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).