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"Women Who Built Illinois" Includes Susan Denkmann

Denkmann-Hauberg House
Landmarks Illinois
Denkmann-Hauberg House in Rock Island

One of the newest projects for Landmarks Illinois is called the Women Who Built Illinois. It's a database of the names and information about women architects, and those in related fields such as engineering, landscape architecture, and interior design.

Director of Advocacy, Lisa DeChiera, says it started after the organization included the O'Hare Airport Rotunda on its list of endangered landmarks, and realized it had been designed by a woman (Gertrude Kerbis).

And so far there are 100 names on the list.

"We have so many buildings and places that were designed and built by women, and no one knows it, and a lot of these names are just silent and have not been recognized."

The list also includes "clients" - people who commissioned important landmarks, such as Susan Denkmann of Rock Island and her home, known as
Denkmann-Hauberg House or Hauberg Estate

"When she married John Hauberg, he moved into her house, so she actually was the person who had the foresight to commission that house by a well-known architect of the day, Robert Spencer, a Chicago-based architect who was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright."

Also on the list is Annette McCrea, a landscape architect for the Rock Island Railroad Company.

DiChiera is hoping people will nominate more names for their list - of women who shaped their communities from 1879 to 1979 (landmarks.org/womenwhobuiltillinois/).

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.