“Today, staring up at the massive, four-story red brick condo building at the northeast corner of Adams and Aberdeen streets, you would never know that it was once the site of the “finest house west of New York.”
“The house boasted a black walnut entryway arch hand-carved by Bavarian artists and a breathtaking Carrara marble mantle. It had its own Gothic-Moorish-style conservatory filled with tropical plants and an elegant fountain in the garden where water flowed with tranquility. Famous Austrian painters created stunning works directly on the walls.
“It was a feast for the eyes and a dazzling display of wealth. And it held many secrets.
“Things at the Peter Schuttler homestead, 1047 W. Adams St., weren’t always as they seemed. Despite the Schuttlers’ aristocratic status among Chicago’s elite inner circle of business and industry magnates, the family’s picturesque life — outwardly symbolized by their extravagant mansion — would become shrouded in darkness and repeated tragedy caused by what reports of the time speculated as an “ancient curse.”
“Besieged by untimely deaths, mental illness and a house so haunted it caused riots in the quiet late-1800s streets, the tale of the Schuttler family and their mansion is one of Chicago’s most tragic and mysterious.
“Schuttler died in the nearly finished house on Jan. 16, 1865 after being stricken with an illness for five days. It was a massive loss for the family and for the city, who regarded him as one of the great businessmen of the time. Before his death, Schuttler was one of only three Chicagoans who had to pay income tax for making over $100,000.
“Designed by J.M. Van Osdel, the Italianate Victorian villa was inspired in part by ex.-Gov. Joel Matteson’s mansion in Springfield. It showcased the finest in everything: expensive Philadelphia brick, hand-chiseled ornamentation, a grand staircase formed from pure white marble and a ballroom with polished cedar floors.
“The dining room, lit by colorful cathedral stained glass windows, was covered in mahogany paneling and carved figures that ‘give the room an appearance of stately grandeur such as may be seen in the ancient castles of the royalty of Europe,’ Dougherty wrote.
“Its cost, land and all, reached half a million by the project’s end — an estimated $1.2 billion today. (Rice, Block Club Chicago, 10/23/23)
The Fall Of The House Of Schuttler: A Haunted West Side Mansion, A Family Curse And A Chicago Legacy; Considered the epitome of Gilded Age opulence, the Schuttler family home was once the “finest in the city.” Then came the tragedies — and the hauntings, Linze Rice, Block Club Chicago, 10/23/23