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A large mansion surrounded by trees with bare branches. There is a large empty lot surrounding the trees and mansion.
The lost mansion of industrialist George Pullman.
Wikimedia Commons

Mapping the Lost Mansions of Chicago's Gilded Age

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The lost mansion of industrialist George Pullman.
| Wikimedia Commons

Chicago is rightly famed for its groundbreaking architecture and while the Loop's tall skyscrapers often steal the spotlight, the city also had its share of great mansions built for tycoons with names like Field, McCormick and Pullman. These expressions of gilded age wealth employed great architects like H.H. Richardson, Adler & Sullivan and S.S. Beman, among others. Many of the earliest examples were constructed on South Prairie Avenue where few, like the Glessner House, remain to this day. Others followed the lead of the Palmers and constructed their mansions on North Lake Shore Drive where most fell victim to dense urban redevelopment. Today, we shine a spotlight on 15 of these lost palaces, many of which still live on in the city's collective memory.

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1. George Pullman House

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1729 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Railroad car magnate George Pullman constructed his enormous mansion on a corner opposite the famed and still-extant Glessner House on the city’s first fashionable street. Pullman hired architect Henry S. Jaffray to build the Second Empire-style building in 1872. It measured 7,000 square feet per floor and was clad in Connecticut brownstone. It was said to be the most lavish and beautiful house constructed in the entire city and featured a a 200-seat theatre, billiard room, bowling alley and pipe organ. The Pullmans were said to entertain up to 400 guests in the home regularly.

A large addition by Solon S. Beman (architect of much of the town of Pullman) in 1892 added more space, including a huge palm room with a 40-foot leaded glass dome and outdoor terraces set with marble mosaics. Pullman died in 1897 but his widow Harriet stayed in the home until her death in 1921. The furnishings were sold at auction that year and the building was demolished in 1922 and the land remained vacant until 1941 when it was replaced by a bus garage. Today the site is occupied by townhouses and a condominium tower.

Detroit Publishing Co.,/Library of Congress

2. Potter Palmer Castle

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1350 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610

Potter Palmer, the man behind the landmark Palmer House Hotel, was known for breaking new ground and when he set out to build his castle, he bucked the then-established families and headed north of the Chicago River with his eyes set on North Lake Shore Drive. Potter and his wife Bertha hired Henry Ives Cobb (also designer of many great Chicago buildings like the Chicago Athletic Association) and Charles Sumner Frost (also designer of Navy Pier) to build the castle at a cost of $90,000. Construction was slow and the mansion ultimately took five years to complete and eventually ended up costing the Palmers $1 million to build.

Visitors entered through a gold leaf-clad outer hall into a three-story octagonal great hall domed in stained glass. The mahogany-paneled dining room seated 50 and each of the 42 rooms had marble and oak fireplaces. It was also the first house in the city to have a private elevator. Presidents Grant and McKinley were both visitors to the house.

The Potters sold the castle in 1930 for $3,000,000 but bought it back for $2,000,000 in 1933. It was ultimately demolished around 1950 to make way for the development two 22-story apartment buildings.

FUN FACT: The castle’s art collection, which included works by Monet, Renoir and Degas that had collected by Bertha were donated to the Art Institute where they formed the basis of the museum’s impressionist collection.

A large castle with towers. There are trees surrounding the building. Detroit Publishing Co.,/Library of Congress

3. Marshall Field House

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1905 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Department store visionary Marshall Field built his mansion at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue between 1873 and 1876. The cost at the time was $2,000,000 and it was the first home in the city to feature electric lights. Its architect was Richard Morris Hunt who also designed the Breakers and the Biltmore estates for the Vanderbilts. The Field house was built of red brick with stone trim, three stories tall with a mansard roof.

Field died in 1906 and his wife inherited the property. She instead chose to live in Washington, D.C. and deeded the mansion to Marshall Field III. He in turn donated it to the Association of Arts and Industries with the stipulation that it be used as an industrial art school. There, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy founded the New Bauhaus and worked with Walter Gropius for two years. The mansion was ultimately torn down in 1955.

A large house with three floors. There is a fence surrounding the house.

