Essential Architecture-  Chicago Northeast

Brewster Apartments

architect

 Enoch Hill Turnock

location

2800 N. Pine Grove Ave.

date

1893

style

 

construction

steel skeleton-frame construction

type

Apartment Building
 
 
 
   
Located at the busy corner of Diversey and Pine Grove, "The Brewster" stands proudly as a Chicago landmark. Brewster Apartments is home to two-bedroom condominiums and the Galway Bay Irish Pub in the basement. Movie buffs may recognize the interior of the Brewster from Child's Play and Running Scared. The Brewster's penthouse was home to Charlie Chaplin while he was working in Chicago's Hollywood neighborhood, in his early movie days. If you're fortunate enough, check out the Brewster's interior with its ancient, hand-operated elevator, wrought iron railings, and glass-block inlaid floor. While much lesser known, the Brewster is as impressive as the Wrigley Building, the Monadnock Building, and the Rookery, all of which are located in downtown Chicago.

Excerpt from the Access Guide to Chicago (1999):

"Brewster Apartments: Originally known as the Lincoln Park Palace, this eight-story structure was commissioned in 1893 by E. H. Turnock and renovated in 1972 by Mieki Hayano, it has been designated a Chicago landmark for its excellent early application on a residential building of the principles of metal-frame construction, in which the use of an iron or steel frame made it possible to erect higher buildings. The exterior is faced in rusticated stone; the upper stories are banded by a large terra-cotta frieze with details in the style of Louis Sullivan, and the terra-cotta cornice features lion heads. The entryway on North Pine Grove Avenue, originally the ladies' entrance, is flanked by four polished jasper colonettes inset with windows. Make a friend in the building so that you can see the interior which boasts one of the most fabulous remaining 19th-century atriums in the city. Patterns of the intertwined tendrils and oak leaves adorn the lobby moldings, and open-case elevators, staircases, and bridges are all woven in extraordinary cast-iron latticework."
 
The principles of skeleton-frame construction, which made possible tall commercial skyscrapers at the end of the 19th century, were used here for an early high-rise apartment building that originally was known as the "Lincoln Park Palace."
Behind its heavy masonry walls is an exceptionally innovative interior, a light-and-airy construction of cast-iron stairs, elevator cages, bridge walkways paved with glass blocks, and a massive skylight.

links

With special thanks to the City of Chicago website, www.egov.cityofchicago.org , for much of the info on this page.
Photos copyright City of Chicago.
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