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Logan Square Monument to Get Lighting Makeover this Summer

By Victoria Johnson | February 25, 2013 9:26am | Updated on February 25, 2013 11:54am

LOGAN SQUARE — The Illinois Centennial Monument in Logan Square will be getting a lighting makeover this summer.

Logan Square Preservation, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the neighborhood's unique features and landmarks, secured state funds to put special spotlights up at the monument this coming summer.

What most people in the neighborhood call "the Monument," was dedicated in 1918 as the Illinois Centennial Monument to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Illinois statehood.

The 68-foot monument featuring an eagle perched on a column was designed by Illinois-born Henry Bacon, best remembered for designing the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C.

Several floodlights now illuminate the tower a bit at night, but Logan Square Preservation President Lewis Coulson said new spotlights would help the memorial really stand out.

"Right now when you drive by at night it's pretty dimly lit, and its such a beautiful monument, we want people driving by to see it and maybe slow down to look at it," Coulson said.

The plans are to install four circular spotlights that will shine on the eagle atop the monument from all sides. Four oval lights will light up the column and the base.

"So it's just a way to make it look prettier and make people stop and enjoy it," Coulson said.

Coulson and Logan Square Preservation have a strong track record for making things prettier in Logan Square. In the '80s and '90s the group organized volunteers to re-plant all the trees along the Logan Square boulevards after they'd been cut down to combat Dutch elm disease.

They campaigned to have the boulevards named as a national landmark, achieved in 1985.

In 2005, the boulevards were granted landmark status in the city.

The group also fought to save the Comfort Station at the west end of Logan Boulevard, now operating as an multidisciplinary art space.

The monument lighting improvement plan is Logan Square Preservation's only active project, and the cost has yet to be determined.

"The bids are going out to the [lighting] companies," he said. "We hope to have it done by the middle of the summer, or at least the end of the summer."