Bush Temple of Music, Chicago-Clark building (1922)
Life Span: 1902-Present
Location: 800 N. Clark Street
Architect: John Edmund Oldaker Pridmore
Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1901
Permit to Build Music Hall.
A building permit was issued yesterday to the Bush Temple of Music company for the erection of a six-story brick office and theater building at 240 East Chicago avenue. The cost will be $500,000.
Chicago Tribune, May 20, 1901
Final plans for the new Bush Temple of Music, which will occupy the northwest corner of Chicago avenue and North Clark street, have just been completed by Architect J.E.O. Pridmore, and work has already been commenced. When finished, which will be at an early date, the structure will be one of the most striking buildings on the North Side, and will be a much needed addition to the architectural features of North Clark street. The building will be absolutely fireproof, of steel frame construction, the exterior of white terra cotta and gray pressed brick. It is in the Frencj renaissance, surmounted by a clock tower 150 feet above the street. Almost one-third of the building will be occupied by an auditorium. The building is a memorial to the late W.H. Bush.
Inter Ocean, April 14, 1902
Chicago is the symphonic center of a new and agreeable glacial age. If architecture is “frozen music” a pleasing note in the new Bush Temple of Music, at Clark street and Chicago avenue. It is the latest addition to a group of notable structures in the neighborhood where the Unity and New England churches, the Newberry library, and the building of the Chicago Historical society have been splendid landmarks. Like the library, the temple is the enterprise of a public-spirited citizen who passed away before its completion, so it is in a sense a monument. While it was destined to serve an artistic purpose, it has plenty of the elements of utility to make it useful and serviceable to the North Side citizens. Its most notable feature is a fine auditorium, furnished with a three manual pipe organ, and a large stage, completely equipped. It has smaller halls and assembly-rooms, and a spacious ballroom, containing a stage and a music gallery. There are canopied entrances from both Chicago avenue and Clark street heading to easy approaches to the auditorium. Although the central pavilion in which it is located is fireproof there are plenty of exits on all sides. The auditorium has its greatest dimension in width, its fine, sweeping curves and broad aisles insuring unimpaired sight lines and perfect acoustics. The stage is large, being 50 feet deep and varying i width from 40 to 60 feet.
Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1902
The Bush Temple of Music at Chicago avenue and North Clark street was opened last night with a concert by Mme. Schumann-Heink, Mrs. Hess-Burr, and the Spiering Quartet, and a dedicatory address by Thomas B. Bryan. The auditorium of the building was filled with North Side people, for whom the new music hall has been erected.
Architecturally the building is in the French renaissance. The interior of the theater is decorated in deep red, cream, and gold.
In delivering the address which opened the new hall, Mr. Bryan spoke of some of the irritating conditions under which music lovers gratify their longings.
In this connection, the speaker said that a friend, who had been offended by conversation during a performance of the grand opera company recently in the Auditorium, had asked him to write an epitaph on babblers. In complying, he said, he had written this:
In such a city as Chicago, Mr. Bryan said, the necessity for such halls as the Bush Temple was increased, and every attempt to meet the demand was the subject for congratulation.
The Auditorium itself is attractive beyond the usual, the color scheme being pleasing and agreeable to the eye, despite the predominance of red. The shape and arrangement of the hall is such that roominess and abundant breathing space are obtained, without any sacrifice of those conditions that give the impression of coziness, and cause the hearer to feel that he is in touch with the performer. The stage is of good size, being wide and of ample depth, and as set last night was spacious and in excellent taste.
Acoustically the room seems satisfactory, both the stringed instruments and the voice surrounding equally well in parquet, balcony, and gallery. Both Mr. Spiering and Mme. Schumann-Heink, when seen after the concert, expressed themselves as delighted with the hall, saying that the acoustics were such that playing and singing on the stage was a pleasure—the true test in such a matter, for the performer can judge more quickly and more accurately concerning it than can the hearer.
As for the concert itself, it was distinctly high grade in character, one worthy of the hall, and of the musical mission its builders hope it is destined to fill. Mme. Schumann-Hein and the Spiering Quartet are sufficient guarantee for an evening of artistic enjoyment and interest, and although neither of them offered anything startlingly unfamiliar, the rehearing of them of known selections was a pleasure and satisfaction.
Mme. Schumann-Heink sang Ortrud in “Lohengrin” in Pittsburg on Wednesday night, and leavin immediately after the performance, did not reach here until 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon. It is not surprising, therefore, that those hearers familiar with her singing found slight signs of weariness in the voice last evening. She sang with less of ease than is usual with her, and her breath seemed short, and yet she was able, despite fatigue, to give a nobly broad and dramatic performance of the recitative and aria “Heller Tag” from Bruch’s “Odysseus,” to deliver Schubert’s “Allmacht” with the vocal power which she alone brings to its rendition, and to sing Franz’s “Im Herbst” with admirable passion and emotional intensity.
