STEUBEN CLUB 188 W. RANDOLPH STREET building, at the northeast corner of N. Wells street, later the 188 W. Randolph Street building, built in 1929, is 27 stories high, with a 18-story tower, on rock caissons. Vitzhum & Burns were the architects.
The Steuben Club Under Construction
Chicago Tribune June 27, 1926
STEUBEN CLUB PLANS 32 STORY LOOP BUILDING
Membership Roster to Be 15,000
In those colonial days when George Washington was in dire need of experienced military officers to train his soldiers and stiffen their morale the famous German soldier and champion of democracy, Baron von Steuben, a lover of freedom and independence, came with an offer of his services and his private fortune, which was gratefully accepted.
He organized the colonial army and gave much needed aid to the colonies in securing their independence from foreign tyranny and insuring the glorious development of our country.
In this he towers above all other names of foreign soldiers in the revolutionary war, not excepting La Fayette and Kasciuska. Now, after a century and a half, those of German blood in Chicago, as a testimonial to this great soldier and patriot, have founded the Steuben club, a corporation chartered under the laws of Illinois and organized set for profit.
—Excerpt from statement by Henry J. Greune, president of the Steuben club.
Chicago, already famous for its clubs, is going to have another magnificent structure which in some ways will surpass anything of its kind in the world. This us the proposed thirty-two story home of the Steuben club, an organization which contemplates an ultimate membership of 15,000.
This huge roster is to include German descent as well as German born residents of Chicago and the middle west. There will be 5,000 life memberships, 5,000 non-resident and 5,000 resident members.
Two Sites Under Consideration.
Two loop sites are now under consideration and the selection is expected to be made shortly. Vitzhum & Burns, designers of the Midland club, the proposed LaSalle club and the Sky Line club on top of the Bell building, which they also designed, will be the architects of the Steuben club.
As shown in the accompanying picture (below) the skyscraper club will not follow the old fashioned Chicago type of building. It’ll not be merely a large packing case, surmounted by a gigantic cornice and ornamented with a galaxy of pent houses and roof tanks. It’ll be one of the first imposing examples of the New York set-back style of architecture, with all of the usual and atrocities taken care of in the general architectural scheme and hidden from view.
Has Room to Expand.
In reality it will be a fifteen story clubhouse set on top of a seventeen story commercial building. The use of setbacks not only adds to the beauty of the building’s skyline, but it gives the slab a couple of imposing open terraces. The plans call for the gradual churning of the commercial space in the first seventeen stories into club quarters as the organization grows. The tower part of the structure will be called the German building.
This means that instead of having to acquire adjacent space and build another as the membership roll enlarges, the club will merely expand street wards till eventually it is expected the organization may occupy all but the first floor.
Huge Open Air Gym on 32d Floor
Probably the most outstanding feature of the club building will be the huge gymnasium on the top floor, so arranged that the glass roof can be rolled back and an open air space accommodating 2,000 Turners at one time is made available.
A large swimming pool is planned in connection with the bath department on the upper floors of the club, just below the gymnasium. A large number of rehearsal rooms will be provided for the practicing of singing societies.
Other floors of the fifteen story club thirty-two story building will be used for large main dining room, private dining rooms, card rooms, lounge rooms, bowling alley, and in fact, all other comforts and conveniences found in the modern metropolitan club. There’ll be sleeping rooms, all with baths.
The Proposed Steuben Club will cost approximately $4,000,000.
In the years following the stock market crash of 1929, the Steuben Club Building suffered the same lack of tenancy as all the skyscrapers in Chicago’s Loop. In the 1950s, long after the Steuben Club itself had ceased to occupy the building, the building was partially remodeled, and the first-floor exterior and lobby were simplified in the more stripped-down modern style of the day. The building’s upper floors remained largely in use as offices, but the fitness facilities and swimming pool created for the Steuben Club remained in use as health club facilities.
Steuben Club Building
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