Friday, May 4, 2018

The Chicago Club, Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, the original Art Institute building.

The Chicago Club, 404 South Michigan Avenue at Van Buren Street. This Burnham and Root building was built in 1886-1887. The original tenant was the Art Institute.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1890
In 1893, the Chicago Club decided it needed larger quarters, and it purchased from the Art Institute of Chicago its former building on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. 

The Chicago Club was organized in 1869 as an outgrowth of the old Dearborn Club, which was located on Michigan Avenue near Jackson Street. The first club house of the Chicago Club was situated at the corner of Wabash Avenue and Eldridge Court. It was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire on 1871The present building was erected shortly afterward. 
Chicago Club, 1906
The structure is not as magnificent as some of the club buildings erected more recently, but the interior is beautifully and tastefully arranged. There is more real elegance about it than, perhaps, may be found in any of the others, although it is of an unostentatious character. The dining rooms and kitchens are at the top floor of the building. The Club is composed generally of the merchants and leading professional men of the city, and was very, very exclusive.
Chicago Club stairway around 1892.
Comfort and congeniality more than crowds and confusion are desired. The admission fee was $300 ($5,600 today), the annual dues was $80 ($1,500 today), payable semi-annually. Membership limited to 450 residents and 150 non-residents.

This building remained the clubhouse until 1929, when it collapsed during remodelling.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


  1. The current building has an address of 81 E VanBuren. Curious why and when it was changed from the original 404 S Michigan Ave address?

  2. The main entrance was changed to the Van Buren side of the building.


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