Living with History

Category: What on Earth!?

Just found out recently that The Palmolive Building in Chicago was renovated from offices to condominiums.

The Palmolive Building's elevator friezes were designed and sculpted by Enrique Alferez...we had found a signed piece of Alferez's work (2 years before the Palmolive) in the house early on. He did the work for the Palmolive in 1929 while he was still a student of Lorado Taft.

And the council who re-designed the building had the good sense to preserve the best Art Deco the elevator friezes (which we are dying to see). The condominiums are breathtaking. Too fancy for us. But gorgeous.

Enrique Alferez lived at 6016 Ellis Avenue in 1927. Now, a building at that address no longer exists. Next door and across the street, the buildings of the University of Chicago campus have taken over the area.

And Molly Marine, Alferez's statue for the women of the Marine Corps, was just rebronzed and moved to Quantico.

Two more things: the Palmolive Building used to house the Playboy Offices and Club (news to us!) and it's beacon was turned on by Herbert Hoover in 1930 via a telegraph button from the White House. Called the Lindbergh beacon, after Lucky Lindbergh.

We have items in the house linking all of these. Together or separately, it still is pretty awe-inspiring to live among all of this history. Even if you still need a shower that works correctly.

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Ah, memories. When I was a young boy we lived on the west side of Chicago in the 30s & 40s. We could go out in the middle of Augusta Blvd. & watch the Lindy beacon revolve every 60 sec. At that time it was the principal navigation aid for aircraft & ships on Lake Michigan. There was no radar & even radio was in its' infancy. (I can remember my father fooling around with a crystal set). later on, when all the high rise condos were being built, the residents complained that the beacon was shining in their windows. So baffles were put up to block the light, mostly to the south of the Palmolive as I recall. Still later the beacon was turned off & dismantled. I understand that now there is talk of putting it back in operation. I have been in the Palmolive bldg. countless times, & you are correct it was the site of the Playboy club. I have been there a few times also. The original playboy club was on Oak St. west of Michigan ave. about 2 blocks from the Palmolive bldg. I was there also. Ah, to be young again. POPS"30" ps. I should also add, Charles Lindbergh was a LARGE national hero at that time. Later, he became an out cast for his isolationist leanings leading up to World War 2. Some even said he was a Nazi sympathyzer. Some years later his reputation was healed & he got a heroes burial in Hawaii. If you can believe it, he was buried standing up. frank.


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