Allerton Club Residences,
Life Span: 1924-Present
Location: NE Corner Michigan Avenue and Huron Street
Architect: Murgatroyd & Ogden, New York, with Fugard & Knapp
Chicago Tribune, June 8, 1922
Chicago bachelors are going to have a $4,000,000 twenty story hotel on upper Boul Mich, a 750 room structure, to contain a completely equipped gymnasium, handball and squash courts, billiard rooms and other club features—and with prices ranging from $10 to $18 per week.
It will mean the Chicago entrance of a remarkably successful New York venture known as the Allerton House company, which has three skyscraping bachelor hotels in Gotham and another planned. The Allerton interests after more than a year of investigation bought the northeast corner of Michigan and Huron, through Frederick S. Oliver of Oliver & Co., from Frank H. Donnelley, for an undisclosed consideration.
Open Next Spring.
According to Mr. Oliver, work probably will start on the Chicago Allerton house within thirty days. The hotel will open next spring. Murgatroyd & Ogden, New York architects, have drawn up plans for a building fronting 109 feet on the boulevard and 150 feet on Huron, to be equal in architectural beauty to the Manhattan Allertons.
There’ll be an elaborate coffee shop and grill, writing rooms and other necessities and luxuries of the modern hotel and club. A club room will be open at all times for university men, both undergraduates and alumni. On the roof wiull be a solarium with a cafè.
Stuart G. Shepard, who will be the Chicago representative of the Allerton interests, and his associates. Tayor, Miller, Dickerson & Plamondon, were attorneys for the buyers, and Veedr & Veeder for the seller.
Many in New York.
Among those interested in the New York Allerton projects are George W. Perkins, Jr., former Gov. Charles S. Whitman, Arthur Curtis James, Walter Jennings and others. There is a twenty story Allerton at Lexington and 57th, New York City; another the same height at Madison and 55th, a seventeen story one in the Grand Central district and a twenty story hotel planned for Madison avenue and 38th.
Chicago Tribune, July 2, 1922
After repeated inquiries, both by wire and mail, sent to Murgatroyd & Ogden, of New York, architects of the proposed new Allerton bachelor hotel at the northeast corner of Upper Michigan avenue and Huron street, told about recently, we learn the following illuminating information regarding the architectural features of the project:
It will be built of Bedford stone and brick. These busy (or was it indifference to middle west curiosity?) Gotham architects didn’t even tell us the color of the brick.
Anyway, we’ll have to admit these Manhattan architects have arranged their Bedford stone and brick in a novel way and the new Allerton should be a striking addition to Chicago and perhaps a spur to the lagging originality of some of our leading architects. Notice in the neighboring picture the set backs and broken sky lines and complete lack of the typical box like structural lines so popular with many local architects.
The first floor will be given up to stores on Boul Mich, a lobby, lounge, dining room and billiard rooms. The second and third floors will be devoted entirely to club rooms and dining room. The balance will be used for 700 sleeping rooms; a gym on the upper floor, with four squash courts and four handball courts.
The site is occupied by a stone residence at one time the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Dauchy, the latter the daughter of the late George Sturges, pioneer banker.
Stuart G. Shepard, who represents the company in Chicago, says he is informed by Frederick S. Oliver of Oliver & Co., brokers in the transaction, that there are already many inquiries for shops. The McLennan Construction company will be builders.
Chicago Tribune, January 16, 1923
Issue Permit for $1,500,000 Hotel on “Wonder Mile”
Permits for erection of the Allerton bachelor hotel, 701-709 North Michigan, to cost $1,500,000, and an addition to the Penn school, South Avers and West 16th street, to cost the $500,000, were issued yesterday by the building department.
The bachelor hotel is to be owned and operated by the Allerton hotels of New York City.
The contrast between the “new” Michigan Avenue of the 1920s and the late 19th-century townhouses of the former Pine Street is markedly apparent in these photographs from 1924.
