Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Three Arts Club, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Three Arts Club, Chicago (1915) Holabird & Roche, architects / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In October 1911 playwright and actress Grace Griswold came to Chicago with an idea, she wanted to establish a safe place for young women studying in the arts where they would be able to live and gather together as a refuge from the rough and tumble streets of the city. She knew Chicago well. Her father Joseph B. Hall had served as the senior warden of the Church of the Ascension on La Salle Street for 26 years until his death in 1898. Although based in New York, Griswold, like most actors of her day spent a lot of time on the road touring and knew first hand all of the temptations and confrontations that awaited young women as they tried to navigate through America's large cities while persuing their careers. So she gathered together a group of prominent Chicago women, most of whom were members of the Chicago Women's Club, and proposed the idea.

  [Three Arts Club, Chicago, 1300 N. Dearborn Parkway, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Griswold offered-up as models the Three Arts Club in New York and Paris, and the Charlotte Cushman Club in Philadelphia. Her plan was to establish a network of clubs in large cities across the country providing reciprocal memberships, the same way that university or business clubs did. Chicago women with last names that read like a who's who of the city's elite decided to sign on and they set about raising money, and finding a location for Chicago's Three Arts Club. Applicants had to be unmarried, between the ages of 18 and 30, and actively persuing a career as a painter, musician, or in the theater - this wasn't meant to be a rest stop for dabbling hobbyists.

  [Three Arts Club, Chicago, National Historic Landmark / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Board of Managers rented the old Terrell mansion on La Salle Street. Mrs. J. Ogden Armour oversaw and provided the funds for the decoration and furnishing of the main parlors and dining room, where resident and non-resident members could enjoy the company and camaraderie of like-minded careerists. Edith Rockefeller McCormick, Louise DeKoven Bowen, and other board members each donated the funds required to outfit one of the bedrooms that provided sleeping accomodations for up to 16 women. At first things didn't go as planned, there were few takers, but as word spread the Three Arts Club of Chicago found itself bursting at the seams. In 1913 the Board of Managers set-out on a campaign to raise the funds to either buy or build a new home, which was spearheaded by their president Miss Gwethalyn Jones. Jones was a single women of means. Her father David Benton Jones had made a fortune in zinc mining which he generously shared with his children. When Gwethalyn found a site that she considered perfect for the new club her father purchased the aging J.M.W. Jones (no relation) mansion at the northwest corner of Dearborn Avenue and Goethe Street and gave the club a low-cost, long-term lease on the land.

  [Three Arts Club, Chicago, City of Chicago Landmark / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The board hired the architectural firm of Holabird & Roche to design a purpose-built facility with enough housing for 90 women, a suite of dedicated studio spaces, and enough room for a dining room, social hall and recital room. Senior partner William Holabird's son John oversaw the project and found inspiration in the decorative Byzantine motifs of 6th century Ravenna with a dash of 16th century Paris. Studios took-up most of the fourth floor, bedrooms were on the second and third, and the dining and social rooms on the first floor opened-up on to an landscaped central courtyard. David Jones decided to help his daughter a little more in her endeavors and paid for the construction of the building. At the time of his death in 1923 the building and the land were donated to the club which now had a long waiting list of pending residential applicants.

  [Three Arts Club, Chicago, Gold Coast National Historic District, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Fifty years after David Jones' death the country, and the world, were undergoing great social changes. Fewer and fewer women found that they needed a place like the Three Arts to protect them from the evils of city life, and the "No Male Visitors After 11" policy seemed more and more antiquated and out-of-touch as time went on. In 1980 there was a board room kerfuffle when some members felt that the time had come to shut down the facility while others felt there was still a need. Then as educational institutions like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago started providing housing much closer to their downtown campus, residency at the Three Arts fell to unstainable levels and the facilty finally closed its doors in May, 2003. The National Historic and City of Chicago Landmark was purchased for $13 million in 2007 by a developer who planned to convert the interior of the landmark building into a luxury boutique hotel. Nothing ever came of that plan, so the structure sat empty for a while before another proposal emerged: converting the former residence for the living into a repository for the dead. The columbarium idea never went any farther, and then in October, 2013 the Chicago City Council voted to approve a zoning change for the site which would allow Restoration Hardware to occupy the building at Dearborn and Goethe. The company plans to open their rebranded, upscale, RH store in the spring of 2015.
The D. L. Moody Memorial Church
 by: chicago designslinger

 [The D. L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School (1925) Fugard & Knapp, architects / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1854, 17-year-old Dwight Lyman Moody left his mother's home in Northfield, Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border and headed south to Boston. He had big plans. He set out on a mission to learn the ins and outs of the business world, intent on earning $100,000 a year as a result of his endeavors. Once he reached Boston he found work as a clerk in a shoe store and by the time he turned nineteen, he had come to the conclusion that Chicago might actually be the place where he would realize his dream.

