Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Historical Look at Ferdinand Wythe Peck, a South Loop Resident and Driving Force Behind the Auditorium Building

Ferdinand Wythe Peck's Home at 1826 S. Michigan
There has been a good amount of press about the well regarded Auditorium Theater and it's 125th anniversary.

The Sloop's historic Glessner Home used this occasion to do a blog post about an old South Loop resident who was instrumental in building the Auditorium theater:
Tuesday December 9, 2014, marks the 125th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre. Much has been written about the Auditorium Building, its magnificent theater, the architects Adler & Sullivan who designed it, and its importance in the history of American architecture. In this article, the 200th published to our blog since we began in January 2011, we shall look at the home of Ferdinand Wythe Peck, the driving force behind this monumental undertaking.
Later in the post the get to history of how Peck ended up in the area:
As work continued on the Auditorium Building, Peck engaged William LeBaron Jenney to design a new home for him at 1826 S. Michigan Avenue, in the exclusive residential district where many of his board members resided. The imposing structure, faced in Vermont granite, featured a massive four-story square tower over the entrance way at the north end, balanced by a three-story rounded tower to the south. The overall design was Romanesque Revival, later known as Richardsonian Romanesque in honor of its chief practitioner, Henry Hobson Richardson. Richardson had three structures underway in Chicago at the time including the Marshall Field Wholesale Store, and large homes for Franklin MacVeagh on North Lake Shore Drive, and the Glessner House at 1800 S. Prairie Avenue.
However, if you go history hunting now, you're going to come up empty handed:
The house fell to the wrecker’s ball two years later, in 1969. Today the site is part of a large townhouse development known as Michigan Avenue Gardens, constructed in 1998. Peck’s house may be gone, but his greatest achievement – the Auditorium – is his lasting and enduring legacy to his beloved city of Chicago.
Anyway a fun read for people who are interested in the history of the neighborhood.

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