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Oldies But Goodies: Chicago Motor Club

Oldies But Goodies: Chicago Motor Club

Chicago Motor Club

This week's favorite historic design comes from Harley Ellis Devereaux corporate and commercial studio leader Michael Sullivan. Hidden on South Water Street (Wacker Place) between Michigan and Wabash, the Chicago Motor Club building may be the most prominent and accessible landmark that no one ever sees. (Like the lost city of Atlantis or any movie Meg Ryan has done since 1998.) Designed by Holabird and Root, this Art Deco gem opened in 1929 and embodies the spirit of that pre-crash era, Michael tells us. The enthusiastic embrace of the automobile by affluent Chicagoans of the time is reflected throughout, from the ornamented facade to the national roadmap mural that dominates the three-story lobby. The building sits vacant today--a time capsule that reminds us of a point in our history when driving was thought to be an exciting part of a luxurious lifestyle, Michael says.