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Chicago Daily
Defender Building

2400 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
(Philip Maher, 1936)


Located on the near South Side, this building was designed in 1936 by Prairie School architect Philip Maher as the headquarters of the Illinois Automobile Club. A Spanish Mission style was employed for the building. However, it was pared down and modified with Art Deco details, which can be seen in the ornament of the corner tower.



This exclusive club for early automobile owners was one of the last auto-related buildings constructed in Motor Row. It was built with an Olympic-size swimming pool in the basement, which was later filled in to make room for printing presses when the Chicago Defender newspaper acquired the building in the 1950s. A finely appointed lobby with plaster ornament and wood paneling remains intact.


The newspaper operated out of this, its third location, for nearly five decades before relocating to a new facility in January 2006. The building is protected as part of Chicago’s Motor Row Historic District, but has been vacant for a year and is now a target for vandals. The current owners’ intentions for the building are unknown.


  What Can I Do? Urge city officials to monitor the building closely, to assure it is secured, and to make all efforts possible to find a sensitive owner. Contact Alderman Madeline Haithcock, 2nd Ward, 1234 S. Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605 / fax (312) 913-1209 and Brian Goeken, Deputy Commissioner, Landmarks Division, City of Chicago Dept. of Planning, 33 N. LaSalle St., Room 1600, Chicago, IL 60602 / (312) 744-9140 (fax).






Landmarks Illinois
Suite 1315
53 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604 
tel. 312-922-1742 
fax 312-922-8112



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tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1971 and is the state's leading voice for historic preservation.