The Schubert “Ave Maria” and “Halderöslein” were remarkable as examples of how sopranolike the eminent contralto can make the upper tones in her voice sound, and the Luszt “Drie Zigeuner” was as it always is in her hands, an admirable piece of decriptive singing.
The Spiering Quartet was in good form, giving Beethoven’s G Major Quartet, op. 18, No. 2, with fine finish, admirable balance, and much of tonal beauty beauty, and in the last movement particularly, with delightful spirit and sympathy.
Mr. T.B. Bryant, who made the dedicatory address, was accompanied to the hall by his daughter, Miss Bryan, and Mr. Bryan Lathrop.
Sitting in the front of the box adjoining the stage was Mrs. W.H. Bush, widow of the founder of the hall. She was surrounded by her family, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Bush and Mrs. F.D. Bush.
Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Estabrook occupied a box with Miss Blanch Estabrook, Miss Grace Sanger, and Mr. Harold Lytton.
Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Selfridge had in their box Mme. Selfridge and a party of friends.
Centennial History of the City of Chicago, The Inter Ocean, 1906
William H. Bush:—In a great commercial center, in the most attractive period of the world’s existence, it is pleasing to note the philanthropy of a practical business man, successful and unselfish. The death of William H. Bush removed not only a prominent factor in the piano industry of America, but a man whose sterling name and substantial achievements growth of Chicago are interwoven with the wonderful and the development of the West.
Mr. Bush came here from Baltimore more than half a century ago, beginning business at a time when strenuous and honorable individual effort assisted so much in the advancement of Chicago as the metropolis of the West. His energies were ever in the direction of the
higher citizenship and a sterling standard for integrity in the career of the man, the merchant and the manufacturer.
When Chicago was almost obliterated by the great fire Mr. Bush was engaged in the lumber business, and all of his worldly possessions, the day after the great schooners conflagration, consisted of two small charred laden with lumber, that had been towed from the river to the outer harbor. His first thought was for Grace M. E. Church, where he had been a deacon for a quarter of a century. From his meager stock he generously aided in the rebuilding of a church on the site of its its predecessor that was completed within a week after destruction. Then came anew the struggle for existence, and Mr. Bush was unusually successful.
With a well-grounded belief in the North Side, Mr. Bush in 1875, securing the services of Edwin Burling, architect, erected a large two-story brick building on the northwest corner of North Clark street and Chicago avenue, with the idea of establishing a market fashioned after the old Lexington market in Baltimore. Mr. Bush devoted the basement, and the three-story addition in the rear, facing on Chicago avenue, to his packing interests.
As a market-house with the stall plan was not so successful as had been anticipated, the free delivery system in vogue in this city militating against the old-fashioned style of marketing, the building was remodeled into stores. In 1882, after seven years in the packing, Mr. Bush sold out his interests in that line and retired, merely devoting his attention to real estate holdings. But Mr. Bush preferred the activity of a business life, and late in 1885 formed a partnership with Mr. John Gerts, a practical piano man, for the purpose of manufacturing pianos. The business thus promulgated flourished with unprecedented success, and Mr. Bush was still at the helm guiding and directing its large interests when stricken with the illness which robbed Chicago of one of its most successful financiers and a citizen of whom it might well be proud.
The late William H. Bush, while taking a justifiable pride in his business, had loftier ambitions in bettering the general conditions of the community. He was active in the work of the Church for over forty years, a thorough believer in practical Christianity, a member of the Civic Federation, the Society for the Prevention of Vice and other beneficial municipal organizations. He was ever a strong advocate for temperance, and the encroachment of the saloons in the Clark street neighborhood was to him a sore trial. Personally he would tolerate no affiliation with liquor interests in that any property he owned or controlled.
In addition to his many charities, one in which he was particularly interested was the Methodist Old People’s Home, on Foster avenue, in Edgewater. It was his first donation of $35,000, that made the building of Bush Hall possible, and his gift of the lots adjoining will enable the directors to add the projected wings of the completed building. The present Bush Hall is a substantial fourstory building, accomodating sixty inmates. The completed building plan includes three continuous buildings, of which the one erected is the middle building, and a chapel on the corner adjoining. The Home completed will take care of two hundred and fifty people.
