Chicago Icons: The Fine Arts of SubCity by Candida Alvarez

Candida AlVAREZ, Newcity Art, February 10, 2023

Solon Spencer Beman was a renowned nineteenth-century architect of the Pullman Company factory and adjoining planned community. He was hired in 1885 to design a steel-frame eight-story factory and display showroom by the Studebaker Brothers Carriage Company of Fort Wayne, Indiana. This architectural gem at 410 South Michigan Avenue was completed in 1887, with east-facing oversized glass windows filling the lower floors with light and spectacular views that reached from Grant Park to Lake Michigan. By 1895, the thriving business moved to a ten-story building, also designed by Beman, at 623 South Wabash Avenue (which would be acquired by Columbia College Chicago in 1983).


By 1898, renovations to the building on Michigan Avenue, renamed the Fine Arts Building, turned it into a ten-story building complete with a top floor space, dubbed Curtiss Hall after its designer, Charles C. Curtiss. The tenth floor has painted murals that face the elevator lobby. The building also now featured music studios that were soundproofed, craft studios with sinks and general use offices. The ground floor was transformed into The Studebaker Theater alongside a music hall that is again in use today.


Continue Reading Here