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An ornate French Renaissance auditorium is for sale in River North

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The Murphy Auditorium was built in 1926

A large building with three stories and windows. The auditorium’s entrance has four exterior columns sits next to another older building.
The Murphy Auditorium entrance on the right.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) occupies several stately buildings and the organization has announced plans to off load its French Renaissance-style Murphy Auditorium in River North.

Located at 50 E. Erie Street, the structure was built as a memorial to one of the college’s founders Dr. John B. Murphy in 1926. Designed by architecture firm Marshall and Fox, the building is a replica of the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Consolation—a chapel in Paris, France.

The building has an ornate entrance featuring a flower and fruit garland stone carving above heavy bronze doors with detailed panels and turquoise patina. The three-story, 650-seat auditorium has tall stained-glass windows and elaborate gold and blue molding.

A domed-ceiling with ornate decorative molding. There is a skylight and balcony seating.
Interior of Murphy Auditorium
Courtesy of Cushman and Wakefield
A view of the turquoise bronze panels above the grand doors.
The entrance of the Murphy Auditorium.
Courtesy of Cushman and Wakefield

After restoration work, the building opened as an event venue in 2006 and has hosted weddings, television shoots, and awards ceremonies, according to the brokerage firm marketing the property, Cushman and Wakefield.

“The property not only has historic significance to the American College of Surgeons but has stood as a prominent landmark to residents and visitors of downtown Chicago for nearly a century,” said David B. Hoyt, executive director of the ACS. “We hope the building will continue to create memories for all and be a cultural centerpiece to our city for another century and beyond.”

While the building is certainly is significant, it’s currently not protected by any landmark designations. On the city’s historical survey the structure is rated as “red,” which means there’s enough to characterize the building as quite important to Chicago’s architectural history.

The ultimate use for the building will be up to the buyer, but those involved with the sale hope for a similar development as the Three Arts Clubs building which now houses a cafe and Restoration Hardware, according to Crain’s. A listing price was not disclosed.

It will hopefully meet a better future than what some are discussing for the controversial and expensive-to-maintain James R. Thompson Center, which the Illinois governor put up for sale this summer.

Correction: The American College of Surgeons is not associated with the International Museum of Surgical Science.