Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Frederick J. Lange House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Frederick J. Lange House (1893) Thomas W. Wing, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In September of 1893 architect Thomas Wing let the final contract on a house he had designed for Frederick Lange and construction got underway on the $45,000, 3-story brownstone located on Deming Court, today's Deming Place. The rusticated stone, bay-fronted exterior was impressively enhanced with the addition of an impressive porch trimmed in a florid band of rinceaux ornamentation supported by four carved cushion capitals.

  [Frederick J. Lange House, 612 W. Deming Place, Chicago /Image & Artwork: designslinger]

The late 1890s and early 1900s were a busy and prolific time for Wing. He cranked out a number of apartment flats, from the small five room apartment above a storefront to buildings with 7 large, 10-room apartments. One of his best clients at the time was Mr. George V. Hankins, bon vivant, race track and horse owner, and notorious gambler. Hankins used some of his million of dollars in winnings to invest in real estate, and high-end real estate at that. Wing designed a building for Hankins once located at Michigan & 36th Street on Chicago's near south side, heralded as the city's most luxurious apartment dwelling. Built at a staggering cost of $275,000 in 1895, the 11-room apartments were fitted with beautiful hardwoods, marble bathrooms, mosaic tiles, fireplaces, hot water and steam heat.

  [Frederick J. Lange House, Arlington Deming Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Frederick Lange's didn't stay in the house long. The 20-room mansion with a third floor ballroom was sold in 1905 to Rudolph S. Blome for $25,000, and why Lange was willing to take $20,000 less than it cost to build the house is unclear. Blome was an up and coming concrete contractor who had married Miss Viola Dix in 1899, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Albert Breiting who lived further east on Deming, so he was familiar with the neighborhood. Apparently Blome got along so well with his in-laws, that not only was he willing to buy a house down the street from them but in 1906, he, Viola and Mrs. Breiting went on a several week tour of France, Italy and Germany together.
The Blomes left the brownstone mansion in the 1920s to take up residence on Astor Street in the Ambassador Hotel. The house was eventually purchased by the Brainerd family, sensitive custodians of Wing's turn-of-the-century handiwork for three generations.

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