Romanticism to Ruin: Chicago’s Garrick Theatre

The Ham n’ Egger at The Garrick Theatre in Chicago, 1954

The destruction of the Garrick Theatre (originally called the Schiller Building), an iconic building by the renowned Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, cast a long shadow. It was razed in 1961 amidst a great protest that eventually organized itself into the historic preservation movement in Chicago and led to the city’s Landmark Ordinance of 1968.

The Garrick is deeply interwoven not only with the history of the city, but also with the life of yet another well-regarded Chicagoan, John Vinci. As a young architect, Vinci (born 1937) worked alongside the celebrated photographer Richard Nickel (1928–1972) to salvage the lavish ornamentation characteristic of Sullivan’s work. It was an experience that left a deep imprint. Several years ago, Vinci revisited the building, creating a series of drawings on display in “Romanticism to Ruin.” It was Vinci’s exploration that sparked the idea for the portion of the exhibition that traces the construction and ill-fated demise of the Garrick, a building that helped cement Chicago’s reputation as the originator of the skyscraper… read more >

Ham n’ Egger Chicago 1943 Vintage Men’s T-Shirt

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