An inspection of the Home demonstrates that it has the inviting atmosphere of a home, with cozy rooms well lighted and heated and comfortably furnished. The furnishings are substantial and have been selected with taste. Many individuals, Epworth Leagues and other Societies, have furnished rooms. An institution of this nature must have an endowment fund, and one of the last bequests of Mr. Bush was the sum of $30,000 for this purpose. The Home was dedicated three weeks after Mr. Bush’s death. Interested friends have already promised the necessary money to erect series projected.
Mr. Bush had a sincere fondness for the old corner where he had been in business so long, and an abiding faith in that particular section of the North Division. During the last ten years of his life he had several times planned to remodel the building, but two years before his death ordered plans for an entirely new building upon the site. It was his desire that it should be freed as far as possible from the environments of commercialism, a monumental structure that should be beautiful as well as useful. few weeks before the time appointed for the breaking of ground preparatory to the erection of the building Mr. Bush was seized with a fatal illness. His last request of his two sons was that they should carry out his projects in regard to the building. As a result of this request and its faithful execution, the Bush Temple of Music, a beautiful and imposing structure now stands as a memorial to one of the most honored citizens, successful business men, and broad minded philanthropists of the great western metropolis.
Bush Temple of Music Program
April 10, 1904
Chicago Tribune, November 20, 1904
An arrangement has just been completed, whereby the Bush & Gerts Piano Company will retire from the Retail Piano Business in Chicago and the Cable Company will represent the Bush & Gerts Company in the sale of their pianos, the closing of their stores and the collection of their accounts.
The interest of all past as well as future purchasers of Bush & Gerts Pianos or Apollo Piano Players will be carefully protected by the Cable Company. Mr. Joseph T. Leimert, who for years has managed the retail business of Bush & Gerts, has been engaged by the Cable Company as manager of the Retail Department. All of the Bush employes of Bush & Gerts will be found at the Cable Company after Han. 1st, 1905.
On Dec. 31st the Busg & Gerts Company will relinquish possession of their two Chicago stores, at 209 Wabash-av., and Bush Temple of Music, North Clark, cor. Chicago-av. In the meantime all pianos, organs and players in their stock will be sold by them regardless of cost, either for cash or on easy terms. All instruments sold or rented will be cared for, and all accounts collected by the Cable Company after Jan. 1st, 1905.
The Bush & Gerts Company, by means of this arrangement, are enabled to continue their efforts to manufacturing and supplying their rapidly increasing wholesale business.
Bush Temple of Music Building
Bush Temple of Music Building
Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1909
Edwin Thanhouser sold control of the Thanhouser Stock company and the lease of the Bush temple theater yesterday to Samuel P. Gerson, former manager of the Whitney Opera house, and Gilbert M. Anderson of the firm of Spoor & Anderson moving picture makers. Mr. Gerson will succeed Thanhouser as manager of the north side playhouse. The change of administration is to be effective at once.
The Thanhouser company was organized last year and has presented in the Bush Temple theater a series of romantic dramas, spectacle plays, and farces, with a change of bill each week. The new management contemplates a similar policy in the conduct of the theater.
“T sold the stock in the company, properties, and lease because I want a rest in Virginia,” said Mr. Thanhouser. “I expect to come back to Chicago after eight months or a year, and engage in some other theatrical venture.”
Inter Ocean, September 10, 1913
Chicago’s German theater is no more, in so far as Max Hanisch is concerned. After closing his second season at the Bush Temple theater with a deficit of some $50,000, the impresario departs soon for San Francisco, where he will undertake the establishment of a German repertory theater with a sufficient guarantee. Even the backing of the German Theater society, a group of influential and wealthy Chicagoans, did not save the day, and rather proved to be an incubus than otherwise. For two years his wife (Emilie Schoenfeld) played prima donna parts four nights out of seven, on the average, and received nothing whatever in salary. The principals of the company go with Mr. Hanisch, for the most part, and the scenery built for use here at the Criterion and Bush Temple theaters will be taken along. Operetta, dramatic productions, classic revivals and a new element in the way of French playlets will for the repertory. Whether the organization will be housed in a leased theater of build its own will be determined upon the showing of this experimental year.
This is a regrettable ending to a sturdy, faithful effort toward establishing a German repertory theater in Chicago.
Chicago Tribune, May 7, 1922
Chicago’s German Theater company, which has been playing at the Bush Temple theater under the direction of Conrad Seideman, aparently is going to have a final curtain rung on its activities as a result of the sale yesterday of the Bush Temple for $700,000 to the Chicago-Clark Building corporation.