  [The D. L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School, 1635 N. La Salle Street, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

He wouldn't be the first, nor the last New Englander who believed that the young city out on the western frontier might be just the right place for an enterprising young man to make a fortune in the dry goods trade. Marshall Field, another Massachusetts native, came to Chicago in the same year as Moody, but while Field went on to become one of the wealthiest men in the United States, Moody found another calling. He was working as a salesman for C.N. Henderson & Co. in downtown Chicago, when he discovered a neighborhood very different from the one he lived in on Michigan Avenue. Just north of the Chicago River, in and around Illinois, Franklin and Market (today's Orleans) Streets Moody discovered a ramshackle neighborhood comprised primarily of Irish immigrants from an area in County Cork, Ireland called Kilgubbin. It was one of the city's densest and poorest whose streets were lined with small, deteriorating wooden shacks and filled with young boys popularly known as "Street Arabs."

  [The D. L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School, Near North Side, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Moody, an active member of Plymouth Congregational Church which was located near the boarding house he was living in, thought that if he could get these unruly young men to attend Sunday school he might be able to save them from the horrible life he believed was ahead of them. In 1859 he rented a room in one of the dilapidated buildings in the neighborhood, and with missionary zeal began canvassing the streets for young recruits. All of this effort caught the attention of upstate New York transplant and dry goods tycoon James V. Farwell, who offered Moody a meeting space in Farwell's North Market Hall building on Hubbard Street for the Sunday classes. Moody quit his job, ditched the idea of earning $100,000-a-year, and dedicated himself to his new life calling.

  [The D. L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School, Old Town, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

By 1864, Moody had become well known in the city for his work, and was able to raise enough funds to build a church and Sunday school on Illinois Street. Swept away in the fire of 1871, he sets his sights on a location further north and chose the intersection of Chicago Avenue and La Salle Street. Ironically, he never served as the church's senior pastor, instead choosing to focus all of his attention and energy on his evangelical, soul-saving mission. In 1874 after an extended excursion conducting revival meetings across England, Moody settled in his home town of Northfield, Massachusetts where he died in 1899. The last decade of his life rarely saw him back in Chicago, but in 1886 he was actively involved in the creation of the Chicago Evangelization Society.

  [The D. L. Moody Memorial Church & Sunday School, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

After his death, and in honor of their founder, the Society became the Moody Bible Institute and the church the D. L. Moody Memorial Church & School. Although they both took on the Moody label, and although the pastor of the church often served as the president of the Institute, legally they were, and are, their own separate entities - which has lead to much confusion. In 1915 Moody Memorial Church left their corner at Chicago Avenue and La Salle Street and the main campus of their cousin the Institute, and erected a very large "temporary" wooden tabernacle farther up La Salle at North Avenue. The temporary tabernacle was on its last wooden legs by the mid-1920s when the congregation announced that architects Fugard & Knapp would be designing a permanent home for the church and school. John Fugard and George Knapp had designed a number of large apartment houses along East Lake Shore Drive and in the Gold Coast neighborhood in their nine years as partners, and Moody Church would be one of their last projects together. In May, 1925 while the church was under construction, George Knapp decided to focus on his investment portfolio and left the firm. Their highly ornamented exterior enclosed a Sunday school and a 5,000-seat auditorium with enough space left over for a 300 person choir. The structure became one of the largest, purpose-built, Christian-identified, worship spaces in the world.
Dearborn Street Station
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Dearborn Street Station (1885) Cyrus L.W. Eiditz / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

If you traveled in or out Chicago's Midway or O'Hare airports in 2013, you were one of 86,874,713 passengers who passed through their terminals, landing or taking-off on one of the 1,135,126 aircraft that used the airports' runways. It also makes you part of a transportaton hub system whose history dates back over 135 years.

  [Dearborn Street Station, 47 W. Polk Street, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

From the time the Galena & Chicago Union's first rail car pulled out of the station on its way to suburban Oak Park on October 25,1848, Chicago's movers and shakers never looked back. After the Civil War ended in 1865 a determined group of the city's business leaders and boosters worked relentlessly to connect Chicago to an ever expanding national rail network, and as a result of their effort, by the 1880s, more trains and their passengers passed through Chicago than anywhere else in the world. And unlike today's airports which are generally owned and operated by government agencies, in the 1880s, train terminals were owned, constructed and operated by the railroads themselves.

  [Dearborn Street Station, City of Chicago Landmark / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad had first chugged into the city in the 1850s where it joined a number of other emerging rail lines establishing acre-gobbling rail yard presence south of the downtown business district. They purchased a large piece of land that extended from Van Buren Street all the way down to Taylor Street, between Fourth (today's Federal Street) and Third (today's Plymouth Court). They then constructed a small passenger terminal on Fourth Avenue,  just east of the two-block long depot of the Rock Island and Southern Michigan railroads. Then in 1882, at a March meeting of the Chicago City Council, alderman passed a bill authorizing the extension of Dearborn Street from Jackson Boulevard south to Taylor, which would run right through the middle of the railroad's property. Needless to say, the C & W.I. wasn't happy about it.

  [Dearborn Street Station, Printer's Row, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The city set aside a sum of money to compensate property owners for the 80-foot-wide street, but the owners of the Chicago & Western Indiana weren't interested in selling. After losing their battle in court, Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr. worked out a compromise with the railroad: if the C & W.I. would sell their land from Van Buren to Polk Street, then the city would not extend Dearborn all the way to Taylor. A deal was reached, and in 1884 with cash-in-hand, the railroad got to work on building a train station which would sit prominently at the foot of the newly extended Dearborn Street. The rail road hired New York City architect Cyrus L.W. Eiditz to design their new terminal, who drew-up plans that included an eye-catching clock tower that sat right in the middle the the block-wide building, and dominated the newly created intersection. The Dearborn Street Station, home to the Chicago & Western Indiana and five other rail lines, opened for business on May 31, 1885.

