Monday, June 26, 2017

Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium. (1920-1939)

Designed in 1913 and constructed in 1920, the "Theatre on the Lake" was originally built as the Chicago Daily News Fresh Air Fund Sanitarium. It was preceded by two successive open-air "floating hospitals" in Lincoln Park that was built between the 1870s and the 1900s on piers on Lake Michigan. 

The breezes through these wooden shelters were believed to cure babies suffering from tuberculosis and other diseases. In 1914, the Chicago Daily News offered to fund a more permanent sanitarium building.
The Chicago Daily News "Fresh Air" Sanitarium.
Constructed in 1920 on a landfill area, the impressive Prairie style structure was one of several Lincoln Park buildings designed by Dwight H. Perkins of the firm Perkins, Fellows, and Hamilton. Perkins, an important Chicago social reformer and Prairie School architect designed several Lincoln Park buildings including Café Brauer, the Lion House in the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the North Pond Café.
Empty hammocks hanging from the ceiling and baby carriages parked against a wall inside the Chicago Daily News Sanitarium. 
Women reaching toward a child lying in a hammock inside the Chicago Daily News Sanitarium.
The Chicago Daily News Sanitarium building was constructed in brick with a steel arched pavilion with 250 basket baby cribs, nurseries, and rooms for older children. 
Nine female nurses holding babies, standing and sitting on a wall in front of the Chicago Daily News Sanitarium.
Free health services, milk and lunches were provided to more than 30,000 children each summer until 1939, when the sanitarium closed.
Children playing a circle game on a slope of grass with the Chicago Daily News Sanitarium in the background across Lake Shore Drive.
Major reconstruction of Lake Shore Drive led to the demolition of the building's front entrance. During World War II, the structure became an official recreation center for the United Service Organization (USO). 

The Chicago Park District converted the building to Theatre on the Lake in 1953, located at Fullerton Avenue and Lake Shore Drive, that offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. My grandfather, Walter Strong, managed the Daily News Fresh Air Sanitarium, as an employee at the Daily News, between 1906 and 1922. Due to his training as an engineer at the Lewis Institute in Chicago, he oversaw the design and construction of the new building. In 1926, he became the newspaper's publisher.


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