Though the building was no longer in its “original” form, public outcry over its potential loss urged the Marquette Building’s preservation. In 1973, the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois formed the “Citizens Committee to Save the Marquette.” Coinciding with the 300th anniversary of Marquette and Jolliet’s trip through Chicago, concerned citizens staged a protest in the building’s lobby with period reenactors.
In 1975, the City Council designated the building as a Chicago Landmark, and Banker’s Life and Casualty foreclosed on the owners. Coincidentally, Banker’s Life was owned by John D. MacArthur. In 1978, a subsidiary of Banker’s purchased the building and began a $17 million restoration.