The Architectural Forum, May, 1925
The shortage of housing and the high cost of building today have made any new project an economic problem; therefore in crowded areas or where land values are high, we find commercial buildings, apartment houses and hotels designed as skyscrapers, rising from 20 to 30 stories in height, on the average. We also have cooperative ownership to further reduce the ever-increasing costs. Then we have still another problem,—the housing of bachelors, both male and female. The antiquated boarding houses with its limited accommodations becomes costly if one desires the comforts of home. The club is costly too, if it has living accommodations with few to carry the burden. Therefore in housing a large number under one roof, with all the home and club life comforts, the operating cost is naturally distributed among more units and is reduced per capita, amking comfortable living possible.
The first examples of the type of building to benefit this class are found in the numerous club residences erected in New York by the Allerton House Companies, and recently in the completion of such a structure in Chicago, which this article will attempt to describe briefly. In every large or small city there are many single men and women who desire club life. This is why the Allerton Houses in New York are so popular, and Chicago is now the first city outside of New York to have such an institution. These club hotels have solved an economic problem for the class of people for whom they are intended. The keynote of this type of building is economy, not only in space, but in so planning it that it is economical in operation,—thereby benefitting the guests because they are able to obtain all the privileges of a residence club at moderate rentals. The new Chicago Allerton House, recently completed, is located on one of the finest thoroughfares in the city, at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and East Huron Street. Its tall shaft, 26 stories in height, towers above the surrounding buildings, and shares prominence with other tall structures of the city, going up now on all sides.
The building is the shape of an H in plan, which gives the maximum amount of outside wall space for windows facing the south and the streets. In a building of this size, containing 1010 bedrooms, one finds various requirements fulfilled by having rooms of various sizes, with or without baths, rooms en suite and rooms overlooking Lake Michigan or any desired exposure, making possible any combination.
The type of architecture used is somewhat different from that generally found in Chicago; it is of the early northern Italian style, with a solid three story base of limestone in an arcade motif consisting of broad pilasters and triple arches, with a double arched window motif in the upper portion and single or double windows below. At the main entrance this arcade motif is open, forming a loggia, over which is a smaller open arcade, and at the same level around the building there are arched windows in brick panels surrounded by stone, making it in reality a three-story base motif to carry the towering brick shaft of the building above. This shaft, which is all of brick, has pilasters at the corners of the pavilion motifs, with smaller intermediate pilasters. Windows occupy the fields between the pilasters, which are made interesting by a pattern of projecting headers. These pilasters terminate in a wall at the top where the square pavilions be come of an octagonal shape, forming interesting crowning features where an arcade motif adds lightness to the top. The arcade is recalled in the main shaft of the front of the building by two-story arches divided by panels at the floor level. The sides of the building between the octagonal shaped towers show the walls set back and capped by bracketed overhanging balconies on heavy corbels, with trellised pergolas above. These four corner towers flank the main shaft of the building, which rises higher, forming a massive center tower crowned by the overhanging cornice and tile roof, on which stands an octagonal cupola containing the chimney. The structure is graceful and distinguished.
One enters the ground floor on Huron Street through a loggia which opens into the main entrance hall, two stories in height, where two flights of stairs lead to the first floor above. Between the two flights of stairs is an entrance on the ground floor to the elevator lobby, off of which arc the grill room, coat room, cigar counters, telephone booths, entrances to the Michigan Avenue shops, main toilet rooms, and the spacious barber shop. The main dining room, lounge, library, women’s reception room and a private dining room open off the elevator lobby. From this floor, up to and including the 22d floor, the space is occupied by bedrooms. On the 23d floor are a solarium, game rooms and lounges, while on the 24th, facing east and west, there are open roof gardens cooled in summer by lake breezes.
The architectural treatment of the interior is in the same style as the exterior, based on the best north Italian precedent. Passing through the entrance loggia with its vaulted ceiling, the main stair hall is entered through three doorways. The walls of this hall are rusticated up to the level of the second floor, where plain ashlar continues up to the spring line of the stone architraves around the arches. At the head of the double stairway are three arches, recalled on the opposite wall by a triple arched window motif, which looks out upon the main entrance loggia. The office lobby, which is also in the Italian style, has walls of stone laid in ashlar up to the cap mould, from which springs the low vaulted painted ceiling. The showcases, office screen, etc., are in rich dark brown walnut. Entering the main lounge, a new note is found in both treatment and style of architecture. It is a typical Tudor room, with high paneled oak wainscot, and window and door trim in stone. A carved cornice crowns the wainscot and supports an angular vaulted ceiling, inspired by that of the long gallery of Hever Castle, Kent. On the side wall is a massive stone fireplace, characteristic of this period, adding to a distinguished room.