  [Dearborn Street Station, South Loop, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Dearborn Street Station was one of six passenger train terminals that surrounded Chicago's downtown Loop district. Four of them were within easy walking distance of one another at the southern end of the Loop, which for decades virtually halted the expansion of the business district southward as the city grew in population and prominence on the world stage. But the train traffic entering and exiting those six terminals put Chicago on the map as the busisest transportation hub in the world, a title Chicago proudly proclaimed for decades, even after passenger train traffic had been replaced by air travel. Thirty-five years after Dearborn Station's opening, plans were afoot to move the lines using the terminal into a new central station. One proposal called for a massive passenger terminal at State & 12th Street, consolidating the lines that fed into the La Salle Street, Grand Central, Union and Dearborn Street stations. In December 1922, after a fire completely destroyed the roof of the Dearborn Street depot, it seemed like consolidating move was imminent. But then the insurers of the badly burnt station paid for the loss, the railroad repaired the damage, and the station continued to serve pasengers until rail passenger service in the United States had declined to such an extent that the federal government created Amtrak to try and save the industry from complete obliteration. Developers, with the help of the city, purchased the now defunct depot known as the Polk Street Station and the acres of rail lines extending from it, and today the Dearborn Park residential development sits where tracks once sat, and the station serves as an entry portal to an office and shopping arcade. It is the oldest serving remnant of Chicago's heyday as the world's busiest passenger rail hub.
John G. Garibaldi House
 by: chicago designslinger

 [John G. Garibaldi House (1887) / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1808 New Yorker John Jacob Astor began a business called the American Fur Company which 10 years later dominated the fur market around the Great Lakes, including the southern edge of Lake Michigan in and around the U.S. government outpost of Fort Dearborn. By the 1830 Astor had cornered the fur market in North America and had become America's wealthiest resident. It was also around this time that he ditched the fur business and got into the real estate market, primarily in his home city but also in the tiny hamlet of Chicago. By the time Astor died in 1848, Chicago had become a city and Astor's property would forever be recorded on plat maps as Astor's Addition to Chicago. But who reads plat maps. However, when the city and its developers scooped-out neighborhood streets through Astor's Addition they named one of the avenues for the fur trader, so his name lived-on in Chicago in a much more obvious and less plat-obscure way.

  [John G. Garibaldi House, 1236 N. Astor Street, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When John G. Garibaldi decided to build a single family home on the street in 1886, Astor was becoming known as a street where men of means could show that they had crossed the class line from middle to upper. Garibaldi was a Genoese who came to Chicago as a young man and settled in the northern Italian immigrant community that had established itself in the area just north of today's Merchandise Mart building. In 1879 Garibaldi and his neighbor Joseph Arata started a wholesale fruit and nut distribution company and were joined by another neighbor, Andrew Cuneo. Cuneo's father Giovanni (John) B. Cuneo had immigrated from the Genoese region of Italy as well and had come to Chicago in the late 1850s with his wife and two sons in tow. Cuneo opened a grocery store, invested any savings he had in real estate, and bought-up even more property after the Chicago Fire. He and his wife Catherine set about raising their six children in an apartment building at the southwest corner of Franklin and Illinois Streets, whose apartments in 1880 also included families like the Aratas and Arados.

  [John G. Garibaldi House, Gold Coast National Historic District / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

1880 was also the year that Andrew's younger brother Frank joined Garibaldi & Arata, and in 1882 Garibaldi & Arata became Garibaldi & Cuneo. To tighten the bond even further, John Garibaldi married Frank and Andrew's younger sister Theresa in 1884 making the Cuneos and Garibaldi brothers-in-law. Then another Cuneo brother decided to get into the wholesale fruit business, so Andrew left the partnership with John and Frank and joined with his brother Lawrence to found Cuneo Brothers, and Frank and John went on to become the largest wholesale banana importers in the United States. All the fruit and nut familial connections got even more confusing when Garibaldi and the Cuneo brothers each named a son John, Andrew, Frank or Lawrence between them.

  [John G. Garibaldi House, Astor Street Historic District / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

There weren't a lot of houses on Astor Street in 1886 when Garibaldi purchased the corner lot at Scott and Astor Streets. The area from Division Street to North Avenue, and Lake Shore Drive to State Street, was sparsely populated. The lot Garibaldi purchased did have a small frame house at the west edge of the property line, so he tore that down and got to work erecting a much more sunstantial tw0-story brick dwelling. He used his ever increasing income to invest in real estate just as his father-in-law had done before him, and by the time of his death in his home on January 29, 1917 at age 68, he was a very wealthy man. His widow Theresa survived him, as did his five sons and two daughters, one of whom had married Count Guilio Bolognese.

