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AIA Dedicates Architects Corner at Old State Capitol in Springfield
Today Past Presidents of AIA Illinois, friends and family gathered to dedicate the Southwest Corner of the Old State Capitol lawn in honor of the three lead architectural masterminds of the Old State Capitol’s 1966 renovation which was an audacious and unlikely feat in an era before historic preservation efforts became commonplace.

Mike Waldinger, Hon. AIA, Executive Director of AIA Illinois, thanked Augie Wisnosky, the family of the late Earl “Wally” Henderson, and the family of the late Donald E. Ferry during a special ceremony to dedicate “Architect’s Corner” as part of the Old State Capitol Foundation’s Bicentennial Urban Park Project.

“In their quest to deliver this project on time and on budget, the design team did not place a traditional marker on the site to show who made it a reality, thinking it could be added somewhere down the road. That day has come at long last for a project that keeps proving its worth decades later,” said Waldinger.

The new plaque and landscaping at the southwest corner of the lawn honors the work of who were at the time co-owners of Henderson & Ferry Architects, Wally Henderson and Don Ferry, and their staff person, Augie Wisnosky, who oversaw the day-to-day reconstruction from 1966-1969.  

The three men convinced Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner that the exterior walls were Lincoln gave his “House Divided” speech should be taken apart, stored at the State Fairgrounds, and then reconstructed on top of a new parking garage.

“Architect’s Corner” is donated by the AIA Illinois Foundation as a contribution toward the State Bicentennial private fundraising project to add gardens and a strolling path inside the fence that separates the Old State Capitol from the downtown plaza.

The inscription on the new marker reads: “First built in 1840 and reconstructed stone by stone in 1970, the Old State Capitol is a national model of historic preservation. The Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects thanks restoration architects Don Ferry, Wally Henderson and Augie Wisnosky for their vision and determination to give new life to a landmark that still inspires architects to design great places for our communities.”

Wally's oral history was captured by UIS and the ALPLM. You can read his thoughts on the Old State Capitol project starting at page 145. Read it here
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