A Million Times – Harry Caray Edition

December 16, 2009 4 Comments »

Today’s building for A Million Times is Harry Caray’s restaurant in River North, located at 33 W. Kinzie. It’s a building you certainly may have noticed, it sticks out like a sore thumb, but it’s architecture and age is amazing and deserves a second glance.

photo courtesy of feverishthoughts.com

photo courtesy of feverishthoughts.com

The building was designed by Henry Ives Cobb and was finished in 1895 (Harry Caray’s opened in 1987). It was a factory and showroom for a company called the Chicago Varnish Co. It’s a crazy red brick and has a light, gray stone contrast that really makes it “pop” (oh I’ve always wanted to say that about my own dancing abilities, now I’m using it for architecture, the world is ending). It’s in the Dutch Renaissance style with those huge gables on the side and three dormers in between. Also notice the cool round windows at the top of the building and over the entrance. There’s a lot going on here, I like the “fans” over the windows and the red vertical lines between the windows on the trunk of the building.

Cobb also designed the Newberry Library, Excalibur Night Club (the original Chicago Historical Society Building) and The Chicago Athletic Association (another of my favorites). He also designed the famous Potter mansion which is now gone, but was CRAZY, even for Palmer.

A couple of quick fun facts: Henry Ives Cobb’s grandmother, Augusta Adams Cobb, left her husband, Henry Cobb, and seven of her nine children in 1843, and married Brigham Young as a plural wife. Wow.

Mike Royko was only person to ever take a piece of memorabilia back, he took back his own picture after he learned the restaurant didn’t take reservations. The restaurant changed its policy after that. Heh.

4 Comments

  1. Wendy December 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm -

    SO interesting! Do you know when the building was renovated/restored? It so looks like it’s been scrubbed clean..! Also: being a native Milwaukeean, it sure reminds me of the Germanic architecture found there, especially City Hall.

  2. admin December 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm -

    I know Harry Caray’s paid for the restoration and they moved in 1987 so somewhere around there I would guess. Just checked out the Milwaukee City Hall and it does look similar for sure! I love the contrasting colors on the top and bottom. That’s a neat building.

  3. Michael December 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm -

    You lift me up every week Hicksy. I NEVER would have pegged this building as a Cobb product–it’s so different than his other stuff. He also designed the Ransom R. Cable Mansion at the SW corner of Wabash and Erie that is used as offices by Driehaus Investments.

  4. admin December 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm -

    Yay! I love Cobb, I think I have a little crush on him too. His buildings are always so different than the Burnham Beaux Arts stuff out there. I’ll have to check out the Cable Mansion, I can’t think of it in my head…

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