  [John G. Garibaldi House, Astor Street, Chicago / Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Sixty-eight-year-old Theresa Cuneo Garibaldi died in the home she had shared with her husband at 1236 N. Astor Street in 1933. The Garibaldi sons, like their father and grandfather Cuneo before them, became actively involved in the real estate business. Their father's vast portfolio included the Garibaldi Apartments on the corner of Rush and Walton Streets, and in 1955 they hired Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg to design a two-story commercial office building for the site. In 1957 the brothers decided that the home they had grown up in was not worth the real estate it was sitting on and asked Goldberg to design a, much more profitable, modern apartment tower for the Astor and Scott Street corner. It was a period of another great transformation in the history the Gold Coast neighborhood. Large single family homes had begun to be replaced by tall apartment towers as early as the 1920s, but once the Great Depression set-in, followed by the Second World War, construction of  large apartment blocks had ground to a halt. But the booming post-war, 1950s economy brought in a wave of new apartment tower construction that dwarfed the transformative years of the late 20s. The Garibaldis never built their high-rise apartment building, but Goldberg would go on to design a tower just up the street at Astor and Goethe.
Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris University
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris University (1891) William Le Baron Jenney, Jenney & Mundie, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When Chicago businessman and real estate entrepreneur Levi Z. Leiter purchased the southeast corner of State and Van Buren Streets in 1881, he was buying a piece of Chicago pop culture history. Back when the intersection was so far out-of-town that it was barely recognizable as an intersection, William Bross put his in-town, wood-framed house on wheels and rolled it down the mud rut that eventually became State Street and planted his house at the corner of  Van Buren. He decided to leave it sitting on its wheel base so as to prevent the home from sinking into the mud, and his story became one of those often repeated early Chicago urban legends.

  [Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris Univeristy, 403 S. State Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

By the time Leiter purchased the property from Henry C. Rew in February, 1881 Gross’s house was long gone, the Chicago Fire had burned through the area and there was a post-fire commercial property standing on the corner. Leiter had just ended his long-time and very profitable realtionship as Marshall Field’s retail partner. He was done with the day-to-day grind of  Field Leiter & Co. and ready to grow his large bank account with investments in real estate, railroads, banks, and Chicago’s emerging rapid transit system.

  [Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris University, National Historic Landmark, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Leiter’s purchase comprised a parcel that consumed one-half of the block frontage running south along State Street from Van Buren, and over the next eight years, piece-by-piece, purchased the remaining frontage south to Congress Street. As a stockholder in the Chicago City Railway Company which took over the Chicago and South Side Rapid Transit Elevated Railway, Leiter may have known, or played a role in, having the Loop terminus of the south side line end at Congress Street, abutting the southern edge land investment - or perhaps it was pure coincidence.  He then got to work on improving the block-long property and hired one of the city’s most promiment and developer friendly architects William Le Baron Jenney. Leiter had already worked with Jenney on another piece of downtown commercial real estate the dry-goods-merchant-turned-venture-capitalist had constructed in 1879 at the corner of  Wells and Monroe Street. Jenney produced a building that was Miesian before Mies. The architect opened up the spans between supporting piers as far as technology would allow and filled the open bays of the loft-style building with panes of glass that would help plant the seeds of the future revolutionary style that became known as the Chicago School. In the Second Leiter building Jenney would do much of the same.

  [Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris University, City of Chicago Landmark /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Second Leiter was much larger than the first and included structural innovations that Jenney came to use in other projects, like his renowned Home Insurance Building. Jenney had also been working with an industrious young man named William Mundie, who would become a full partner in Jenney’s firm and have his name added to the door by the time the State Street Leiter building was completed in 1891. The building was bare bones structurally. The minimal yet strong, supporting metal frame allowed for an open flexible interior, and as with the First Leiter, large, 16-foot-high window bay openings were filled with glass. Plus, the frame and foundations were able to handle the two stories Leiter eventually added to the original seven. The grey granite exterior was heavy and hefty looking, far beyond any structural requirement, but it gave the building substance and attracted the attention of Siegel, Cooper & Co. Siegel & Cooper already had a presence in a retail emporium located at the corner of Adams and Wabash, but in August 1891, just as construction was winding-up on Levi Leiter’s latest investment, Siegel, Copper & Co. nearly burned to the ground. After surveying the damage they renegotiated the lease on their burned-out corner lot, then in an abrupt about-face, leased the 12-acre, 538,620 square-foot Leiter building for a term of ten years at $280,000 per annum, joining a long line of large-square-foot consuming retailers that stretched along Chicago's retail mecca, where they remained for another 16 years.

  [Second Leiter Building - Robert Morris University, Loop Retail Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

By the time Siegel, Cooper vacated the premises in 1917 Levi Leiter was dead, and his son Joseph was overseeing his father’s vast estate. Joe Leiter got in touch with Bill Mundie who had taken over the architectural firm from Mr. Jenney, with the intent of using that flexibly-partionable interior space to its best advantage by creating an indoor shopping mall of a sort. Instead of looking for one tenant to take over the whole building, Joe’s idea was to lease space to a variety of retail tenants and create a kind of indoor shopping arena. It didn’t work out as well as Joe had hoped. Then in the early 1930s just as the Great Depression was really beginning to place the U.S. economy in a stranglehold, Sears Roebuck & Co. decided to take over the entire Leiter property and open their first downtown Chicago retail location. The grand opening on March 1, 1932 was so overwhelmingly successful, drawing tens of thousands of shoppers in one day, that Sears took out a full page ad in the Chicago Tribune on March 4th with a prominent banner exclaiming "Thank You Chicago!" The good times for Sears on State lasted until the early 1980′s when many of the large State Street department stores began folding up their tents and vacating what had once been the city’s primary retail destination. In 1998 Robert Morris College moved into Jenney’s adaptable building and continues to occupy the massive structure today as Robert Morris University.
Stewart Apartments - 1200 N. Lake Shore Drive
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Stewart Apartments - 1200 N. Lake Shore Drive (1913) Marshall & Fox, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

