresh coat of paint.
Prowant said, “These buildings just need a little TLC and you know, they need man hours involved to fix the building up and it changes the looks a lot.”
Now, Cornerstone is ready for the next step as they look to sell the building to see how this building will continue to serve the community of Lanark.
Wyeth said, “I think it’s great to have a pharmacy here again for one thing and hard telling what this will turn out to be but it’s got to be something better than a gravel parking lot.”
Cornerstone members complete the work on the builds they rehab.
Community members also donate to help support the effort along with assistance from the city.
Learn more about about the Cornerstone Project visit their Facebook page.