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A large building with a brown brick facade and a grey roof.
The 1886 Cable House at 25 E. Erie Street.
Jay Koziarz

Chicago’s greatest remaining Gilded Age mansions

Remnants of the indulgent bygone era exist throughout the city—if you know where to look

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The 1886 Cable House at 25 E. Erie Street.
| Jay Koziarz

The Gilded Age might seem like a distant memory, but not all of the mansions constructed by the city’s well-heeled social elite between the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the early 20th Century met the indignity of a wrecking ball.

Today, many impressive residences designed by architectural greats like H.H. Richardson, George Maher, Henry Ives Cobb, and Richard E. Schmidt still stand. Some look backward in their designs, evoking the grandeur of an idealized Europe in Chateauesque and Baroque styles. Others embraced newly emerging architectural trends of the time such as the Arts & Crafts and Prairie School movements.

Though a number of these historic mansions have been adapted and reused as hotels, offices, museums, or condos, some still serve their original purpose by sheltering a single family. Here are 19 of the most significant examples of Gilded Age mansions still standing in Chicago today.

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1. Glessner House

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1800 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Designed in 1886 for an executive of International Harvester by the famed H.H. Richardson, the Glessner House is a rare survivor along South Prairie Avenue, once the most fashionable address in the city. Now a museum, the house has many of the original furnishings from the family who built it. In order to retain the integrity of Richardson's design, the museum purchased a brick wall of the neighboring building before its demolition to preserve its sheltered courtyard.

2. Cable House

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25 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611

Designed by Cobb & Frost in 1886 for the president of the Rock Island & Pacific Railway, the Cable House is one of only a few houses that remain in the area which once housed many of the city's greatest mansions—now dominated by skyscrapers. It was purchased in 1902 by Robert McCormick to become his son's residence. Today, it is the headquarters of Driehaus Capital Management, owned by Richard Driehaus, the noted preservationist and philanthropist.

3. McGill House

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4938 S Drexel Blvd
Chicago, IL 60615

Designed by Henry Ives Cobb in 1891 for physician and entrepreneur John McGill (an heir to a Canadian-built fur-trading fortune), this Chateauesque mansion has long been a landmark along Drexel Boulevard in Bronzeville. The grand home later went on to become a 34-unit condo development known as McGill Parc.

4. Dewes House

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503 W Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

Among the most impressive mansions that remain in Lincoln Park is the one built in 1896 by architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz for brewer and millionaire Francis J. Dewes. The style is officially listed as German Baroque and is a prime example of the eclectic, internationally-inspired tastes that dominated Chicago after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition. The home stands next door to the smaller but equally attractive August Dewes mansion.

5. Wood-Maxey-Boyd House

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2801 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

John C. Cochrane, designer of the Illinois State Capitol building, constructed this house in the Douglas area for lumberman George Wood in 1885. The Queen Anne style mansion was purchased in 1948 by Charles Boyde and Dr. Alva Maxey-Boyd and became a center of culture on the South Side. Maxey-Boyd sold the house to a doctor from New York for $450,000 in 2011.

The exterior of the Wood Maxey Body House in Chicago. The facade is red brick and there is green ivy on some of the walls. Getty Images

6. Nickerson House

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40 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611

Architect Edward Burling built the house in 1883 for Samuel Nickerson, founder of the First National Bank of Chicago. Known as the “marble palace” for its ornate stone interior, the property has since been restored and now operates as the Driehaus Museum, conveniently located directly across the street from the Cable House.

7. Archbishop’s Residence

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1555 N State Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60610

This imposing mansion and accompanying coach house occupying a large tree-lined lot along State Parkway was built in 1885 under the supervision of Patrick A. Feehan, the first Archbishop of Chicago. Architect James R. Willett, who served as a Union Army engineer in the American Civil War, designed the ecclesiastical residence with an ornate brick and stone exterior topped with turrets, dormers, and 19 chimneys. The residence hosted famous guests like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Pope John Paul II. Tucked away behind the property, you’ll find one of Chicago’s two surviving woodblock alleyways. Restored in 2011, this type of paving was once common throughout the city, but understandably fell out of favor following the Great Chicago Fire.

8. Patterson-McCormick Mansion

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1500 N Astor St
Chicago, IL 60610

Located at the corner of Astor and Burton streets, the Gold Coast landmark was originally built in 1891 by architect Stanford White for former Chicago mayor and Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill, who gifted the home to his daughter Eleanor “Cissy” Patterson. Businessman Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. later purchased the property and hired David Adler to expand it. After serving as a private school, the historic mansion was converted into condos in 1978. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan owned a unit in the building between 2002 and 2013.