On June 22, 1913 architect and real estate developer Benjamin Marshall authored a column in the Chicago Tribune titled, "Apartment More Like Residence." He was letting Tribune readers know that a "new scheme" for apartment living was on the horizon for the monied class, apartments that would fulfill all the requirements of a large single family home but in a more contemporary and economical venue. It was time to shed Granny's bulky, old, 15,000-sqaure-foot, multi-storied dwelling for a 5- or even 10,0000-square-foot apartment, wrapped in an elegant exterior facade with luxurious and sophisticated multi-roomed interiors. And plenty of room for servants.

  [Stewart Apartments - 1200 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Chicago businessman John K. Stewart apparently felt that Marshall knew what he was talking about. In October of 1912 Stewart purchased one of those big old houses which had been standing on the northwest corner of Lake Shore Drive and Division Street since 1883. Emily and Samuel Gross had purchased the Burnham & Root designed house from James Charnley who eventually built a house on nearby Astor Street, and when Stewart bought the house from Emily in 1912, instead of moving in, he decided to tear it down.

  [Stewart Apartments - 1200 N. Lake Shore Drive, Near North Side, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Stewart hired Marshall, who was busy designing and developing "new scheme" housing for the upper class along Lake Shore Drive and the city's near north side Gold Coast community, to design a building for Stewart that would attract the exact type of clientle that the architect was talking about. Marshall came up with a 12-story tower that would fill the entire corner lot and contain 10 floor through apartments each with a Grand Salon, Salle A Manger, L' Orangerie, Bibliotheque, a Chambre for Madame, one for Monsieur, three Chambre A' Coucher, five Chambre for the Domestique, and six Salon de Basin. Plus the requisite kitchen, butler's pantry, reception halls, and storage. If you required more rooms for staff the top floor and the bottom two floors of the building were also set aside for servants quarters should you need them, and a playroom on the top floor was created for the tenant's children and grandchildren, when they came for a visit.

  [Stewart Apartments - 1200 Lake Shore Drive, Gold Coast, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Stewart didn't move in, but he did find tenants who were ready to shed the trappings of old world living for something new and modern. The building attracted interest among residents of the now fading but formerly glorious Prairie Avenue. Once home to a majority of Chicago's wealthiest and most formidable citizenry, the south side residential district surrounding "the street where the elite meet" had been undergoing a transformation ever since Potter Palmer and people like the James Charnleys had decided to move north. There were still hold outs in the first decade of the 1900s, but everyone could see the handwriting on the walls of their once glamorous residences. The John Mitchells, the Chauncey Keeps and the James Thornes, left the dusty, smoky, and industrializing shores of their south side community for a fresh, new way of life at 1200 Lake Shore Drive. Two years after the first tenants moved into the Stewart Apartments, A. Watson Armour of the meat packing family decided to join his former Prairie Avenue neighbors leaving his mother behind, content to still live in her massive, old-fashioned, single-family Prairie Avenue home.

  [Stewart Apartments - 1200 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Even with rents in the $5,000 to $6,000 per month range it was still cheaper and much easier to maintain a 10,000-square-foot apartment rather than a similarly-sized single family home. Only living "in town" for a few months out of every year, it was much easier to lock the door and leave behind your doorman-maned apartment building for the four months of winter in Florida or California and the four months of summer in Lake Forest, Lake Geneva, or Bar Harbor, than it was to lock-up the old house for eight months. Eventually however the luxe life that the Stewart Apartments offered at 1200 Lake Shore Drive came to an end. The Thornes and Armours would join the Fields and Wrigleys at what would become one of  the city's most exclusive high-rise addresss at 1500 Lake Shore Drive when the building was completed in 1929. The Stewart was divided into smaller and smaller sized dwelling units, and Marshall's ten 10,000- square-foot apartments were eventually divvied-up into 40+ units. In 2009 the building underwent a $6 million exterior renovation which revealed the very non-glamorous steel structure that supported all of Marshall's non-structural Adams-style inspired decor. Some of the apartments have grown back to their near original size, but instead of renting, you now have to buy since 1200 Lake Shore Drive is a condominium.
Methodist Book Concern Building
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Methodist Book Concern Building (1916) /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Moving is never easy, and when the Chicago-based regional jurisdiction of the Methodist Episcopal Church announced that some of their offices were going to be consolidated into one new structure on the northwest corner of Superior and Rush streets in 1914, not everyone was happy.

  [Methodist Book Concern Building, 740 N. Rush Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The reason for the move was that the lease on the building the Church had been renting on South Wabash Avenue was about to expire. The Wabash Avenue building housed the offices of auxiliary church departments as well as the operations of the Methodist Book Concern, and while disgruntled ministers had no problem moving the publishing concern all the way to Rush and Superior, they saw no reason for other departments to be sent off into the hinterlands of the city's near north side.