4. Edith Rockefeller McCormick Residence

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1000 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

Although it is often referred to as the Edith Rockefeller McCormick Residence, the Romanesque Revival mansion at 1000 N. Lake Shore Dr. was originally built for prominent and wealthy Board of Trade member Nathaniel Jones by Architect Solon S. Beman in 1883. It was purchased by Harold McCormick (son of the grain reaper tycoon Cyrus) in 1896. Edith Rockefeller’s marriage to Harold McCormick united two great fortunes and Edith proved to be the primary social rival of her neighbor Bertha Palmer.

Beyond the stately appearance of the house, the furnishings were also notable. Edith was said to have paid $125,000 for the Emperor’s Carpet — a six hundred-year-old rug made in Persia for Peter the Great of Russia. She also owned gilded chairs that had belonged to Napoleon, a gold dinner service that was a gift from the French general to the princess Pauline Borghese, and had an immense private library.

Although the Harold and Edith divorced in 1921, she continued to occupy the building until 1933 when she moved to the Drake Hotel to economize. The building, with its 41 rooms was demolished for an apartment building in 1955.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=Edith+Rockefeller+McCormick

A large mansion with towers. There is an arched entryway.

5. Cyrus McCormick Mansion

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675 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

The inventor of the grain reaper, Cyrus McCormick, decided at the age of 70 to erect a great house the equal of any other in Chicago and took four years from 1875 to 1879 to build the French Second Empire style mansion at 675 N. Rush St. He lived there for only five years before his death.

The inspiration for the grand residence was reportedly a wing of the Louvre in Paris. It was finished in elaborately detailed brownstone and featured a mansard roof, one of the styles trademarks. The 35-room house was high-ceilinged and was finished, according to the Chicago Tribune (where McCormick was later editor), “with elaborate fittings in marble and gilt.”

This area around Rush St. in the Gold Coast attracted so many of McCormick’s family that it was named “McCormickville.” Type the name on Google maps today and you’ll be directed right to the spot. Harold McCormick moved to the house following his divorce from Edith Rockefeller. The building was ultimately demolished for redevelopment in 1955.

A large mansion.

6. William Borden Residence

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1020 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

Just across the street from the Rockefeller McCormick house, William Borden hired Robert Morris Hunt to build his Chateauesque mansion in 1884. Borden was a partner of Marshall Field, a mining engineer, and an adventurer. In his lifetime, he led expeditions in the Bering Sea north of the Arctic Circle. Borden’s granddaughter Ellen lived in the home with her husband, Adlai Stevenson II.

The house was made of smooth-faced Indiana limestone and featured a slate roof articulated with turrets and dormers. It remained with the Borden family until it was demolished in the early 1960s. Today the Carlyle Apartments occupy the site.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=William+Borden

A large mansion. The facade is limestone and there are turrets on the roof.

7. John Cudahy Mansion

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3254 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

On the corner of South Michigan Avenue and 33rd St. stood the great brownstone residence of John Cudahy where it anchored what was then known as Millionaires’ Row. Built in the 1880s, the house featured elaborate tiled fireplaces, paneled rooms and a third floor ballroom finished in ivory. A conservatory occupied the rear portion of the first floor.

The 40-room house sheltered the family through various crashes (Cudahy made his fortune, lost it, then made it again in the meat-packing business) and passed to his wife on his death in 1915. As that area of the city changed the family moved but continued to own the building until it became the headquarters of the Chicago Motor Club in 1919. It then passed to the Armour Institute of Technology (later IIT) where it housed an average of forty engineering students. It was demolished in 1961.

A large building with turrets.

8. Joseph T. Ryerson Residence

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615 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

The residence that stood until recently at 615 N. Wabash was actually the second mansion for Joseph T. Ryerson, since the industrialist's first home was destroyed on the site during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The steel magnate built his new mansion in 1873 for a cost of between $40,000 and $50,000. It stood with alterations to the façade and interior until it was demolished earlier this year.

The family sold the opulent house with its Italian marble fireplaces, tall mirrors, leaded windows and trim of fine inlaid woods, to A. A. Carpenter, a lumber magnate in the 1880s. It was sold again, to Jospeh H. Biggs, a prominent caterer, before being leased to a Miss Elizabeth MacDonald who converted it into studio apartments, though it was said she paid attention to preserve the home’s grandeur.

Ryerson’s son became a noted collector of rare books and images and his donation of them to the Art Institute of Chicago established what is today known as the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. The house was demolished this year to make way for a new retail building.

