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Uptown Preschool Opens At Former Site Of 120-Year-Old Building That Housed Truc Lam Buddhist Temple

The Gardner School's building at Wilson and Ashland avenues replaced a building that most recently served as a Buddhist Temple.

The Gardner School (l.) replaces the Truc Lam Buddhist Temple, a 120-year-old building.
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UPTOWN — The Gardner School’s preschool in Uptown has opened, taking over a corner lot that previously housed the 120-year-old Truc Lam Buddhist Temple building.

The preschool at 1525 W. Wilson Ave. opened Monday and is now enrolling kids ages 6 weeks to 5 years, preparing them for kindergarten. It’s the 11th local preschool from The Gardner School, and it has been in the works since at least 2019.

The school inhabits a new building, which required the demolition of the historic Buddhist temple that was at the heart of a preservation effort.

The Truc Lam temple was demolished in early 2020, after the Vietnamese Unified Buddhist Association sold the building and plans for The Gardner School’s newest location were announced. The school said at the time it would not fit in the 120-year-old building and saving the structure was not financially viable for the organization.

Credit: zenia/Flickr
Truc Lam Buddhist Temple hosted a stop of a giant Jade Buddha statue tour, pictured here

Although a preliminary landmark designation was approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in 2004, the temple building never gained landmark status.

The building was lined up for landmark approval, but its owners rejected the proposal. City ordinances say a place of worship cannot be landmarked without the property owner’s approval.

The Buddhist Association listed its building in 2017. Previous proposals for the site included a 12-unit condo building.

RELATED: Despite Efforts To Save Truc Lam Buddhist Temple, 120-Year-Old Building Likely To Meet Wrecking Ball

Originally, the building was known as the Ravenswood Club. After that, it was the Paul Revere Masonic Lodge before becoming home to the Buddhist temple.

The Gardner School has six suburban locations and five city locations, including in River North, Bucktown and Lincoln Park. The school at Wilson and Ashland avenues uses “Chicago-Ravenswood” as its official name.

The newest school includes a computer lab, outdoor playground and a cafe that serves organic meals. To learn more about the school, click here.

“The Gardner School is honored to serve the needs of more Chicagoland families with our vibrant learning environment,” Chicago-Ravenswood Executive Director Jennifer Rappel said in a statement.

Credit: Courtesy The Gardner School
A classroom in The Gardner School’s new location at 1525 W. Wilson Ave.
Credit: Courtesy The Gardner School
The Gardner School’s facility at 1525 W. Wilson is the daycare/preschool’s 11th local school.
Credit: Josh McGee/DNA Info
Despite efforts to save the 120-year-old building, it is likely to be demolished.

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