According to Arthur and Carruthers, president of the corporation, the first thing will be to tear out the theater and erect a six story annex to the present structure at the northwest corner of Clark street and Chicao avenue.
When completed the Chicago-Clark building, as it will be called, will contain fifteen stores, arcade shops, and offices. Shankland & Pingrey have drawn plans.
The original structure was designed by J.E.O. Pridmore for William H. Bush, founder of the Bush & Gerts Piano company, and completed in 1901. The theater was opened by a stock company. Between 1907 and 1914 it was used for various theatrical enterprises. It was rebuilt after damage by fire in 1914 and rented to the German Opera association.
“It is hoped that, rather than see the German plays pass entirely away, thise interested will give sufficient financial support for us to continue,” said Director Seideman. “If plans now under way materialize we’ll have a German Opera association again and strong enough financially to erect and endow a suitable opera house.”
Charles Appel, long active in German societies and father of Lila Lee, movie actress, is said to have pledged his support to a reorganization, and arrangements hve been made for a festival to be held June 4 at Brand’s park to further the project.
Arthus S. Caruthers & Co., managers of the property and brokers in the deal, announced that work of wrecking the theater will start at once. Theb improvements will cost $300,000, it is said. Lackner, Buts & Co. have underwritten a $450,000 bond issue.
From 1922 Chicago Central Business and Office Guide
The corner is improved with a six-story brick, steel and terra cotta building 100×150 feet of substantial construction and very pleasmg exterior. The first floor contains 12 stores, most of which Will also have display frontage on the handsome marble and plate glass Arcade, which opens from the center of the Clark Street side and leads directly through to the main lobby of the Chicago Avenue entrance. There are also five shops facing the Arcade only. From the lobby a marble stairway leads to the second floor which is fitted out especially for doctors, surgeons and dentists and has every appliance installed that is required by these professions.
The following car lines intersect and pass this property: Clark StreetdLineoln-Berwyn, Lincoln-Downtown;
No. 22—81st-Halsted, Clark-Howard, Clark-Wentworth; No. 3—47th-Lake Park, Lincoln-Berwyn; Broadway-Downtown, Clark-Devon, Ogden-Madison, Clark-Dewey, 26th-Kenton, North Avenue-Clark; Chicago Avenue east to Pier; Chicago Avenue, downtown and switch.
Within two blocks East and West the following car lines afford an additional service to this property:
Wells St.—Ravenswood-Rosehill, Lincoln-Downtown‘ Clybourn’Belmont, Harrison-State; No. 2—Clybourn Belmont, 79th-VVentworth, Sheffield-Wells. Taylor-Western; Chicago Avenue to loop and west to Austin. State St.—-State St.; No. l—Broadway-Howard, 55th-Lake Park.
Bush Temple of Music
Chicago-Clark Building (after 1922)
Curbed Chicago, Apr 25, 2016
By Jay Koziarz
While Cedar Street Co. has been hard at work for several months carefully renovating the landmarked 1901 Bush Temple of Music at 800 N Clark into new FLATS-branded apartments, work on the project’s 15-story glassy annex tower also appears imminent. On Friday, a pair of demolition permits were issued for 810 and 812 N Clark — a couple of old three-story brick buildings that currently stand in the way of the planned 179-foot addition penned by Chicago’s Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture.
The new tower portion of the Bush Temple redevelopment will contain roughly 129 of the 230 total residential units as outlined in Cedar Street’s Planned Development (PD) approved by the city earlier this year. Expected to be called FLATS No. 800 when completed, the project also features 8,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space and will house the first downtown location of Heritage Bicycles. On-site accessory parking is limited to just 15 vehicles thanks to the site’s transit-oriented designation.
Renderings of the HPA design also show the six-story Mormon meetinghouse planned immediately to the north. The block is currently abuzz with construction activity with eight luxury townhouses from Col. Jennifer Pritzker under construction just north of the proposed Mormon facility and an apartment tower at 833 N Clark quickly rising across the street.
Cedar Street Tower
Bush & Gerts Piano Factory
Inter Ocean, October 22, 1899
The interests William H. Bush and William L. Bush, president and secretary of the Bush & Gerts Piano company, in the firm’s factory at Weed and Dayton streets have been bought up by John Gerts for $105,000. The factory grounds are at the northwest corner of the street intersection, fronting south 320 feet and having a depth of 150 feet. The buildings are extensive.
Dayton and Weed
Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1925
BUYS OLD PIANO PLANT.
The Patent Scaffolding company has bought th Bush & Gerts property at Dayton, Weed and South streets, for $90,000, subject to $50,000, according to Alex Friend & Co., who represented both parties.