A mansion with a brick facade.

9. John Borden Mansion

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3949 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60653

In 1880, pioneer Chicago settler and lawyer John Borden engaged the now-world-famous firm of Adler & Sullivan to construct a massive three-story house for him at 3949 Lake Park Avenue. The house was distinguished by its red brick exterior, mansard rood, tall chimneys and unique Sullivan ornamentation without and within. It was built before the area was annexed to the city of Chicago and was then known as the suburb of Oakland.

The interior featured 26 rooms, 22 fireplaces, and marble and wood details designed by Louis Sullivan. Besides its architectural pedigree, the Borden house was the center of national and local dignitaries and entertained President William McKinley, Marshall Field, Potter Palmer and others.

Borden lived in the house until his death in 1918 at the age of ninety-three. His grandson John sold it to Mrs. Eliza J. Jenkinson who operated it as an exclusive home for well-to-do elderly and finally housed about 65 boys and young men during the Great Depression as a home for boys and young men working on a WPA project. It was demolished in 1955.

A large building with a red brick facade, multiple floors and windows, and chimneys.

10. Franklin MacVeigh Residence

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1400 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610

One of only two houses designed by H.H. Richardson in Chicago (the other being the extant Glessner House), the three-story home of lawyer Franklin MacVeigh stood just north of the Palmer Castle on Lake Shore Drive.

The home's exterior featured three stories on open porches that looked out on the lake. Its interior was lavishly finished with library walls lined in antique French tapestries, a dining room that opened onto a conservatory through marble arches and a third-floor music room painted after Fontainebleau. It was demolished in 1922 to make way for a high rise apartment building.

newberry: https://explore.chicagocollections.org/image/newberry/115/qv3d89b/

https://explore.chicagocollections.org/image/chicagohistory/71/pz51x5v/

A large mansion with a stone facade.

11. John G. Shedd Mansion

Copy Link
4515 S Drexel Blvd
Chicago, IL 60653

Work on the French Gothic John Graves Shedd Mansion on Drexel Boulevard began in 1896. After its completion, the great sculptor Lorado Taft called it one of the best Gothic houses in Chicago.

The architecture with its twin turrets and fleur-de-lis were reflected on the inside in 24 four rooms with beamed ceilings, carved wood mantels, oak-paneled walls, leaded windows, heavy doors, stone passageways, just anything you’d expect from a castle in the French countryside.

Shedd, a successful merchant, lived in the building for 30 years before his death and left Chicago a legacy that includes the eponymous aquarium. The Shedds eventually moved to Lake Forest and the mansion was occupied by the Starrett School for Girls starting in 1924. While the building has since been demolished, it’s rumored that a portion of the stone porch was salvaged and is in storage.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=Shedd+Mansion

A large mansion with turrets.

12. John Harding Castle

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4853 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

The home of John Harding, Jr., known for years as the John Harding Castle, was originally built for one Brenton R. Wells, a boot and shoe wholesaler. It was purchased by Harding in 1916 and became the repository of his vast collection.

Harding, like his father, was a Chicago businessman and political force. Besides serving as the president of the Chicago Real Estate Loan & Trust Company, he was one of the largest landowners in the city and served as alderman in the second ward, state senator, city controller and Cook County treasurer.

Harding’s collection began with his father’s art collection but the son soon surpassed his father and eventually became famed locally for its enormous collection of medieval arms and armor. Visitors to the house would marvel at the vastness and variety of the collection, which ranged from rare paintings to possessions of European royalty and even a capstan from the sunken battleship U.S.S. Maine. He even owned Napoleon’s campaign bed. Harding wasn’t particularly secretive either, allowing weekly tours of his collection by appointment.

Today, the house is gone (demolished by the city in 1964) but Harding’s arms and armor are one of the oddest but most-visited exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago.

A large castle with turrets and a stone facade.

13. Charles Farwell Residence

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120 E Pearson St
Chicago, IL 60611

Just north and east of the old Chicago Water Tower once stood side-by-side mansions built by two brothers. The better-known of the two was built for Charles Farwell when Michigan Avenue was a quiet drive known as Pine Street. Farwell was a congressman, U.S. senator and a developer who was responsible for the construction of much of the city’s late 19th-Century business district.