9. Pate-Comiskey House

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5131 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

Famous Prairie School Architect George Maher designed this house in Washington Park for lumberman Davey Pate in 1901. It stands out for its combination of traditional and contemporary elements. It would later be purchased and occupied by Charles Comiskey of Chicago White Sox fame.

10. Raber House

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5760 S Lafayette Ave
Chicago, IL 60621

Built in 1870 for prominent businessman, developer, and politician John Raber, this rare pre-fire Italianate house in Englewood was more famous for its vast grounds than the actual building. Its six-acre gardens were once so elaborate and extensive that its original address was on State Street. It has languished for several years and is need of a rehab.

11. Kent-Gates House

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2944 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

This South Side mansion was built in 1883 by Burnham & Root for Sidney Kent, founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards. It was later home to John "bet-a-million" Gates, who built a fortune in barbed wire and gambled extensively on the stock market. During his time there, it was known as a center of lavish parties for the city's elite. The Kent-Gates House was later converted to apartments and then to condos.

12. Colvin House

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5940 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660

The landmark Colvin House, designed by George Maher in 1909, is one of the last Gilded Age mansions embodying the wealth of the elite living on the city's far North Side. Following an extensive restoration, the Edgewater property reopened in 2017 as an event and co-working space.

13. Madlener House

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4 E Burton Pl
Chicago, IL 60610

Built in 1902 by Schmidt & Garden for Albert Madlener, son of a prominent liquor distributor, this Gold Coast residence combines elements of the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture. It was purchased in 1963 by the educational institution the Graham Foundation and hosts art and design-focused exhibits and programming.

14. Theurer-Wrigley House

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2466 N Lakeview Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

This 15,000-square-foot north side house was designed by Prairie School architect Richard E. Schmidt for German brewer Joseph Theurer in 1896. It was bought in 1911 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. The mansion has gone on and off the market in recent years and ultimately sold from foreclosure for $4.65 million—roughly one half of the $9 million figure paid by its previous owner.

15. Wheeler-Kohn House

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2018 S Calumet Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

This Near South Side house, built for banker Calvin Wheeler in the popular Second Empire style in 1870, is a survivor of the Great Chicago Fire and one of the last still standing along Calumet Avenue. It's second owner, clothier Joseph Kohn, updated it by adding a two-story window bay to the front and the elaborate canopy porch. It was threatened with demolition for a parking lot in 1997 before being purchased and converted to a boutique hotel.

16. Harriet F. Rees House

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2017 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

The Harriet F. Rees House stands at 2017 S. Prairie Avenue, but that wasn’t always the case. When Cobb & Frost designed the mansion for the widow of real estate developer James H. Rees in 1888, the limestone-clad Romanesque Revival residence was 600 feet away at 2110 S. Prairie Avenue. The landmark home moved in 2014 to make way for a new hotel and arena at the neighboring McCormick Place convention center. Crews used remote-controlled hydraulic dollies with a combined 232 wheels to transfer the 762-ton building—which is believed to be the heaviest residential structure to be moved in the nation’s history.

17. Marshall Field Jr. Mansion

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1919 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Solon Spencer Beman designed the Near South Side mansion at 1919 S. Prairie Avenue in 1884. Department store magnate Marshall Field—who was living at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue—purchased the property in 1890 for his son, Marshall Field Jr, and hired architect Daniel Burnham to expand the house to an impressive 30,000 square feet. The South Side structure later served time as a psychiatric hospital before it was restored and partitioned into six luxury condominiums in 2007.

18. William W. Kimball House

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1801 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

Solon Spencer Beman also created this well-preserved home at 1801 S. Prairie Avenue in the Chateauesque style with a limestone exterior adorned with Baroque-inspired ornamentation. Constructed between 1890 and 1892 for wealthy piano manufacturer William Wallace Kimball, the property is currently owned by the U. S. Soccer Federation. The organization uses the former mansion as office space.

19. John Henry Raap House

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1407 N Hoyne Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

This impressive Wicker Park home is one of the largest historic homes that comprise Chicago Beer Baron’s Row landmark district. Built in the 1880s for liquor merchant John Henry Raap, the stately red brick structure features a Second Empire exterior with a mansard roofline and a sizeable turret. The Raap mansion served as a rooming house during the Great Depression and was later converted back into a single-family home that blended the historic architecture and modern luxuries. The property hit the market in 2018 for $6.49 million, reported Crain’s at the time. The home was briefly offered as a $15,000 per month rental before getting yanked off the market.

