One of Chicago’s oldest private clubs, the Standard Club, will close its doors on May 1. It’s another sign, if it wasn’t already apparent, that the old school institutions are on their way out.
The organization faced declining membership, revenue loss, and a lawsuit over a past due bill for about $43,000, according to Crain’s.
The club was originally founded in 1869 by leaders in the Jewish community, which included Chicago architect Dankmar Adler. There were a handful of other private clubs in Chicago that began around the same time. In Lisa Holton’s book, A History And Guide to Chicago’s Oldest Private Clubs, she writes that these institutions were responsible for shaping the city.
The city clubs helped organized the World’s Fair of 1893, advocated for the ordinance that now protects the lakefront, and promoted Daniel Burnham’s plan of Chicago (the architect and urban designer was also a member at most of the city’s private clubs).
These organizations—The University Club of Chicago, The Union League Club of Chicago, and The Cliff Dwellers—all have fairly traditional clubhouses. Grand, historic buildings with leather club chairs, chandeliers, and dark stained wood.
The Standard Club is no different. The Loop building at 320 S. Plymouth Court was originally built in the mid 1920s and designed by architect Albert Kahn. The structure isn’t in good shape though, according to Crain’s. It needs significant upgrades but the organization claims its building is worth an estimated $15 million and its artwork an additional $1 million.
Many of the older buildings in the Loop have successfully converted into boutique hotels such as the London Guarantee & Accident Building (LondonHouse hotel), Carbide & Carbon Building (St. Jane Hotel), and the Roanoke Building (Marriott Residence Inn). A similar future could await the stately Plymouth Court building.