  [Methodist Book Concern Building, Near North Side, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The new location, had been, until very recently, the long time home of Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian's Romanesque meets Gothic church building had occupied the corner at Rush and Superior since the 1870s but the former residential neighborhood had changed, and when Fourth Church's new building on Michigan Avenue was ready for occupancy in May 1914, the old church was torn down, and the Methodist's purchased the soon-to-be-vacant corner lot in September.

  [Methodist Book Concern Building, Rush Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The Book Concern had been around for a long time. Founded in 1789, it was the nation's oldest continuously operating publication house. The Concern imprint was not only responsible for producing religiously focused tomes, but printed works of fiction, non-fiction, children's books, school books and periodicals. They also operated book stores around the country, which not only sold books with their own imprint on the title page, but other publisher's works as well - this was a multi-million dollar operation. When the 125 foot by 125 foot, 4-story, brick-columned Chicago branch office opened in 1916 it contained not only the Concern's printing presses and publishing offices, but also included the offices of several disgruntled ministerial department heads.

  [Methodist Book Concern Building, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

On May 28, 1920 the Chicago Tribune reported that the Concern was planning an addition to the west of their square 125x125 foot building, designed by architect H.B. Wheelock. And anticipating future growth, the foundation of the four-story annex would be constructed so that, if need be, an additional two-stories could be built at a later date. It took six years before a $450,000 annex made its debut in May 1926, and the Book Concern and auxiliary church offices occupied the Rush and Superior building for nearly 50 years. After serving as the headquarters of Crain Communications until 2001, the first floor of the former printing plant became the flagship location of the Giordano's Pizza enterprise. But as with all living breathing urban environments, change may becoming once again to the former site of Fourth Presbyterian's corner location. As Chicago froze in the polar vortex of January 2014, developers announced their intentions to build a tall, slim-towered hotel on the site of the 1920s annex and into the western half of square corner building. While the plan called for the complete demolition of the 20s-era building and a portion of the Book Concern, the proposal did call for the preservation of 3-bays of the brick, engaged-column colonnade along Superior Street, and the entire Rush Street facade. Public hearings will be held, neighborhood residents have begun a petition drive to stop the project, and the old Methodist Book Concern Building may eventually lose its symmetrically square profile for a truncated rectangular face.
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago (1914) Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

If the week of May 10, 1914 was a momentous one for the membership of Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church, it was probably a reflective one for East Coast-based architect Ralph Adams Cram. Known as one of the country's foremost Gothic Revivalists, Cram's oversight of a new church edifice for the 43-year-old congregation marked a turning point in the designer's career. With partners Bertram Goodhue and Frank Ferguson, Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson had become the nation's go-to Gothicists. But on December 31, 1913 Goodhue, whose sharp eye and delicate hand with detail had helped bring acclaim to the partnership, decided to go it alone ending his 21-year professional relationship with Cram. Fourth Church was one of the last commissions they designed together.

  [Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Michigan Avenue at Chestnut Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Fourth Church was not technically the city's 4th Presbyterian congregation, but it would be the first with Fourth in its title. The name came into being as the result of a merger between two established Presbyterian congregations - North Church and Westminster Church. Back in 1848, a small cluster of north side Presbyterian believers were tired of having to take the only ferry that crossed the Chicago River in order to get to one of the three existing Presbyterian churches on the more populated south side of town. So they got together and formed the North Presbyterian Church. By the mid-1850s slavery had become a hot topic in the United States. Tempers were flaring, and while all members of North Church believed slavery was evil, the path to the abolition of the inhuman practice divided "Old School" members from "New School" believers. So in 1858 "New Schoolers" formed a mission church on the north side as well, Westminster. In February 1871 past disagreements were put aside and the two congregations came back together again forming Fourth Presbyterian, which would collectively assemble for worship in the Westminster building. On September 9, 1871 the Chicago Tribune reported that new Fourth Church pastor David Swing had "handed its edifice over to Jevne and Almini," the city's top drawer decorating firm, "for new frescoes."  Four weeks later the Chicago Fire leveled the north side of Chicago.

  [Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, National Historic Landmark /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Church elders decided to rebuild at a new location a few blocks north of their former site and in 1873 moved into their new home on the northwest corner of Superior and Rush Streets, just down the block from the new edifice of the Roman Catholic's Church of the Holy Name. The Presbyterian congregation counted some of the city's wealthiest citizens among its membership. St. James Episcopal Church, three blocks to the south, were no slouches when it came to wealthy, powerful Chicagoans seated in their sanctuary pews, but Fourth became popularly known as the "rich peoples" church. Fourth Presbyterian counted all branches of the powerhouse McCormick family among its membership, and family matriarch Nettie McCormick set a standard of giving to those less fortunate that became a level of service to the larger community which the church maintains to this day.

  [Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Magnificent Mile /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Over the next 40 years Fourth Church ministered to rich and poor alike from their Romanesque-styled home at Rush and Superior Streets. But as the building aged and the neighborhood changed, church elders decided the time had come for another move and found a piece of property near the northern end of Lincoln Parkway in a quiet, residential community. The south half of the block-long site facing Chestnut Street, was vacant, but along Delaware Street a row of townhouses would have to come down, as would the Artizan Brass Company building and an automobile repair garage which faced the Parkway. The building committee hired the two guys many considered to be the country's premiere practitioners of Gothic Revival, and Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Goodhue got to work on their final addition to a handsome portfolio of churches the pair had designed since forming their partnership in 1892.