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1. Glessner House

1800 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Designed in 1886 for an executive of International Harvester by the famed H.H. Richardson, the Glessner House is a rare survivor along South Prairie Avenue, once the most fashionable address in the city. Now a museum, the house has many of the original furnishings from the family who built it. In order to retain the integrity of Richardson's design, the museum purchased a brick wall of the neighboring building before its demolition to preserve its sheltered courtyard.

1800 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

2. Cable House

25 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611

Designed by Cobb & Frost in 1886 for the president of the Rock Island & Pacific Railway, the Cable House is one of only a few houses that remain in the area which once housed many of the city's greatest mansions—now dominated by skyscrapers. It was purchased in 1902 by Robert McCormick to become his son's residence. Today, it is the headquarters of Driehaus Capital Management, owned by Richard Driehaus, the noted preservationist and philanthropist.

25 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611

3. McGill House

4938 S Drexel Blvd, Chicago, IL 60615

Designed by Henry Ives Cobb in 1891 for physician and entrepreneur John McGill (an heir to a Canadian-built fur-trading fortune), this Chateauesque mansion has long been a landmark along Drexel Boulevard in Bronzeville. The grand home later went on to become a 34-unit condo development known as McGill Parc.

4938 S Drexel Blvd
Chicago, IL 60615

4. Dewes House

503 W Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Among the most impressive mansions that remain in Lincoln Park is the one built in 1896 by architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz for brewer and millionaire Francis J. Dewes. The style is officially listed as German Baroque and is a prime example of the eclectic, internationally-inspired tastes that dominated Chicago after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition. The home stands next door to the smaller but equally attractive August Dewes mansion.

503 W Wrightwood Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

5. Wood-Maxey-Boyd House

2801 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
The exterior of the Wood Maxey Body House in Chicago. The facade is red brick and there is green ivy on some of the walls. Getty Images

John C. Cochrane, designer of the Illinois State Capitol building, constructed this house in the Douglas area for lumberman George Wood in 1885. The Queen Anne style mansion was purchased in 1948 by Charles Boyde and Dr. Alva Maxey-Boyd and became a center of culture on the South Side. Maxey-Boyd sold the house to a doctor from New York for $450,000 in 2011.

2801 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

6. Nickerson House

40 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611

Architect Edward Burling built the house in 1883 for Samuel Nickerson, founder of the First National Bank of Chicago. Known as the “marble palace” for its ornate stone interior, the property has since been restored and now operates as the Driehaus Museum, conveniently located directly across the street from the Cable House.

40 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Archbishop’s Residence

1555 N State Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60610

This imposing mansion and accompanying coach house occupying a large tree-lined lot along State Parkway was built in 1885 under the supervision of Patrick A. Feehan, the first Archbishop of Chicago. Architect James R. Willett, who served as a Union Army engineer in the American Civil War, designed the ecclesiastical residence with an ornate brick and stone exterior topped with turrets, dormers, and 19 chimneys. The residence hosted famous guests like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Pope John Paul II. Tucked away behind the property, you’ll find one of Chicago’s two surviving woodblock alleyways. Restored in 2011, this type of paving was once common throughout the city, but understandably fell out of favor following the Great Chicago Fire.

1555 N State Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60610

8. Patterson-McCormick Mansion

1500 N Astor St, Chicago, IL 60610

Located at the corner of Astor and Burton streets, the Gold Coast landmark was originally built in 1891 by architect Stanford White for former Chicago mayor and Chicago Tribune founder Joseph Medill, who gifted the home to his daughter Eleanor “Cissy” Patterson. Businessman Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. later purchased the property and hired David Adler to expand it. After serving as a private school, the historic mansion was converted into condos in 1978. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan owned a unit in the building between 2002 and 2013.

1500 N Astor St
Chicago, IL 60610

9. Pate-Comiskey House

5131 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60615

Famous Prairie School Architect George Maher designed this house in Washington Park for lumberman Davey Pate in 1901. It stands out for its combination of traditional and contemporary elements. It would later be purchased and occupied by Charles Comiskey of Chicago White Sox fame.