He built an impressive Queen Anne-style red brick mansion at 120 E. Pearson St. The architects of the building were Treat and Foltz and the interior is described in “Old Chicago Houses” as typical of the mansions of the 1880s. “The great entrance hall aspired to the ideal of a baronial manor house with paneled wainscot (of golden oak), an enmor mous fireplace niche (with a microscopic grate opening), a beamed ceiling, walls and ceilings covered with stenciled canvas, and here and there crossed scimitars, bronze statues, brass plaques, antlers, inlaid tables, Jacobean furniture and two early American Windsor chairs looking very self-conscious and out of place.”

The house was demolished around 1946 to make way for a Bonwit Teller store.

A large mansion with a red brick facade.

14. Ferdinand Peck Residence

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1826 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

In 1889, Ferdinand Peck built an imposing granite mansion on South Michigan Avenue when the street was at its peak and represented the abode of millionaires. Peck was the son of a pioneer Chicago settler and himself a lawyer. He was the president of the Auditorium Association and responsible for the construction of the landmark Adler & Sullivan Auditorium Building.

His house was designed by none other than the father of the skyscraper, William LeBaron Jenney, shortly after the completion of the Auditorium. The interior was furnished quickly with the help of family friend Marshall Field in order to host a dinner party for President Benjamin Harrison. The 30-room mansion also hosted many of those planning the 1893 Columbian Exhibition along with President William McKinley and various royal personages. The building was demolished in 1969.

A large mansion.

15. Charles W. Brega Mansion

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2816 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

The mansion at 2816 S. Michigan Avenue was built in the 1890s for Charles W. Brega, a prominent member of the Chicago Board of Trade and designed by noted architect Solon S. Beman.

However, the house achieved its period of greatest interest during the 1930s when a man named Otto Lightner owned it and turned it into the "House of a Thousand Curios." As many of the old Chicago mansions were being demolished, Lightner would salvage pieces of the homes and relocate them here for his museum. The collection included the paneled doors from the Pullman Mansion, a "gold" rub from the Edith Rockefeller McCormick mansion, mahogany paneling from the Farwell mansion along with many other unique artifacts.

Lightner attempted to donate the collection to Chicago (it was famed for its extensive holdings of salt and pepper shakers) but that fell through and he moved it to St. Augustine Florida where it remains today. The building was demolished shortly after Lightner departed in the late 1940s.

A large mansion with a brick facade and an arched entryway.

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1. George Pullman House

1729 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
Detroit Publishing Co.,/Library of Congress

Railroad car magnate George Pullman constructed his enormous mansion on a corner opposite the famed and still-extant Glessner House on the city’s first fashionable street. Pullman hired architect Henry S. Jaffray to build the Second Empire-style building in 1872. It measured 7,000 square feet per floor and was clad in Connecticut brownstone. It was said to be the most lavish and beautiful house constructed in the entire city and featured a a 200-seat theatre, billiard room, bowling alley and pipe organ. The Pullmans were said to entertain up to 400 guests in the home regularly.

A large addition by Solon S. Beman (architect of much of the town of Pullman) in 1892 added more space, including a huge palm room with a 40-foot leaded glass dome and outdoor terraces set with marble mosaics. Pullman died in 1897 but his widow Harriet stayed in the home until her death in 1921. The furnishings were sold at auction that year and the building was demolished in 1922 and the land remained vacant until 1941 when it was replaced by a bus garage. Today the site is occupied by townhouses and a condominium tower.

1729 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

2. Potter Palmer Castle

1350 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610
A large castle with towers. There are trees surrounding the building. Detroit Publishing Co.,/Library of Congress

Potter Palmer, the man behind the landmark Palmer House Hotel, was known for breaking new ground and when he set out to build his castle, he bucked the then-established families and headed north of the Chicago River with his eyes set on North Lake Shore Drive. Potter and his wife Bertha hired Henry Ives Cobb (also designer of many great Chicago buildings like the Chicago Athletic Association) and Charles Sumner Frost (also designer of Navy Pier) to build the castle at a cost of $90,000. Construction was slow and the mansion ultimately took five years to complete and eventually ended up costing the Palmers $1 million to build.

