The gilded age was a good time period for architecture in Chicago. In the decades following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the Windy City grew at a faster rate than most other major cities in the country. The city was an industrial and merchant giant, and millions flooded into the Chicago area seeking job opportunities that would offer a higher standard of living. Many famous names in the food and merchandising industries originated in Chicago: names like Wrigley, Sears, Field, Brach, and Oscar Mayer. And many of Chicago's wealthiest citizens built grand mansions for themselves, complete with elaborate ornamentation and exotic finishes.
As the decades passed, many of Chicago's grand mansions fell into disrepair. The city's wealthy left for the suburbs, and many of the mansions built during the early industrial years were lost to urban renewal. Others remained, but were eventually left in disrepair. One such mansion was the Oscar Mayer mansion in Evanston. Designed by the Swedish architect Lawrence Halberg and built in 1901, Mayer would not occupy the mansion until 1927. However, the sausage king remained in the mansion until his death in 1965. Like many other gilded age mansions, the home borrows from European architectural styles.
In December 2014, the dilapidated Oscar Mayer mansion entered the market seeking $1.75 million. The 7,500-square-foot landmark home was in rough shape, but was eventually purchased for $1.1 million by J&S Home Renovation LLC. The developers are currently renovating the home, and have reintroduced it to the market with a much steeper asking price — $2.95 million. However, the home is receiving a complete overhaul which will restore much of the mansion's original architectural details like the original brick fireplaces, stained glass windows, wood moldings, and even the original radiators. In addition, the home will have a brand new kitchen, new bathrooms, and other modern day amenities like central air.
- 1030 Forest Avenue, Evanston, IL 60202 [Baird & Warner]
- And Now, Interior Shots of the Crumbling Oscar Mayer Mansion [Curbed Chicago]
- Dilapidated Historic Oscar Mayer Mansion Lists for $1.75M [Curbed Chicago]