With the support of House music fans, Preservation Chicago, the city of Chicago, and Mayor Brandon Johnson, the building that once was the location of The Warehouse received landmark status by the Chicago City Council. City Council’s Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards approved landmark status for the building during its Tuesday meeting. It was announced Thursday, June 22, 2023.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s, “The Warehouse”, a building known as the birthplace of House music, located at 206 S. Jefferson St. in the West Loop, was home to dance parties hosted by legendary Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles, who helped create House music and popularize it around the world.
The road to landmarking The Warehouse started earlier this year when thousands of people signed an online petition calling on the city to “save” the West Loop building. The landmark designation protects the building’s facade and roofline from being altered by the current owner.
The building — today home to a law office — has been at the center of a recent push to recognize Chicago’s contributions to House music, as well as the numerous LGBTQ+, Black and Latino Chicagoans who helped define the genre.
“The Warehouse opened in 1977 with DJ Frankie Knuckles and a state-of-the art sound system per the vision of owner Robert Williams to convert an old industrial building into a vibrant nightclub creating dancefloor freedom for Chicago’s Black gay community,” Preservation Chicago stated. “It was at this club, with the iconic DJ Frankie Knuckles at the helm, that house music was developed. From The Warehouse this new sound spread from Chicago living rooms to the rest of the world,” Max Chavez, the Director of Research and Special Projects with Preservation Chicago, said at Tuesday’s zoning meeting. “This landscape of world music, because of The Warehouse, because of Frankie Knuckles and because of Chicago was changed forever.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: As a lifetime city of Chicago resident, former DJ, and lover of the House culture, I along with many of my House loving friends who were either pioneers in the creation of House music, patrons of the Warehouse, or simply fans of Frankie Knuckles, made it our mission to put a petition together and UNITE to secure the protection of the place that started it ALL. The entire House community, across planet Earth, came together as a family, to ensure that 206 S. Jefferson would stand forever!
I felt proud to see the House community come together, especially the Chicago House community come together. LET’S KEEP THAT SPIRIT!!!
Click here to see a previous GO BANG! Magazine tribute to Frankie Knuckles upon his passing.
For more background information on the Warehouse and Frankie Knuckles, follow this link to a “Bassement Sound’s” article.