Visitors entered through a gold leaf-clad outer hall into a three-story octagonal great hall domed in stained glass. The mahogany-paneled dining room seated 50 and each of the 42 rooms had marble and oak fireplaces. It was also the first house in the city to have a private elevator. Presidents Grant and McKinley were both visitors to the house.

The Potters sold the castle in 1930 for $3,000,000 but bought it back for $2,000,000 in 1933. It was ultimately demolished around 1950 to make way for the development two 22-story apartment buildings.

FUN FACT: The castle’s art collection, which included works by Monet, Renoir and Degas that had collected by Bertha were donated to the Art Institute where they formed the basis of the museum’s impressionist collection.

1350 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610

3. Marshall Field House

1905 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A large house with three floors. There is a fence surrounding the house.

Department store visionary Marshall Field built his mansion at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue between 1873 and 1876. The cost at the time was $2,000,000 and it was the first home in the city to feature electric lights. Its architect was Richard Morris Hunt who also designed the Breakers and the Biltmore estates for the Vanderbilts. The Field house was built of red brick with stone trim, three stories tall with a mansard roof.

Field died in 1906 and his wife inherited the property. She instead chose to live in Washington, D.C. and deeded the mansion to Marshall Field III. He in turn donated it to the Association of Arts and Industries with the stipulation that it be used as an industrial art school. There, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy founded the New Bauhaus and worked with Walter Gropius for two years. The mansion was ultimately torn down in 1955.

1905 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

4. Edith Rockefeller McCormick Residence

1000 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
A large mansion with towers. There is an arched entryway.

Although it is often referred to as the Edith Rockefeller McCormick Residence, the Romanesque Revival mansion at 1000 N. Lake Shore Dr. was originally built for prominent and wealthy Board of Trade member Nathaniel Jones by Architect Solon S. Beman in 1883. It was purchased by Harold McCormick (son of the grain reaper tycoon Cyrus) in 1896. Edith Rockefeller’s marriage to Harold McCormick united two great fortunes and Edith proved to be the primary social rival of her neighbor Bertha Palmer.

Beyond the stately appearance of the house, the furnishings were also notable. Edith was said to have paid $125,000 for the Emperor’s Carpet — a six hundred-year-old rug made in Persia for Peter the Great of Russia. She also owned gilded chairs that had belonged to Napoleon, a gold dinner service that was a gift from the French general to the princess Pauline Borghese, and had an immense private library.

Although the Harold and Edith divorced in 1921, she continued to occupy the building until 1933 when she moved to the Drake Hotel to economize. The building, with its 41 rooms was demolished for an apartment building in 1955.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=Edith+Rockefeller+McCormick

1000 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

5. Cyrus McCormick Mansion

675 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
A large mansion.

The inventor of the grain reaper, Cyrus McCormick, decided at the age of 70 to erect a great house the equal of any other in Chicago and took four years from 1875 to 1879 to build the French Second Empire style mansion at 675 N. Rush St. He lived there for only five years before his death.

The inspiration for the grand residence was reportedly a wing of the Louvre in Paris. It was finished in elaborately detailed brownstone and featured a mansard roof, one of the styles trademarks. The 35-room house was high-ceilinged and was finished, according to the Chicago Tribune (where McCormick was later editor), “with elaborate fittings in marble and gilt.”

This area around Rush St. in the Gold Coast attracted so many of McCormick’s family that it was named “McCormickville.” Type the name on Google maps today and you’ll be directed right to the spot. Harold McCormick moved to the house following his divorce from Edith Rockefeller. The building was ultimately demolished for redevelopment in 1955.

675 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

6. William Borden Residence

1020 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
A large mansion. The facade is limestone and there are turrets on the roof.

Just across the street from the Rockefeller McCormick house, William Borden hired Robert Morris Hunt to build his Chateauesque mansion in 1884. Borden was a partner of Marshall Field, a mining engineer, and an adventurer. In his lifetime, he led expeditions in the Bering Sea north of the Arctic Circle. Borden’s granddaughter Ellen lived in the home with her husband, Adlai Stevenson II.

The house was made of smooth-faced Indiana limestone and featured a slate roof articulated with turrets and dormers. It remained with the Borden family until it was demolished in the early 1960s. Today the Carlyle Apartments occupy the site.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=William+Borden

1020 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60611

7. John Cudahy Mansion

3254 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A large building with turrets.

