Chicago Club

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Chicago Club
(2011)
Chicago Club is located in Chicago
LocationChicago, Illinois
Coordinates41°52′36.94″N 87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°W / 41.8769278; -87.6246472Coordinates: 41°52′36.94″N 87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°W / 41.8769278; -87.6246472
Built1929
ArchitectAlfred Hoyt Granger and John Carlisle Bollenbacher
Architectural styleRomanesque
NRHP Reference #05000109 [1]
Added to NRHPFebruary 28, 2005
 
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Chicago Club
(2011)
Chicago Club is located in Chicago
LocationChicago, Illinois
Coordinates41°52′36.94″N 87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°W / 41.8769278; -87.6246472Coordinates: 41°52′36.94″N 87°37′28.73″W / 41.8769278°N 87.6246472°W / 41.8769278; -87.6246472
Built1929
ArchitectAlfred Hoyt Granger and John Carlisle Bollenbacher
Architectural styleRomanesque
NRHP Reference #05000109 [1]
Added to NRHPFebruary 28, 2005

The Chicago Club, founded in 1869, is a private social club located at 81 East Van Buren Street at Michigan Avenue in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois in the United States. Its membership has included many of Chicago's most prominent businessmen, politicians, and families.

History[edit]

The Burnham & Root-designed building, originally constructed for the Art Institute of Chicago, which became the Club's headquarters from 1893-c.1928

The Chicago Club began in 1869 with a resolution passed by a group of prominent citizens to create a club for 100 select men. The first clubhouse was a mansion on Michigan Avenue, but when this was destroyed by fire in 1871, the club moved to 279 Michigan Avenue for two years, and then to the Gregg House at 476 Wabash Avenue. In 1876 the club built its first permanent home on Monroe Street across from the Palmer House.[2]

In 1893, the club decided it needed larger quarters, and it purchased from the Art Institute of Chicago its former building on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street. This building has been put up in 1886-1887 and was designed by Burnham and Root to be the first home of the Institute, which moved across the street to its current location in 1892. This building remained the clubhouse until the 1920s, when it collapsed during remodelling.[2]

To replace it, Granger and Bollenbacher designed an eight-story granite building in the Romanesque Revival style, which was completed in 1929. During construction, Burnham & Root's triple-arched entrance was moved around the corner from Michigan Avenue to Van Buren Street, where it remains the main entrance to the building, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, and continues as the club's headquarters today.[2]

Privacy[edit]

The Chicago Club's by-laws specifically forbid working members of the press from entering the building. The one exception to this rule seems to have been in 1982 when a Chicago Tribune editor was able to obtain limited access.[3]

[T]he interior splendor of the Chicago Club is as private as a stately home in England, which it much resembles in décor. Indeed, few pedestrians passing by the eight-story red-granite clubhouse at Van Buren and Michigan even know what the place is. Club members – with such names as Field, Pullman, Lincoln, McCormick, and Blair – may have shaped Chicago history. But they also have developed a sense of privacy that politely but firmly excludes: 1) The entire world, except for the club's 1,200 carefully selected members; 2) Until recently, women; and 3) Reporters and photographers. "We'll fight to the death on that one," growls one club board member ...

How do you get in? Don't ask. How tough is it to join? In a word, very. Not only is there a long waiting list, but an applicant needs a sponsoring member, a seconder, lots of letters of support, and a good deal of patience. Most applicants test the waters first, so formal rejections are few. But not even the well-connected can breeze in ...

Historians might argue that the Chicago Club no longer has the power it wielded in the days when its "millionaires' table" was the lunchtime gathering place of Marshall Field, George Pullman, N. K. Fairbank, John Crerar, and a half-dozen others, each worth millions in the days when that sum meant something. "Everything to be done in Chicago was discussed by that group, and then word was passed out", as Stanley Field put it. ... But a visitor, seated on a lobby sofa, and those who sweep in for lunch, could hardly disagree with the recent pecking-order manual, "Who Runs Chicago?" Its conclusion: "The Chicago Club is the center of power in Chicago. It is mandatory for the city's biggest executives to join it, unless they want to be considered not-so-big executives.

University of California "Centrality Study"[edit]

G. William Domhoff, professor of sociology at the University of California, ran a network analysis study on the membership of think tanks, policy-planning groups, social clubs, trade associations, and opinion-shaping groups across the country for a research project he was doing on San Francisco's Bohemian Club. The Bohemian Club turned out to be the 11th "most connected" organization in the country. Only three social clubs ranked higher: New York's Links Club (3rd), San Francisco's Pacific Union (7th), and The Chicago Club (8th).

Name of OrganizationType of OrganizationCentrality Score (0-1)
1. Business CouncilPolicy-planning group.95
2. Committee for Economic DevelopmentPolicy-planning group.91
3. Links Club (NY)Social club.80
4. Conference BoardPolicy-planning group.77
5. Advertising CouncilOpinion-shaping group.73
6. Council on Foreign RelationsPolicy-planning group.68
7. Pacific Union (SF)Social club.67
8. Chicago Club (Chicago)Social club.65
9. Brookings InstitutionThink Tank.65
10. American AssemblyPolicy-planning group.65
11. Bohemian Club (SF)Social Club.62
12. Century Association (NY)Social club.48
13. California Club (LA)Social club.46
14. Foundation for American AgricultureThink tank.45
15. Detroit Club (Detroit)Social club.44
16. National Planning AssociationPolicy-planning group.36
17. Eagle Lake (Houston)Social club.33
18. National Municipal LeaguePolicy-planning.33
19. Somerset Club (Boston)Social club.32
20. Rancheros Vistadores (Santa Barbara)Social club.26

Source:[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

External links[edit]