The main dining room has rough stucco walls with stone door trim and a flat-vaulted ornamented ceiling divided into two parts by a heavy beam supported on piers at the center of the room, and richly painted in gold and colors in the Italian style. The main grill and its lobby on the entrance floor are also this style, with painted decorative beam ceilings, the lobby having stone walls, and the grill stucco walls, stone floors and window trim. The floors of the principal public rooms and halls are either of marble or cloisonne terrazzo in two or three colors, designed appropriately to the style of each. The solarium, game rooms and lounges on the 23d floor have trim, base and band courses of brick, stucco walls, and in the octagonal corners are vaulted ceilings resting on terra cotta cornices.
Early advertisements for the Allerton House Residences. By 1928 women were allowed to reside among the six floors dedicated to them. Lounges and reading rooms were separate from the men’s.
By 1929, the Allerton Hotel had been joined by other tall buildings along North Michigan Avenue, including (right) the Illinois Women’s Athletic Club and the Palmolive Building (from which this photograph appears to have been taken).
Early 1930s map emphasized the proximity of the Allerton Hotel to the residential districts of Streeterville, East Lake Shore Drive, and the Gold Coast.
Colorized View of the Allerton Hotel from the 840 N. Michigan Building in 1936.
The Tip Top Tap Lounge.
Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1934
The Allerton Company of Chicago, owner of the Allerton hotel, with debts of $3,000,000, foreclosure proceedings have been pending since Nov. 13, 1931, and a tax receivership request is before the state courts. The law firm of Shulman, Shulman & Abrams filed the suit on behalf of three creditors.
The Harding Hotel Company bought the reorganized Allerton Hotel in 1937 and about that time opened the Tip Top Tap.
Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1940
It seems the name suggested by a scout for a cocktail lounge atop a loop skyscraper, “Tip Top Tap,” already is in use. The Allerton club gas a Tip Top Tap; so has the (Milwaukee Road) streamliner Hiawatha. A still nicer name is suggested by Leona W. Mead.
“I think of such a cocktail lounge as up among the stars. I’d christen it ‘The Little Dipper,” said Miss Mead.
Tip Top Tap Lounge
Advertising Postcard & Brochure
1950 evening view displaying the upper-story signs for the “Allerton Hotel” and the “Tip- Top-Tap” (installed 1928 and 1946, respectively).
Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club was a long-run morning variety show on NBC Blue Network/ABC radio (and briefly on television) originating in Chicago, Illinois. Hosted by Don McNeill, the radio program ran from June 23, 1933, through December 27, 1968. McNeil’s 35½-year run as host remains the longest tenure for an emcee of a network entertainment program, surpassing Johnny Carson (29½ years) on The Tonight Show and Bob Barker (34½ years) on The Price Is Right, albeit split between radio and television, whereas the latter two were television only.
The Breakfast Club initially was broadcast from the NBC studios in the Merchandise Mart. In 1948, after 4,500 broadcasts from the Merchandise Mart, the program moved to the new ABC Civic Studio. It was also heard from other Chicago venues: the Terrace Casino (at the Morrison Hotel), the College Inn Porterhouse (at the Sherman House) and “the Tiptop Room of the Warwick Allerton Hotel on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile,” as well as tour broadcasts from other locations in the U.S. It remained a fixture on the ABC radio network (formerly the NBC Blue Network; it became known as ABC in 1945), maintaining its popularity for years and counting among its fans Supreme Court Associate Justice William O. Douglas.
The last broadcast of the Breakfast Club. The program was taped on December 20, 1968, at the Allerton Hotel and aired on December 27.