Demolition begins on 120-Year-Old North Side building

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On the corner of Ashland and Wilson Avenue sits the former Truc Lam Buddhist temple - or what's left of it.

The more than 120-year-old building will be gone for good by the end of the year. In its place will be The Gardner School's newest addition, a two-story daycare and pre-school.

"We love this neighborhood and look forward to being a part of it," said Bryan Slonski, Real Estate Vice President of The Gardner School. "Even though we can't preserve this building we're looking to design a building that's respectful to the architectural history in the neighborhood."

Many neighborhoods and preservationists, however, weren't happy when they caught wind of the demolition, they even tried to give the building landmark status. But the owners didn't want it.

In a statement, Preservation Chicago wrote, "Initial steps were taken, but unfortunately, the Buddhist Temple leadership did not consent to landmark designation and as a result, the building has no formal historic protections."

The building was originally a residential home in 1880s before it was sold to the Ravenswood Club in 1899. It was sold again in 1920 to the Mason's, where it was renamed the Paul Revere Masonic Temple. In 2006, the Buddhists bought the property and renamed the building the Truc Lam Buddhist Temple.

The Buddhists put the temple on the market in 2017. Now, more than two years later ground is finally starting to break.

Slonksi said construction of the daycare is expected to be completed by October and they hope to open the doors to students in 2021.

Jalyn Henderson is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the north side of Chicago in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, West Ridge and Rogers Park. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods you can send an email to Jalyn.L.Henderson@abc.com
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