Friday, May 17, 2013

Louis Sullivan Lincoln Park Designs Part 1

Louis Sullivan is considered by many as the father of American architecture, one of his many proteges was Frank Lloyd Wright. Although major works like the Auditorium Theater & the Carson Pierre Scott building still stand most of his designs fell victim to the wrecking ball. One area where you can still find examples of his work is in Chicago's near north Lincoln Park area. So on a recent gorgeous spring day we took a walk through the area and came back with these two examples of his work.

While Mr. Sullivan had nothing to do with the building at 1616 N Wells that the improv group Second City calls home it still showcases his work. One of the many Sullivan designs to get torn down was the Garrick Theater at one time located at 64 W. Randolph. It was being torn down in 1961 at the same time the highly successful comedy troupe was building a new home.

By chance one of the 2nd City founders Bernie Sahlins wandered over to watch the demolition. He saw the heads and became intrigued and thought it would make a great addition to his new home. So after a brief negotiation with the crew boss money was exchanged and this small piece of Architectural history was saved.

These are four of what were a dozen of these bas reliefs that were in the Garrick the others are dust by now. As for who they are well that's another story one that is told on The Errant Inquisitor site. Where you will find the whole story this guy (I'm guessing) did a lot of research so I'll let him tell you the story.

A little further north from second city was our next stop on the Louis Sullivan Lincoln Park tour the Ann Halsted row houses. In 1882 Ann Halsted's husband died the following year she had a home built on west Belden. The firm of Adler & Sullivan got the commission for it's design. The next year she decided to build an investment property which would generate income for her family. Construction began on 3 townhouses in 1885 the following year, the architects added two more townhouses. You can tell by the ornamentation at the top of the houses which are which. Ann Halsted collected rents on these properties until 1921, then she started selling each property one by one. Her Adler and Sullivan-designed house is still standing on nearby Belden. We will be visiting that along with a couple of other existing Sullivan designs and posting those videos next week.

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