The PURE Gardener Facing Possible Demolition

Historic Pure Oil building to be demolished?

Fans of The PURE Gardener shop were surprised to learn this morning that they may not be operating from their current location much longer.

A meeting of the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 in order to discuss the fate of the circa 1935-37 Pure Oil gas station that The PURE Gardener currently calls home.

The proposal intends to tear down the historic building and the building just behind at 12 S. Fifth St. and replace them with a St. Charles Bank and Trust drive through and parking lot. The site is adjacent to a proposed bank site at 514 W. State. St. Charles Bank and Trust currently operates a Geneva presence at 2401 Kaneville Road. They are a division of Wintrust. 

The Pure Oil building was once on the historic Lincoln Highway, which was one of the earliest transcontinental highways in the United States.  The highway crossed 13 states—New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and ended in San Francisco's Lincoln Park. It predates Route 66, and Historic Lincoln Highway signage can still be seen in Geneva on Route 38.

The building itself is often featured in books and blogs about the Lincoln Highway, and highway buffs make a point of visiting the site. The Geneva Historic Preservation Committee lists the building as "English Cottage Style or Tudor Revival" and "significant."

The PURE Gardener features herbs, vegetables, and flowers in custom containers and many other gardener friendly items. Owners Annette and Craig MacLean are committed to offering organic and natural products for ther customers. Since 2006, many people's days have been brightened during the summer simply driving by the riot of flowers and color at 502 W. State.   

A link to the 2/20/2012 announcement on The PURE Gardener's website:


A link to the current proposal before the Geneva Historic Preservation Commission, the proposal that affects The PURE Gardener begins on page 37:


From the GPC meeting agenda:

"The demolition of the Pure Oil building should be avoided unless compelling
information is provided detailing that the building cannot be part of an economically viable adaptive re‐use plan. Based on the information provided, it appears the building could be adapted for another use."

The meeting of the GPC is at 7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 21.

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Noel G. Rooks February 22, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Yep. The whole audience applauded. It ws impressive to see so many.
Jeanne Letizia March 13, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Sign the petition to Save the Pure Oil/Pure Gardener Building! http://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-mayor-and-the-city-council-of-geneva-illinois-save-the-historic-pure-oil-building#
The Todd November 29, 2012 at 02:23 PM
So does anyone know what is going on with the property now? It looks like some pretty significant construction on the lot, but the building is still intact.
Noel G. Rooks November 29, 2012 at 03:12 PM
@ Todd - the City Council did finally allow the building's owner to modifyy the original demolition proposal. The building will stand. It is now the drive through portion of the Geneva Bank and Trust, undergoing renovation next door. There will be drive through bays punched into the back of the building, and they will landscape the corner. The PURE Gardener has moved. Geneva Bank and Trust is owned by Wintrust.
Noel G. Rooks November 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM


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