5131 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60615

10. Raber House

5760 S Lafayette Ave, Chicago, IL 60621

Built in 1870 for prominent businessman, developer, and politician John Raber, this rare pre-fire Italianate house in Englewood was more famous for its vast grounds than the actual building. Its six-acre gardens were once so elaborate and extensive that its original address was on State Street. It has languished for several years and is need of a rehab.

5760 S Lafayette Ave
Chicago, IL 60621

11. Kent-Gates House

2944 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

This South Side mansion was built in 1883 by Burnham & Root for Sidney Kent, founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards. It was later home to John "bet-a-million" Gates, who built a fortune in barbed wire and gambled extensively on the stock market. During his time there, it was known as a center of lavish parties for the city's elite. The Kent-Gates House was later converted to apartments and then to condos.

2944 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

12. Colvin House

5940 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660

The landmark Colvin House, designed by George Maher in 1909, is one of the last Gilded Age mansions embodying the wealth of the elite living on the city's far North Side. Following an extensive restoration, the Edgewater property reopened in 2017 as an event and co-working space.

5940 N Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660

13. Madlener House

4 E Burton Pl, Chicago, IL 60610

Built in 1902 by Schmidt & Garden for Albert Madlener, son of a prominent liquor distributor, this Gold Coast residence combines elements of the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture. It was purchased in 1963 by the educational institution the Graham Foundation and hosts art and design-focused exhibits and programming.

4 E Burton Pl
Chicago, IL 60610

14. Theurer-Wrigley House

2466 N Lakeview Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This 15,000-square-foot north side house was designed by Prairie School architect Richard E. Schmidt for German brewer Joseph Theurer in 1896. It was bought in 1911 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. The mansion has gone on and off the market in recent years and ultimately sold from foreclosure for $4.65 million—roughly one half of the $9 million figure paid by its previous owner.

2466 N Lakeview Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

15. Wheeler-Kohn House

2018 S Calumet Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

This Near South Side house, built for banker Calvin Wheeler in the popular Second Empire style in 1870, is a survivor of the Great Chicago Fire and one of the last still standing along Calumet Avenue. It's second owner, clothier Joseph Kohn, updated it by adding a two-story window bay to the front and the elaborate canopy porch. It was threatened with demolition for a parking lot in 1997 before being purchased and converted to a boutique hotel.

2018 S Calumet Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

16. Harriet F. Rees House

2017 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

The Harriet F. Rees House stands at 2017 S. Prairie Avenue, but that wasn’t always the case. When Cobb & Frost designed the mansion for the widow of real estate developer James H. Rees in 1888, the limestone-clad Romanesque Revival residence was 600 feet away at 2110 S. Prairie Avenue. The landmark home moved in 2014 to make way for a new hotel and arena at the neighboring McCormick Place convention center. Crews used remote-controlled hydraulic dollies with a combined 232 wheels to transfer the 762-ton building—which is believed to be the heaviest residential structure to be moved in the nation’s history.

2017 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

17. Marshall Field Jr. Mansion

1919 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Solon Spencer Beman designed the Near South Side mansion at 1919 S. Prairie Avenue in 1884. Department store magnate Marshall Field—who was living at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue—purchased the property in 1890 for his son, Marshall Field Jr, and hired architect Daniel Burnham to expand the house to an impressive 30,000 square feet. The South Side structure later served time as a psychiatric hospital before it was restored and partitioned into six luxury condominiums in 2007.

1919 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

18. William W. Kimball House

1801 S Prairie Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Solon Spencer Beman also created this well-preserved home at 1801 S. Prairie Avenue in the Chateauesque style with a limestone exterior adorned with Baroque-inspired ornamentation. Constructed between 1890 and 1892 for wealthy piano manufacturer William Wallace Kimball, the property is currently owned by the U. S. Soccer Federation. The organization uses the former mansion as office space.

1801 S Prairie Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

19. John Henry Raap House

1407 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

This impressive Wicker Park home is one of the largest historic homes that comprise Chicago Beer Baron’s Row landmark district. Built in the 1880s for liquor merchant John Henry Raap, the stately red brick structure features a Second Empire exterior with a mansard roofline and a sizeable turret. The Raap mansion served as a rooming house during the Great Depression and was later converted back into a single-family home that blended the historic architecture and modern luxuries. The property hit the market in 2018 for $6.49 million, reported Crain’s at the time. The home was briefly offered as a $15,000 per month rental before getting yanked off the market.

1407 N Hoyne Ave
Chicago, IL 60622