  [Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Although their practice from all outward appearances seemed to be all about copying a 400-year-old British-inspired Gothic tradition, Cram and Goodhue saw themselves as modernists. Their large commercial, educational and ecclesiastical projects were constructed of steel framing and came with all of the latest technological innovations of the time. However the designers found a beauty and purity in the British Gothic model which they believed could be used as creatively in the 20th century as it was in the 16th. Fourth Church's new sanctuary opened to the public on May 10, 1914, which was followed by a week long celebration. In 1920, six years after the church's dedication, a bridge spanning the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue opened to automobile traffic, Pine Street and Lincoln Parkway got a new name, and the quiet residential neighborhood around Fourth Church was changed forever. The spire that had once dominated the landscape was eventually dwarfed by ever and ever taller structures, but the project Cram oversaw after his partner's departure still offers a moment of contemplative Gothic reflection in a sea of cars, buses and pedestrians.
Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago (1964) Edo Belli, Belli & Belli, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1869 a handful of nuns from the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul left their order's headquarters in Emmitsburg, Maryland and headed west to Chicago. The order had been organized in the early 1800's by Elizabeth Ann Seton a native New Yorker who had converted to Catholicism in 1805, and who would go on to become the first native-born American to become a Roman Catholic saint. Her Sisters of Saint Joseph dedicated themselves not only to their church but also to the care of the poor and destitute, and in 1810 Seton decided that the St. Joseph sisters would hook-up with the similarly dedicated Sisters of Charity which had been founded in France in the 17th century. When the Maryland-based sisters arrived in Chicago they immediately set about the task of opening a hospital that would provide healthcare to all regardless of race, nationality, religion - or ability to pay - and began searching for a facility to practice in.

  [Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago, 2900 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

They found a house available for rent far outside the city limits in the suburb of Lake View, signed a three lease at $600 per year, and opened Provident Hospital. After just two years of providing care, the sisters, overrun with patients, were on the hunt for a much larger facility. They found a large vacant lot in a not very built-up section of Chicago at the northwest corner of Burling and Sophia (later Garfield, today's Dickens) Streets, and got to work raising money for a new hospital building. On a blistering hot day in August, 1871 the Roman Catholic Bishop of Chicago led a procession from the Church of the Holy Name at State and Cass (Wabash) Streets, on a several mile march across the city's dusty dirt roads to Burling and Sophia where a crowd of 10,000 people witnessed Bishop Thomas Foley lay the cornerstone of Saint Joseph Hospital.

  [Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago, Lake View, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

The sisters had raised enough money to build the first section of what they hoped would one day be a three-wing hospital facility. The central four-story brick structure, topped-off by a prominent mansard roof, would cost in the neighborhood of $40,000 while an additional $40,000 would be needed to complete the other two wings. Construction on the mansard roof had just begun when a fire started far to the south of the building site on the night of October 8, 1871, and finally burnt itself out on October 10th just a few blocks east of the hospital's location. In the aftermath of the devastating blaze construction ground to a halt, but on April 29, 1872 the 95-foot wide by 50-foot deep hospital building was ready to receive its first patients.

  [Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

There were wards for female and male patients containing four to eight beds each which ran $6/week. Eighteen private rooms were available for $10/week, attended by visiting hospital staff doctors. You could have a private room with your own private physician for an extra fee, along with additional up-charges for things like washing, linens, and medicines. Since the sister's mission was to provide care for all, you paid what you could, and if you had no funds, care was provided free. Needless to say money was always tight. However, as the population of the city grew around Saint Joseph's, so did donations, and the hospital plant itself. The two wings were built, the sisters got a dedicated dormitory building at the north edge of their property, another wing was built along the Burling Street property line, and the M.J. O'Malley Home was constructed across the street. A day nursery and the De Paul Settlement were established around the corner on Halsted Street, and by the mid-1950s the hospital was thriving but the building was aging, as was the neighborhood.

  [Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In the late 50's the area around Burling and Dickens was in decline - it was not the hot real estate commodity it is today. The Lincoln Park Conservation Association was working with the city to designate the community an urban renewal district up to the east side of Halsted Street, which included the hospital. The sisters seized the moment and decided the time had come to relocate once again and start anew. This time a large piece of vacant land was found on inner Lake Shore Drive just north of Diversey. The site had once been the home of Franz Thielmann's Family Resort. Thielmann purchased the recently constructed Fischer's Gardens in 1890, and for the next 20+ years Thielmann's provided summer concerts, beer, and access to Lincoln Park Beach. Back in Thilemann's day the lake ran along the west curb line of today's inner Drive, so you could walk directly out of the resort's east pavilion and dip your toe into the lake. The Daughters of Charity, who now ran the hospital and were based in St. Louis, hired Catholic archdiocese favorites Belli & Belli as their architects. Edo Belli had started his own firm after the Second World War, and his brother Joseph joined the architect as supervising construction manager not long after. The siblings had been designing and building schools and hospitals for the Roman Catholic archdiocese ever since Edo had met Chicago's archbishop Samuel Cardinal Stritch in the early 50's. The relationship with the sisters proved so beneficial that Belli & Belli established an office in Missouri, and Edo's sons still operate a multi-office firm to this day. The Belli brothers modernist interpretation for the Daughters of Charity's Saint Joseph Hospital opened in 1964, and the Maria Diaz Martinez Senior Apartments now sit on the site of the former Saint Joseph Hospital - right next to Oz Park.
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago
 by: chicago designslinger