On the corner of South Michigan Avenue and 33rd St. stood the great brownstone residence of John Cudahy where it anchored what was then known as Millionaires’ Row. Built in the 1880s, the house featured elaborate tiled fireplaces, paneled rooms and a third floor ballroom finished in ivory. A conservatory occupied the rear portion of the first floor.

The 40-room house sheltered the family through various crashes (Cudahy made his fortune, lost it, then made it again in the meat-packing business) and passed to his wife on his death in 1915. As that area of the city changed the family moved but continued to own the building until it became the headquarters of the Chicago Motor Club in 1919. It then passed to the Armour Institute of Technology (later IIT) where it housed an average of forty engineering students. It was demolished in 1961.

3254 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

8. Joseph T. Ryerson Residence

615 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
A mansion with a brick facade.

The residence that stood until recently at 615 N. Wabash was actually the second mansion for Joseph T. Ryerson, since the industrialist's first home was destroyed on the site during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The steel magnate built his new mansion in 1873 for a cost of between $40,000 and $50,000. It stood with alterations to the façade and interior until it was demolished earlier this year.

The family sold the opulent house with its Italian marble fireplaces, tall mirrors, leaded windows and trim of fine inlaid woods, to A. A. Carpenter, a lumber magnate in the 1880s. It was sold again, to Jospeh H. Biggs, a prominent caterer, before being leased to a Miss Elizabeth MacDonald who converted it into studio apartments, though it was said she paid attention to preserve the home’s grandeur.

Ryerson’s son became a noted collector of rare books and images and his donation of them to the Art Institute of Chicago established what is today known as the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries. The house was demolished this year to make way for a new retail building.

615 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

9. John Borden Mansion

3949 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60653
A large building with a red brick facade, multiple floors and windows, and chimneys.

In 1880, pioneer Chicago settler and lawyer John Borden engaged the now-world-famous firm of Adler & Sullivan to construct a massive three-story house for him at 3949 Lake Park Avenue. The house was distinguished by its red brick exterior, mansard rood, tall chimneys and unique Sullivan ornamentation without and within. It was built before the area was annexed to the city of Chicago and was then known as the suburb of Oakland.

The interior featured 26 rooms, 22 fireplaces, and marble and wood details designed by Louis Sullivan. Besides its architectural pedigree, the Borden house was the center of national and local dignitaries and entertained President William McKinley, Marshall Field, Potter Palmer and others.

Borden lived in the house until his death in 1918 at the age of ninety-three. His grandson John sold it to Mrs. Eliza J. Jenkinson who operated it as an exclusive home for well-to-do elderly and finally housed about 65 boys and young men during the Great Depression as a home for boys and young men working on a WPA project. It was demolished in 1955.

3949 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60653

10. Franklin MacVeigh Residence

1400 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610
A large mansion with a stone facade.

One of only two houses designed by H.H. Richardson in Chicago (the other being the extant Glessner House), the three-story home of lawyer Franklin MacVeigh stood just north of the Palmer Castle on Lake Shore Drive.

The home's exterior featured three stories on open porches that looked out on the lake. Its interior was lavishly finished with library walls lined in antique French tapestries, a dining room that opened onto a conservatory through marble arches and a third-floor music room painted after Fontainebleau. It was demolished in 1922 to make way for a high rise apartment building.

newberry: https://explore.chicagocollections.org/image/newberry/115/qv3d89b/

https://explore.chicagocollections.org/image/chicagohistory/71/pz51x5v/

1400 N Lake Shore Dr
Chicago, IL 60610

11. John G. Shedd Mansion

4515 S Drexel Blvd, Chicago, IL 60653
A large mansion with turrets.

Work on the French Gothic John Graves Shedd Mansion on Drexel Boulevard began in 1896. After its completion, the great sculptor Lorado Taft called it one of the best Gothic houses in Chicago.

The architecture with its twin turrets and fleur-de-lis were reflected on the inside in 24 four rooms with beamed ceilings, carved wood mantels, oak-paneled walls, leaded windows, heavy doors, stone passageways, just anything you’d expect from a castle in the French countryside.

