Frederick S. Sherman House
by: chicago designslinger
[Frederick S. Sherman House (1896) /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
In 1910, 95-year-old Chicagoan Samuel Sterling Sherman wrote an autobiography, and he had quite a story to tell. Born in Vermont in 1815, he became a teacher and spent the next few decades climbing the educational ladder. In 1842 he helped found, and became the first president of, Howard College in Marion, Alabama. In 1855 during his tenure as a professor at Judson Female College his friend, college president Milo P. Jewett, was named the first president of Vassar College and Sherman moved into the top job at Judson. The two presidents not only remained friends, but after Sherman moved to Milwaukee in 1859 Jewett followed, and in 1867 they decided to try their luck in a business enterprise far outside the realm of education. Jewett, Sherman & Co. spice, tea and coffee wholesalers proved to be a very profitable move for both men, as well as for their families.
[Frederick S. Sherman House, 1435 N. State Parkway, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
1878 was a big year for the recently incorporated enterprise now known as the Jewett Sherman Co. Sherman's two sons Fred and Henry had decided that they wanted to set-up shop in Chicago and opened Sherman Bros. & Co., distributor of spices, coffee and tea. S.S. decided to leave Jewett and Milwaukee, move to America's post-fire boom town, and join his boys. The Shermans all piled into a large house on Dearborn Avenue on the city's north side and got to work.
[Frederick S. Sherman House, Gold Coast National Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
Frederick S. Sherman turned the company into a major player in a market place teeming with spice and coffee wholesalers. Chicago had become the nation's railroad hub - the central distribution point for millions of products being sent out across an ever expanding and consuming countryside. Businessmen were making big bucks storing goods in massive warehouses along the Chicago River and the major rail lines, then sending them on their way to the retail markets from small farm towns and major urban centers along the Mississippi River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Sherman Bros. business boomed, as did the family's fortune, so in 1896 newly married and with cash in hand, Frederick Sherman built himself a house.
[Frederick S. Sherman House, State Parkway, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]
The 25-foot wide lot Fred chose to build on was not unfamiliar to him - it was right next door to the house his father had built in 1892, and where the newlyweds were currently living. A 4-story single family townhouse that stood at the north side of the of lot line was occupied by the family of John Inderrieden a major figure in the wholesale grocery market. So Fred Sherman's 7,000 square foot mansion created a unique wholesale food purveyor's row. Sherman was at the top of his game. The company patented a brand of mustard, and patented the generic name salada for their coffee and tea brands. Even into the 1960s many a store front screen door in Chicago had a porcelain push bar with the 'SALADA' tea painted across its face. Mr. & Mrs. Frederick S. Sherman stayed in their aesthetically pleasing limestone-fronted house until 1909 when they sold their State Parkway manse to Mr. & Mrs Edward Carry. Samuel Sterling Sherman remained in the house next door until his death in 1914, one day shy of his 99th birthday.