 [Auditorium Theatre, Chicago (1889) Adler & Sullivan, architects; (1967) restoration, Harry Weese & Associates, architects; (2002) restoration, Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, architects  /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

"If you can't build one as good as the one you're tearing down," said Chicago architect Harry Weese in an oral history he gave to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1988, then why would you do it. The good one he was referring to was Adler & Sullivan's magnificent Auditorium Theatre. Built inside a massive, multi-purpose building containing a hotel and commercial office space, the theater's debut on December 9, 1889 was attended by none other than the President and Vice President of the United States.

  [Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Architect Dankmar Adler had made a name for himself in Chicago as the go-to guy if you were interested in building a theater with pitch-perfect acoustics. When he drew-up plans for the Central Music Hall in 1878, he wanted to create an auditorium with the best sightlines in the city and by putting John Russell's isacoustic curve theory into practice, Adler's hall became the most requested performance venue in the city. If you dropped a pin on the center of the stage floor a person seated in the farthest corner of the uppermost balcony could hear it clear as a bell. When some of the Music Hall's investors decided in the mid-1880s that the time had come for Chicago to have a grand opera house, Ferdinand Peck, the engine that drove the project, decided Adler was the man to design an auditorium for the city that would rival the best opera houses in Europe. Other members of the investment group were worried that Adler and his new partner Louis Sullivan were too inexperienced and wanted the better connected and proven team of Burnham & Root, but Peck stood his ground. On September 26, 1886 the local press announced that the firm of Adler & Sullivan had been selected as the lead architects of the Auditorium Building, which would rise along the north side of Congress Street from Michigan to Wabash Avenue.

  [Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, National Historic Landmark /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When the theater was revealed to the public on that cold December night, the audience was awestruck by the breathtaking interior. Adler had engineered another miracle of acoustical perfection while Sullivan filled the auditorium with an explosion of phantasmal flourish. The firm's recently hired draftsman Frank Lloyd Wright would later call the theater, "The greatest room for opera and music in the world, bar none." But the theory devised by the investors that the hotel and office portions of the building would generate enough revenue to sustain the square footage given over to the theater proved to be faulty. In January 1910, Ferdinand Peck, on behalf of the Auditorium Association, approached Sullivan about replacing the theater with more hotel rooms. It was the first in a series of discussions that would ensue over the intervening years about removing the theater and replacing it with income producing square footage, along with conversations about demolishing the entire building and just starting over again.

  [Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, City of Chicago Landmark /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1929 the original construction bonds came due and the Association didn't have the cash to pay them. Then the Great Depression devastated the nation's economy, and the building's property owners owed the county over $1,000,000 in back taxes. The city worked out a deal with the county tax assessor, and by 1941 the structure was being used to house military personnel while the theater was converted into a bowling alley for the servicemen. Once the war was over, the newly formed Roosevelt College worked out a deal with local government agencies to take over the entire building and house their nascent organization in the deteriorating structure. Over the next decade the theater sat idle while the school found its footing. As the 1950s were drawing to a close, Roosevelt University president Edward Sparling decided to create a committee of board trustees to explore uses for the sagging theater space. When the idea of converting the vast room into a parking lot or gymnasium were vetoed, the committee decided to explore the option of restoring the theater and returning it back to its former glory. One of the more dynamic personalities on the Board of Trustees had spearheaded a drive to raise money and renovate the hotel's old banquet room into a recital hall, and if restoration of the theater was on the agenda, then Sparling knew that Beatrice Spachner was the one board member who would be up to the challenge of finding the money required to restore the 4,000+ seat auditorium.

  [Auditorium Theatre, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Often described as "indefatigable" and "tenacious," Bea Spachner hit the ground running and didn't slow down for the next 20 years. When a young Chicago-based architect named Harry Weese first heard about the gymnasium plan, he addressed a letter "To Whom It May Concern" and mailed it off to the school. He wrote an impassioned note about saving the theater and as a result was invited to meet with the committee in 1960. He toured the theater, told them it could be saved for a fraction of the cost that Chicago's prestigious architectural firm of Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill had estimated, and got himself appointed architect in charge of the restoration. He waived his fee as a gift to the city, the indomitable Mrs. Spachner got to work, $2 million was raised, and on the evening of October 31, 1967 the newly restored Auditorium Theatre had its second debut. In 2000 the State of Illinois awarded a $13 million grant for on-going restoration and physical plant improvements overseen by architects Daniel P. Coffey & Associates, with still more work to be done. In her April 30, 1960 My Day nationally syndicated newspaper column Eleanor Roosevelt, upon hearing about the Auditorium restoration wrote, "When completed, this will be something that Chicago should be proud to show its visitors as an indication of the appreciation which that city has for the cultural life of its people."