FINE ARTS building, formerly the Studebaker building, at 410 S. Michigan avenue, was built in 1886. S. S. Beman was the architect. The building is eight stories high, with one basement, on spread foundations.
Life Span: 1886-Present
Location: 410 South Michigan Avenue
Architect: Solon Spencer Beman
Chicago Tribune, November 7, 1886
The great Studebaker Building on Michigan avenue, below Van Buren street, is nearing completion. It will be recognized as one of the chief landmarks of the city, worthy at once of Chicago and of the great manufacturing house of which it will be representative. The error of a lady the other day in mistaking the building for the American Institute of Art, situated just to the north, was quite natural, for certainly those immense shafts of polished granite at the entrance to the Studebaker Building are the most artistic things on all Michigan avenue.
Chicago Tribune, December 29, 1895
The Studebaker Building (remodeling), at Nos. 378 to 388 Wabash avenue, is nearly completed. Its cost is $250,O00. In size it is 120×150 feet. The Studebaker Bros. Manufacturing company, for whom the building is built, will occupy the main floor, basement, and second floor, and the balance of the ten stories will be divided to suit tenants. The building contains some novel features in the way of plate glass fronts, making it one of the lightest buildings for salesrooms in Chicago. The front and rear of the building contain 95 per cent, making it the lightest building in the city. In addition to this feature there is a light court in the center of the building. The front, except for the glass, is constructed of pure white terra cotta and the entrance is in marble and mosaic. The structure will be of the Gothic style of architecture. Freight and passenger elevators will be in the building and each floor will have toilet-rooms. S. S.Berman is the architect.
Studebaker Building, 1900
Currently, true to its name, it houses artists’ lofts, art galleries, theatre, dance and recording studios, interior design firms, musical instrument makers, and other businesses associated with the arts. It also holds offices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the Grant Park Conservancy, the World Federalist Association, the Chicago Youth Symphony, the Boitsov Classical Ballet School and Company, and the venerable Artist’s Cafe, known to generations of late-night diners. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on June 7, 1978.
Here are a few of the carriages they produced. These were all painted by the prolific turn-of-the-century magazine illustrator, C. Gray-Parker.
Studebaker Hunting Trap
Studebaker Tandem Cart
Studebaker Spider Phaeton
Studebaker Queen Phaeton
Studebaker Goddard Buggy
The Chicago Carriage Repository of this manufacturing company is one of the finest houses of the kind in the city. The general offices and factories are localed at South Bend, Ind. In a humble blacksmith shop in that· town, in 1850, the father of the Studebaker Brothers pursued his toilsome vocation, earning his daily bread and bringing up his boys to a knowledge of the anvil and the forge. Thirty-four years have wrought a great change. The carriage and wagon works of the brothers and the buildings immediately adjacent, cover over thirty acres of land (including lumber-yards, etc., eighty acres); and their wagons and carriages have now, in the broad field of competition, a world-wide renown and have achieved great triumphs wherever they have entered the lists of the World’s industries. At hundreds of local and State expositions many verdicts have been adjudged in their favor. At the National Fair at Chicago, in 1867, they were awarded the first prize for excellence. At the United States Exposition in 1876, they led all the Centennial awards. At the World’s Great Fair, at Paris, in 1878, they were awarded the silver medal, and the same by the Mexican Republic in 1879. Thirty-five years ago they were humble blacksmiths; to-day, beyond doubt, they are the largest carriage and wagon manufactnrers in the world. They have five repositories in the United States, the one in Chicago being made a leading feature. The members of the company are all residents of South Rend, Ind. Their repository was established here in 1874. Wilbur F. Studebaker, son of P. E. Studebaker, treasurer of the company, is the resident manager, and has been one of Chicago’s citizens for about six years. The building now in course of erection on Michigan Avenue, is one of the finest buildings on the American continent, and is a tribute as well to the enterprise of the firm as to our city.
1922 Chicago Central Business and Office Guide
The Fine Arts Building, fronting Lake Michigan between Van Buren and Congress Streets is the most prominent feature of the finest block of buildings in the entire city, including the buildings of the Chicago Club, the Auditorium Hotel and the Congress Hotel. It is the center of the highest artistic, literary and educational interests of the city, and contains three auditoriums, which are considered superior in elegance of architecture, decorations and appointments to any heretofore constructed.
Among its tenants may be mentioned: The Chica o Woman’s Club, The Cordon, the Musician’s Club, Women, the Chicago Literary Club, the Public School Art Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Chicago Artists’ Association, the Chicago Woman’s Musical Club, the Young Fortnightly The Wednesday Club, the Alliance Francaise, Albert Ronllier’s Galleries and the following Arts and Crafts shops:
The Artists’ Guild, Christia M. Reade (jewelry, etc), The Piccadilly (tea room), Ackerman & Son (art galleries), Miss Jeannette Pratt (jewelry, etc). James Winn (jewelry), The T. C. Shop, The Aeolian Company, Grosvenor, Lapham & Co., A. B. Chase Pianos, Ralph Fletcher Seymour (books), Elizabeth Henson (lamp shades), The Anna Morgan Studios (dramatic art), W. K. Cowan (furniture and art
galleries) The Homer Studios (interior decorating) Edmund C. Hamilton (interior decorating), The Kalo Shop, W. C. Moulton (interior decorator) The Grace Hickox Studios (dramatic art), Page & Shaw (candies), Cercle Francais, fernand de Gueldre (photographer), and other artistic and educational concerns, for which it has become the recognized headquarters.
Also the Studebaker Theatre, seating 1,330. The Playhouse, seating 630.
Recital Hall, seating 425, connected with the Auditorium banquet room.