The Historic Preservation Commission has recently completed an architectural and historical survey of the community. To learn more about the survey, click on the following:
River Forest is an historic community committed to protecting, preserving and promoting its rich heritage. Structures in River Forest include historical styles such as Gothic Revival, Victoria, Prairie School, Tudor Revival, Bungalows, Buurma Built, Art Deco, and Moderne. Some of these homes were designed by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, William Drummond, Spencer and Powers, E.E. Roberts, and their contemporaries.
See below for additional information regarding historic preservation including:
- Historic Preservation Ordinance
- Building Permits for Significant Homes
- Significant Properties List
- Landmark Designation Process
- Historic District
- Preservation Resources
- Financial Incentives
- Historic Preservation Award
The Village's Historic Preservation Ordinance establishes the Historic Preservation Commission, identifies the landmark designation and certificate of appropriateness process, and requires the review of Significant Properties for which repair, rehab, reconstruction, restoration, or demolition is proposed prior to permit approval.
Repair, rehabilitation, reconstruction, restoration, demolition, improvement or signage involving more than 20% of any individual street facade or any window replacement of a street facade requires a certificate of appropriateness. Please review the Historic Preservation Ordinance for definitions, construction and design standards, additional provisions and information regarding economic hardship waivers. The Commission has 45 days from the submission of a complete application to review the proposed work. Recommendations by the Commission are advisory and there is no penalty for noncompliance. A complete application includes:
- The applicant's name or the owner's name if different from the applicant;
- Street address and legal description of the site;
- A site plan and front, side and rear elevation drawings;
- A brief description and photographs (both current and historic, if available) of the structure(s), building(s), and landscape features on the site;
- A detailed description of the proposed alteration or demolition, together with pictorial renditions indicating how and to what extent such proposed changes will affect the subject property;
- Identification of any architect or developer involved in the project;
- Such other relevant information as requested by the Village Administrator or as the Commission may require
Questions? Please contact the Village Hall for more information.
The Historic Preservation Commission has designated 298 homes as Significant Properties. Any construction work on these properties must be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission. While the Commission cannot prevent construction or alter proposed plans, the Commission has 45 days to review the application and make recommendations in order to preserve the historical and architectural significance of the property and neighborhood.
Below are documents outlining the landmark designation process.
- Designating a River Forest Landmark
- Landmark Nomination Process
- Landmark Process Flow Chart
- How to Research Your River Forest Home
- Guide to Completing the Landmark Nomination Form
- Landmark Nomination Form
River Forest has a locally established historic district. The district stretches irregularly from the east at Harlem Avenue to the west at the Des Plaines River and from Division Street to the north to Washington Boulevard and comprises approximately 860 properties.
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
- National Register of Historic Places
- Landmarks Illinois
- The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest
There are a variety of federal, state and local financial incentives available to property owners who renovate in a historically sensitive manner. Please click here to find more information about the programs available.
The River Forest Historic Preservation Commission supports and encourages homeowners, builders and other professionals who help preserve the historic character of our Village. An awards program was established by the Commission in 2009 in order to support these efforts.