Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 26, 1905 -- Illinois Athletic Club Lays Its Cornerstone



October 26, 1905 – A crowd of several hundred people watch as the cornerstone for the new Illinois Athletic clubhouse on Michigan Avenue is laid.  The president of the club, Second Ward alderman William Hale Thompson, introduces the current mayor, Edward Dunne, who with a silver trowel in one hand touches the cornerstone twice with a silver mallet.  The dignitaries move across the street to the Art Institute’s Fullerton Hall where “addresses prophesying a bright future for the young club” [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 27, 1905] are made.  Colonel Frank Lowden, who in the future will become a U.S. representative from Illinois and, later, the state’s governor, says, “The poor man with health and physique is far richer than the millionaire with dyspepsia.  Health is a man’s chief asset.  Men live cleaner and better lives if they are addicted to athletics.  Nothing means more to Chicago morally or physically than the institution which tends to promote the resources of the body.”  The building, designed by Barnett, Hayes, and Barnett, will cost a half-million dollars to complete.  Eighty years later $25,000,000 will be spent on a six-story addition, and in 1992 the Art Institute of Chicago will purchase the structure.  In the 1910 photo above the Illinois Athletic Club building stands to the right of the Lakeview Building.

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