Good morning and happy Monday, I come with some bad news. Over the weekend, I received an email from Andrew Schneider (of Logan Square Preservation) detailing the plans to remove the facade on the old building at Spaulding and Milwaukee. The building is related to the Morris Sachs Building/Hairpin Lofts at Diversey and Milwaukee, just up the street. Both buildings share the same art deco camel relief near the top. The camels were the company logo for the Hump Hair Pin Company. For those who are unfamiliar with the history of the Hump Hair Pin Company, check out this episode of “Ask Geoffrey” on Chicago Tonight to learn more:
Andrew and the other folks at LSP held a meeting to discuss these changes to the building.
For those of you who have been following this story, the building located at 2734 N. Milwaukee in Logan Square will have its historic and unique Art Deco façade removed in the coming weeks to be replaced with standard modern brick.
Logan Square Preservation (of which I am a member) only became aware of the plan to remove the façade of the building, which until last year was covered with corrugated steel and housed a Pearl Vision, after a public meeting to discuss a zoning variance for an existing parking lot in the rear in March.
LSP’s leadership feels like the façade could have been saved but that last-ditch nature of attempts to obtain city funding and preserve it were stymied by leases signed by the building’s owners and the timing with which everything unfolded. After it’s completed the building will house a brewpub along Milwaukee and a dialysis center in the back.
The loss of the building (I call it a loss, since the historic components are mostly to be removed) is a real tragedy in light of its connection to the Hairpin Lofts and Art Center project one block to the north that has been beautifully restored. This loss is especially sad in a neighborhood that prizes its historic resources as much as ours and given the example of the Hairpin building and the incredible restoration of the Logan Theater, recently completed just down the street.
It was originally built by Sol Goldberg, owner of the Hump Hairpin Manufacturing Company and built in 1931, the beginning of the Great Depression. Goldberg was described in a Chicago Tribune article of July 26, 1931 as a “consistent builder of business blocks throughout the present depression.”
It was designed by the firm of Leichenko and Esser and completed in September of that year. A two-story fireproof store and loft building, it originally housed Lebow, Inc. on part of the first floor and all of the second, and the Palmer Apparel Shops, Inc., Florsheim Shoes and some other leases filled out the first floor. It had a total of six Milwaukee storefronts. Lebow, Inc. apparently had a large ornamental marble and bronze stairway that led to their second floor.
Members of LSP reached out in several attempts to restore the beautifully ornamented exterior façade that originally had a crenellated cornice. The owners were well-intentioned and worked with us at the last minute in an attempt to preserve the historic façade, but the pressure of time has resulted in a very sad loss of an important corner building. We appreciate that the owners are working hard to invest in the community and have volunteered to re-install some of the ornamentation in the new façade. The building could have been glorious. Instead, we’ll have something that looks as if it could have been built anywhere.
As I rode to work today, I noticed that there is a crew of construction workers already setting up a scaffolding. It’s quite sad to see. I share Andrew’s sentiments - we have a neighborhood with beautiful and historic architecture - and some of it has been restored to its former glory, while others will be scrapped to make way for something else.
Andrew also shared his message on Every Block, and there’s a lot of comments and follow ups to it. To continue the conversation, check out the Every Block post, or leave a comment here.
I’ve obtained a rendering of what the project will look like when completed.