Tuesday, May 28, 2019

May 28, 1981 -- Manhattan Building Undergoes $5 Million Renovation

May 28, 1981 – The Chicago Tribune prints a feature on the renovation of the Manhattan building at 431 South Dearborn Street, which a real estate company, Strobeck and Reiss, is rehabilitating at a cost of $5 million.  The vice-president of the firm, James Lindeman, begins the article by asserting, “We’re going to take good care of the old gal.”  [Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1981]. Demolition of the interior of the building began two months earlier in an operation that will convert the building into 105 rental apartments.  The Manhattan, designed by the “Father of the Skyscraper,” William LeBaron Jennings, who, among other innovations, was the first architect to include wind bracing in his designs, prompts Lindeman to observe, “This is the granddaddy of them all.  The structural engineers really groove on this stuff.”  William Hasbrouck, the architect on the project, says of the building, “It’s a handsome example of early Chicago-school architecture. The Manhattan was enormously modern at the time.  It had a curtain (nonload-bearing) wall; it was just a brick curtain wall rather than then the metal curtain walls that became famous later.”  A listing on the National Register of Historic Places means that federal law prohibits any tinkering with the exterior of the building, and Hasbrouck says, “The building deserves to be seen in its best light. The owners owe that to the public. This is a public trust.”  Inside the 1891 building an inadequate central stairway and five antiquated elevators presented a difficult problem, but the architect solved it by using the two outer elevator shafts as space for new stairways with the middle shaft providing an entry to each floor’s utility room.  All the kitchens and bathrooms were stacked over one another in the plan, and each apartment was given its own heat pump.  The Manhattan works especially well for a conversion from an office building to a residential building because Plymouth Court on the east side cuts the block behind the building in half, restricting the plan for the building to an uncommonly narrow configuration.  This means that, unlike the problem many office conversions pose, apartments in the Manhattan can be located with ample access to windows and light.  Lindeman’s hope is that the build-out will provide more residential opportunities in a place that does not have enough “walk-to-work housing.”  Hasbrouck believes that the conversion will ultimately connect to the ongoing work at Printing House Row and Dearborn Park.  He says, “If the city is going to start over, it should grow out from the center. I think sociologically the Manhattan will do wonders for the Near South Side.”  These days the average list price for a unit in the building is a bit over $235,000.  Rentals average $1,550 a month. [www.condo.com]

May 28, 1906 –Colonel S. R. Whitall, the commanding officer at Fort Sheridan, issues orders that prohibit soldiers from entering Highwood, the disobedience of which will lead to 14 days in solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water for any offender.  Whitall’s order comes as part of a chorus of cries against the saloonkeepers in Highwood, a call for reform that has reached a peak after the suicide of a 17-year-old Lake Forest girl a day earlier after a night spent in Highwood.  The Reverend E. R. Quayle, the head of the Law and Order League, says, “The midnight closing law is ignored on every hand, at least three of the resorts keep open on Sunday, and nearly all of them operate gambling tables in full view.  Three of them operate ‘back rooms’ that are equivalent to wine rooms.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 29, 1906] Even the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad becomes involved, announcing that it will no longer sell liquor on its trains.  Over the preceding weeks the scales slowly tipped against the saloonkeepers as convictions were secured with five establishments forced out of business. The suicide death on May 27 of Ms. Georginna Bower, the daughter of a Lake Forest house painter, increases the intensity of the crusade. The above photo shows a strip of Highwood saloons a year earlier in 1905.


May 28, 1894 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that Hugh M. G. Garden has been awarded the gold medal of the American Institute of Architects for the best architectural design, a plan that the architect worked up for the New York Herald.  The Herald’s plan to replace its offices at Broadway and Ann Street resulted in a competition to which Garden contributed his design, “a nineteen-story office building, the planning of which was rendered extremely difficult on account of the extreme irregularity of the lot.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 28, 1894] The paper continues, “The design is radically different from the office buildings of the day and is remarkable for its picturesque sky line, the top being a delightful grouping of gables, balconies, towers and turrets … If built [it will be] the highest commercial structure in the world.”  Garden, the president of the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club and one of the designers of the Montgomery Ward warehouse building at 600 West Chicago, was an active member of the Prairie Style designers who inhabited Steinway Hall not long after the conclusion of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  His design for the New York Herald did not win the competition.  The winning design by George B. Post is shown above along with the sketch of Garden’s vision. 

May 28, 1926 – It is announced that the Builder’s Mart, with a design by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, will be erected at the southwest corner of Wacker Drive and La Salle Street. This will be the first improvement on the brand new Wacker Drive west of 35 East Wacker, completed in 1926. A. E. Coleman, President of the Building Construction Employers’ Association, says, “[This building] will tend to unite the business interests identified with the building industry. The popularity of such a proposition has been signified by building interests, as more than fifty per cent of the space already has been applied for.” In addition to Coleman’s association, it is anticipated that the structure will also hold the Chicago Master Steamfitters’ association, the Builders’ Association of Chicago, the Iron League of Chicago, the Illinois Highway Contractors’ association, and the Illinois branch of the Associated General Contractors of America. There will also be 10,000 square feet of space set aside for the Builders’ Club. Off the lower level of Wacker Drive will be a garage with space for 150 vehicles. The 1927 building stands on the right side of La Salle Street in the photo above with a glassy addition designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill completed in 1986.


Coolsculpting in Hamptons said...

The quality of your articles and contents is great.

Celia Bennett said...

They may be from our website, out of your rivals, through local mother & jumps or even global companies! best injectables englewood nj