Cool Building Wednesday: The Yale Apartments

February 10, 2010

The Yale Apartments at 6565 S. Yale is a gem of Chicago architecture--a very fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque design tucked away on a side street in Englewood. Built in 1892, The Yale shows Englewood's‚  roots as a middle-class, gaslight era suburb.‚  At seven commanding stories, The Yale was taller than anything around it.‚  Apartments--ringing a light court and atrium--were accessible by an open cage elevator.‚  There were two other apartment buildings like it in city: the extant Brewster Apartments at 2800 N. Pine Grove, built in 1893, and the storied--please click on this link--Mecca Apartments at 33rd and State which were demolished in the early 1950s to build IIT's Crown Hall. The Yale might have been lost, too, if it weren't for the city and developer John Luce stepping in to save the then-dilapidated structure.‚  By 2003, the building was rehabbed and converted to affordable housing for senior citizens. It was also designated a city landmark. And I didn't get a chance to peek in to see what the rehabbed interior court looks like, but Heidi Sperry from the city's Landmarks Division did. Check out her photo of it here. Nice. In other news: a trio of homes related to Chicago African American literary figures likely will be granted full landmark status by the Chicago City Council today. The former houses of Black Boy author Richard Wright (4831 S. Vincennes); Raisin in the Sun playwright Lorraine Hansberry (6140 S. Rhodes); and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, (7458 S. Evans) will be before council members. And thanks to architecture blogger/critic Lynn Becker for the shout out today. And dammit, his blog is good too.