It’s hard to believe that I used to live in this area, it feels like a million years ago yet when I was wandering around here everything was still very familiar and I kinda missed it. A little piece of calm in the bustling city. It’s such a beautiful area, only 6 blocks long and three deep, but why wouldn’t it be given it’s the most expensive neighborhood in the city and one of the most expensive in the country.
Now, I didn’t live in one of these beautifully historic mansions…I slowly moved myself into my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) apartment to escape my dismal garden apartment in Boystown. I love Boystown but that apartment was another story! We lived in a small, outdated one bedroom apartment on Dearborn, but in your 20’s living this close to downtown, work, Lincoln Park and the lakefront was fantastic regardless of what the apartment looked like! Sometimes I miss those summer afternoons and nights on that building’s rooftop.
So, after a walk along Lake Shore Drive (LSD) I headed south down Astor Street, arguably one of the most beautiful in the city, filled with impeccable, historic mansions. At the north end, situated across the street from the south end of Lincoln Park, is the Roman Catholic Archbishop’s home. If this isn’t the biggest home in Chicago on the largest piece of land I’d like to know what is because this place is enormous!
The next suggested stop on this card is the James Charnley House…well, once again I’ve completely missed this place despite looking up images before heading out and knowing the address(!), not to mention I’ve walked by this place countless times. I really am not a fan of this house, Frank Lloyd Wright fans will probably shame me but I really don’t like his architecture a whole lot. Appreciate it, sure, but it just doesn’t appeal to me and this house in particular I find rather uninspiring. Anyway, here’s a link to some images if you’re interested in seeing it, maybe one of these days I’ll manage to notice it…
However, I did stop by the Patterson McCormick Mansion which originally belonged to Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. of the famous McCormick family. It was designed by Stanford White with an addition by David Adler. Today it’s been converted to condos, one of which was previously owned by Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.
The next photographic stop was the William O. Goodman House, another beauty! The Goodman Theater, bearing his name, was built because of a large donation by him.
At the south end of the Gold Coast on Goethe between Astor & State is the PUBLIC Chicago Hotel which used to be the Omni Ambassador East Hotel. Both the original Omni and the renovated Public are home to the infamous Pump Room, famous for its many famous guests including Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, David Bowie, Paul Newman, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Steinbeck, Ronald Reagan, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford and Mick Jagger to name just a few. I asked to photograph the interior but was not allowed to…disappointing because it’s gorgeous. And the outside was under construction so no interesting images from me:(
I turned the corner and headed north up State Street, another beautiful street full of history. The most famous home is probably the original Playboy Mansion from the days when Mr. Hugh Hefner had Playboy’s headquarters here in Chicago. I can only imagine the debauchery when he resided here! In 1974 Hugh donated his residence to the Art Institute of Chicago which were student dorms for the next 20 years. Today there are high end condos within the property.
The rest of the images are just some of the other beautiful homes within the Gold Coast.