Thursday, February 19, 2015

Luther McConnell House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Luther McConnell House (1877) Asa Lyon, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When architect Asa Lyon added this decorative flourish to the facade of Luther McConnell's house in 1877, McConnell was moving into a newly developing residential community on Chicago's north side.

  [Luther McConnell House, 1401 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The lot McConnell purchased at the corner of Dearborn avenue and Schiller street had recently been the southwestern edge of the Catholic Cemetery. In the 1860s as the city grew out beyond its original small town boundaries, the cemetery, which had once been far from the city center, was decommissioned and divided-up into housing lots which the Cardinal sold to a monied clientele. McConnell was one of those select few. He'd made a small fortune working for Marshall Field, of retail fame, as the chief cashier of the Field empire. The family lived there happily. So happily in fact that when the McConnell's daughter got married in 1895, she and her husband moved into the back part of the house, which included its own entrance on Schiller.

  [Luther McConnell House, Gold Coast National Historic District, Chicago /Images & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

McConnell died in 1907 after 35 years with Marshall Field & Co., and the house was purchased by John T. Manierre, a descendant of a pioneer Chicago clan. Subdivided and apartmentized, the house underwent an extensive restoration by recent owner and lover of old buildings, Richard Driehaus. You can catch a glimpse of the house in the background of a scene in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. When Ferris and his cohorts stumble upon Mr. Bueller coming out of the restaurant, that's the Schiller Street entrance of the old McConnell mansion behind them, in all its grey-painted glory.

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