Demolition Imminent for Former Standard Brewery Tied House (Updated)

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Detail view of the Standard Brewery logo masonry ornament detail and keystones. Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

UPDATE 06/19/2015: 

On June 8th, a demolition permit was issued for the former Standard Brewery tied house at 3801 West Grand Avenue (via Chicago Cityscape). After its initial addition to the City of Chicago’s Demolition Delay List for historically-significant structures last spring, it was removed for unknown reasons, but then re-added on March 10th, 2015. Since that latest 90-day hold and review period, it sadly does not appear any plan to save or restore the building and its historic architectural elements was formed.

Excerpt from the City of Chicago’s Demolition Delay List entry for 3801 West Grand Avenue.

One group, known as the “Chicago Brewing Museum”, had apparently hoped to purchase and re-purpose the building as a place to memorialize and display artifacts of Chicago’s rich brewing tradition, but it also appears those plans and the funding needed to do so did not materialize. When I first wrote this article over a year ago, I wished that perhaps enough interest in its historic value would be generated, and the people of Chicago might be able to somehow save this piece of history, but it appears that stronger forces of redevelopment may have succeeded instead.

As noted in the original article below, for more information on the City of Chicago’s Historic Preservation Division and its policies, or to voice your concern regarding this historic building, please contact the City of Chicago at 312-744-3200 and provide building permit reference #100580654. You might also try contacting the apparent owner stated in the permit, Mata Construction, at 708-425-3614. As of this writing, the building is still intact and no preparation work has started for its demolition. We will keep you notified of further developments in this regrettable turn of events.



Observing the north facade of the yellow-brick, two-story building at 3801 West Grand Avenue, there is a curious but exquisite masonry ornament in remarkable condition above a second story center window. It’s circular, finely detailed, and depicts a three-dimensional eagle in full-spread, toughly grasping an arrow & embellished shield, and surrounded by stars and the words STANDARD BREWERY.

Standard Brewery was a pre-Prohibition era brewery located in Chicago’s Tri-Taylor neighborhood at 2500 West Roosevelt Road (Roosevelt and Campbell) and was in business from 1892 until 1923. But while the West Side has been transformed by waves of population change during the 90 years since then, this corner building remains as visual evidence of a unique place and time in Chicago history.

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Historic Chicago Subdivision in Decay: Samuel Eberly Gross Rowhouses of Fifth Avenue


2900 block of West Monroe Street, viewing northwest from an alley connecting Fifth Avenue and Monroe Street, April 2015. (Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns)

When renowned Chicago real estate developer Samuel Eberly Gross purchased swaths of land near present-day Fifth Avenue and Sacramento Boulevard, the area was not much of a neighborhood, but the undeveloped outskirts of western Chicago—very rural and surrounded by farms.

With the assistance of architect Lars Gustav Hallberg in 1887, he erected a series of upscale Queen Anne-style rowhouses to serve a growing, fashionable professional population working downtown; Chicago’s central business district was 3 miles to the east down Madison Street, and the recently established Garfield (then “Central”) Park was 4 blocks to the west at Homan Avenue (3400 West) for city residents’ enjoyment.

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The Wilbur and the 1879 “Philadelphia Plan” Street Renumbering

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

A few months ago columnist Gabriel X. Michael surveyed West Side houses with inscribed numbers that didn’t align with the current address. This was the result of the 1909 adoption of Edward Brennan’s plan which standardized addresses across Chicago.

Though this change affected most of the city, there was a large swath that escaped the 1909 change, including the house above.

A pre-1909 inscription on the entryway with an accurate address was quite curious.

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Art Deco Treasure Chest: Daily News Building

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dailynews (13)

Between Washington and Madison Streets on the river is the Chicago Daily News building, a grand edifice constructed in 1929 at the height of Chicago’s boom era.

Much like the company that commissioned it, the building has oscillated between grandeur and peril a few times in its 85 years of existence.

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