Highly Successful “House with the Keyhole Windows” Preservation Circle Event Explored Past, Present and Future of the Gold Coast and Dearborn Parkway

Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson captivated an intimate gathering of Preservation Chicago’s “Preservation Circle” Members, with history and colorful stories regarding the history of Chicago, the Gold Coast, Dearborn Parkway and the 1325 N. Dearborn Parkway building, better known as the “House with the Keyhole Windows”.

The developer of the building, Lucius B. Mantonya, was a creative entrepreneur during Chicago’s boom years of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was a “PR man” before the phrase had been coined and frequently advertised his stores with unique sales pitches in the Chicago newspapers of his day. One of the early pioneers to follow Potter Palmer north of the river, Mantonya’s exotic three-flat on Dearborn Parkway designed by architect Curd H. Gottig and completed in 1887, is a rare example of Moorish Revival in Chicago and was designed to attract sophisticated and upscale residents. Among the more colorful tenants to have once called the “House with the Keyhole Windows” home were family members of the Ringling family of Ringling Brothers Circus fame.

Ward Miller discussed several of the existing Gold Coast Historic Landmark Districts and surprised many with fact that many of the glorious historic homes and buildings on State and Dearborn Parkways and adjacent streets have no landmark protection whatsoever. The commitment of neighbors and owners, and the ability to generate income from multi-unit buildings has helped to keep Dearborn Parkway largely intact and preserved, but with mounting development pressures, now is right time to take action regarding a formal Landmark District.

Preservation Chicago wishes to express a special thanks to Tim Samuelson, Mel and Janet Smith, Nancy Joyce, and Cathie Bond for making this wonderful event possible.

To find out more about the Preservation Circle and upcoming Preservation Circle events, please contact Ward Miller at 773-398-6432 or Cathie Bond at 773-334-8800.

Additional Reading

Historic Gold Coast duplex with original stained glass keyhole windows asks $699K, Jay Koziarz, Curbed Chicago, 2/22/17


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