Shedd, a successful merchant, lived in the building for 30 years before his death and left Chicago a legacy that includes the eponymous aquarium. The Shedds eventually moved to Lake Forest and the mansion was occupied by the Starrett School for Girls starting in 1924. While the building has since been demolished, it’s rumored that a portion of the stone porch was salvaged and is in storage.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/en/search/do_quick_search.html?q=Shedd+Mansion

4515 S Drexel Blvd
Chicago, IL 60653

12. John Harding Castle

4853 S Lake Park Ave, Chicago, IL 60615
A large castle with turrets and a stone facade.

The home of John Harding, Jr., known for years as the John Harding Castle, was originally built for one Brenton R. Wells, a boot and shoe wholesaler. It was purchased by Harding in 1916 and became the repository of his vast collection.

Harding, like his father, was a Chicago businessman and political force. Besides serving as the president of the Chicago Real Estate Loan & Trust Company, he was one of the largest landowners in the city and served as alderman in the second ward, state senator, city controller and Cook County treasurer.

Harding’s collection began with his father’s art collection but the son soon surpassed his father and eventually became famed locally for its enormous collection of medieval arms and armor. Visitors to the house would marvel at the vastness and variety of the collection, which ranged from rare paintings to possessions of European royalty and even a capstan from the sunken battleship U.S.S. Maine. He even owned Napoleon’s campaign bed. Harding wasn’t particularly secretive either, allowing weekly tours of his collection by appointment.

Today, the house is gone (demolished by the city in 1964) but Harding’s arms and armor are one of the oddest but most-visited exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago.

4853 S Lake Park Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

13. Charles Farwell Residence

120 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611
A large mansion with a red brick facade.

Just north and east of the old Chicago Water Tower once stood side-by-side mansions built by two brothers. The better-known of the two was built for Charles Farwell when Michigan Avenue was a quiet drive known as Pine Street. Farwell was a congressman, U.S. senator and a developer who was responsible for the construction of much of the city’s late 19th-Century business district.

He built an impressive Queen Anne-style red brick mansion at 120 E. Pearson St. The architects of the building were Treat and Foltz and the interior is described in “Old Chicago Houses” as typical of the mansions of the 1880s. “The great entrance hall aspired to the ideal of a baronial manor house with paneled wainscot (of golden oak), an enmor mous fireplace niche (with a microscopic grate opening), a beamed ceiling, walls and ceilings covered with stenciled canvas, and here and there crossed scimitars, bronze statues, brass plaques, antlers, inlaid tables, Jacobean furniture and two early American Windsor chairs looking very self-conscious and out of place.”

The house was demolished around 1946 to make way for a Bonwit Teller store.

120 E Pearson St
Chicago, IL 60611

14. Ferdinand Peck Residence

1826 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A large mansion.

In 1889, Ferdinand Peck built an imposing granite mansion on South Michigan Avenue when the street was at its peak and represented the abode of millionaires. Peck was the son of a pioneer Chicago settler and himself a lawyer. He was the president of the Auditorium Association and responsible for the construction of the landmark Adler & Sullivan Auditorium Building.

His house was designed by none other than the father of the skyscraper, William LeBaron Jenney, shortly after the completion of the Auditorium. The interior was furnished quickly with the help of family friend Marshall Field in order to host a dinner party for President Benjamin Harrison. The 30-room mansion also hosted many of those planning the 1893 Columbian Exhibition along with President William McKinley and various royal personages. The building was demolished in 1969.

1826 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

15. Charles W. Brega Mansion

2816 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A large mansion with a brick facade and an arched entryway.

The mansion at 2816 S. Michigan Avenue was built in the 1890s for Charles W. Brega, a prominent member of the Chicago Board of Trade and designed by noted architect Solon S. Beman.

However, the house achieved its period of greatest interest during the 1930s when a man named Otto Lightner owned it and turned it into the "House of a Thousand Curios." As many of the old Chicago mansions were being demolished, Lightner would salvage pieces of the homes and relocate them here for his museum. The collection included the paneled doors from the Pullman Mansion, a "gold" rub from the Edith Rockefeller McCormick mansion, mahogany paneling from the Farwell mansion along with many other unique artifacts.

Lightner attempted to donate the collection to Chicago (it was famed for its extensive holdings of salt and pepper shakers) but that fell through and he moved it to St. Augustine Florida where it remains today. The building was demolished shortly after Lightner departed in the late 1940s.

2816 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616