Saturday, February 21, 2015

Isaac N. Camp Row Houses
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Isaac N. Camp Row Houses (ca. 1873) Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Today when you walk down busy Monroe Street, it's hard to imagine that when Isaac Camp moved into the tall, Italianate row house in the early 1870s the building was located on the outskirts of the city of Chicago. Business was booming in the midwestern outpost, and Camp was in on the action. His business was pianos and organs, and was brought into the musical instrument world by partner Hampton L. Story in 1868. By 1884 Story was ready to move on and Story & Camp became Estey & Camp, which cranked out over 7,000 pianos and organs a year.

  [Isaac N. Camp Row Houses, 1526-1528 W. Monroe Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Camp's next door and wall sharing neighbor was John Crighton of Crighton & Rathborne, flour inspectors. The company worked with members of Chicago's burgeoning Board of Trade making sure wheat futures and their products were legit. The Camps and Crightons were on the outer edge of high society but were socially prominent enough to get a mention now and then in the pages of the city's society columns. This is how we know that in 1874 when the Crighton's daughter Belle got married in the Monore Street house, Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Camp were not only in attendance but gave the newlyweds a silver card-case as a wedding present.

  [Isaac N. Camp Row Houses, National Register of Historic Places, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Camp died at home on July 12, 1896 followed by his wife Flora a few months later. The Crightons moved on to a more fashionable neighborhood and the Monroe Street group fell on hard times. But times have changed once again, and today the row has been spruced up and converted into residential and office condominiums.

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