1260 North Astor Street, Chicago
by: chicago designslinger
[1260 North Astor Street, Chicago (1931) Philip B. Maher, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
1931 was not a good year for a lot of people. The stock market had crashed only 2 years before and the devastating result of the market's collapse was really starting to take its toll on the country. People were losing their jobs and their homes left and right. If the economy seems like it's in a pretty bad shape now, it was much worse back then. But, then as now, some people weathered the economic storm with nary a scratch on the surface of their monthly financial statements, although even for the very wealthy, lifestyle changes were in the air.
[1260 North Astor Street, Chicago, 1260 N. Astor Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
The big mansions of the previous generation were out and large apartments were in. Mary Dana Stone had grown-up in one of those many-roomed, multi-floored, single family homes, and after her marriage to John Stone, moved into her parent's house where she and her husband raised their family. When the old Norcross house across the street was demolished to make way for a cooperative apartment building Mary saw an opportunity, tear down her mother and father's oversized, outdated pile of brick; get a few friends together; form an apartment building syndicate; and set aside one of the large, single-floored units for herself. She chose her neighbors well. Most of the cooperative building associations in the city went bankrupt during the Great Depression, but 1260 survived, unscathed by money woes.
[1260 North Astor Street, Chicago, Gold Coast National Historic District, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
The coop's owners chose architect Philip Maher to design their building for them. He'd designed the building across the street two years earlier, and 1260 would be a nice compliment to neighboring 1301 Astor. Sleek and streamlined, the Art Moderne detailing was a little more restrained that its exuberant, older Art Deco sibling, while the apartments themselves were outfitted per each owners requirements, and finished in a variety of styles from Louis XVI to the latest in fashionable, contemporary decor.