History and Preservation home. Quadrangle Club.

Howard Van Doren Shaw in Hyde Park

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No less than 21 residences and a number of public or institutional spaces were created by prolific architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in the neighborhood, spanning the end of the 19th and nearly the first 30 years of the 20th century. The largest collection of Shaw's work can be viewed from the public way in Hyde Park and Kenwood. Shaw's eclectic style has been called the most rebellious of the conservative and most conservative of the radical. Some of Shaw's larger projects elsewhere include Lakeside Press and other buildings for R.R. Donnelley, parts of the Art Institute and the old Goodman Theater, and of course Market Square in Lake Forest. .

Quoting from the October, 1996, Volume 2, Number 3 of the Howard Van Doren Shaw Society News,

"in an article written in 1926 by Howard Shaw's wife, Frances Wells Shaw, she states that '...two Bedford stone Tudor houses, now vine covered, at 4843 and 4845 Lake Avenue... were built in keen anticipation for my sister, Mrs. Charles Atkinson. I think they are as livable as any he ever built, and you may see them across from the little Blackstone Library.'

And while these Lake Park Avenue houses were lost to urban renewal and high-rise development, virtually none of his local works have been torn down, so sturdy, well-designed and eye-friendly they are.

Yet, the works here are in an amazing variety of styles. The 4 of 5 1890s representative of his beginning style still stand on Blackstone (then Washington ) Avenue, also near the Library. But different from these is his 1897 foray in to Woodlawn, the Ina Robertson house (Georgian) at 6042 S. Kimbark. Descriptions,in the Shaw Society publication, of styles used include English and Tudor Gothic, Modified Federal, Voyseyesque, Federal, Venetian Gothic, Tudor, Georgian, and Eclectic Mixture! Of course this was partly due to the varying tastes of his well-to-do and highly educated clients.

Some of Shaw's better-known clients included James Henry Breasted, the famous Egyptologist, before he moved to Downers Grove, Thomas Edward Wilson, Charles Starkweather, Morris S. Rosenwald, R. Norton, Mrs. W. D. Jackman, Mrs. William Rainey Harper, Arthur J. Mason, Edgar Johnson Goodspeed, Henry Hoyt and Bertrand Hoyt Hilton, Albert F. Treich, Henry Thompson.

Concentration of residences is mainly along Woodlawn Avenue (and Greenwood) between 48th and 50th; the Lake Park-Blackstone-Dorchester area from north of 48th to 50th; and University-Woodlawn-Kimbark from 55th to 58th east of the University.

Interesting examples

Larger structures by Shaw


Map and key listing of Shaw structures in the area (from the Shaw Society publication)

Key below. Howard Van Doren Shaw Society. For 1996 tour.

Map-Shaw structures in Hyde Park and Kenwood. Shaw Society

  1. 5737 S. University. George Edgar Vincent house. c. 1897. English Gothic
  2. 2255 E. 57th Street. Quadrangle Club. c. 1920. Tudor Gothic
  3. 5655 S. University. University Church-Disciples of Christ. c. 1921. English Gothic
  4. 5615 S. University. James Henry Breasted. c. 1904. Modified Federal
  5. 5533 S. University. Oskar Bolza. c. 1904. Voyseyesque
  6. 4911 S. Greenwood. Cornelia McLaury. c. 1896. Federal
  7. 4900 S. Greenwood. Henry Veeder. c. 1896. Modified Federal
  8. 4752-4756 S. Dorchester. J.B. Keogh one story school building (now Ancona School). c. 1902.
  9. 4917-25 S. Blackstone (then Washington Ave.) set of 5 in a row, mostly for the architect's family, in a two-year period around 1896.
    4925 S. Blackstone. Venetian Gothic
    4923 S. Blackstone. Tudor
    4919 S. Blackstone. Modified Georgian and Gothic
    4917 S. Blackstone. Modified Federal
    49?? S. Blackstone. Georgian- razed for addition to Blackstone Library
  10. 4815 S. Woodlawn. Thomas Edward Wilson. c 1910. Tudor (largest and most detailed)
  11. 4830 S. Woodlawn. James H. Douglas. c. 1907. Georgian
  12. 4901 S. Woodlawn. Charles Starkweather. c. 1902. Modified Federal
  13. 4924 S. Woodlawn. Morris S. Rosenwald. c. 1903. Modified Federal
  14. 4930 S. Woodlawn. R. Norton. c. 1925. Georgian. Western dining room wing, well after initial construction.
  15. 5620 S. Kimbark. M.A. Herske. c1919. Georgian (outstanding example of use of English Country/ Georgian)
  16. 5714 S. Kimbark. W.S. Jackman. c. 1903. Modified Georgian
  17. 5730 S. Kimbark. Mrs. W.D. Jackman. Voyseyesque
  18. 5744 S. Kimbark. Charles Scribner Eaton. c. 1907. Voyseyesue
  19. 5728 S. Woodlawn. Mrs. William Rainey Harper. c. 1909. Tudor
  20. 5715 S. Woodlawn. Arthur J. Mason. c. 1904. Eclectic mix of Georgian and Art Nouveau
  21. 5706 S. Woodlawn. Edgar Johnson Goodspeed. c. 1906. Federal
  22. 5638 S. Woodlawn. Henry Hoyt Hilton. c. 1910. Federal
  23. 5615 S. Woodlawn. Bertram Hoyt Hilton. c. 1910. Tudor
  24. 5555 S. Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, later McCormick Seminary, later U of C Alumni Center. c. 1922. Tudor
  25. 5539 S. Woodlawn. Albert F. Streich. c. 1905. Modified Tudor
  26. 5533 S. Hyde Park Blvd. Henry Thompson. c. 1895. Tudor
  27. 956-960 E. 58th Street. 2nd Quadrangle Club. c. 1898. Georgian. Razed, c. 1920?
  28. Midway Plaisance and Cottage Grove. Fountain of Time (Lorado Taft) foundation and basin. c. 1922
  29. 6042 S. Kimbark. Mrs. Ina Robertson. c. 1897. Georgian (outstanding early)


From Len Albright's article in Hyde Park Herald, February 2, 2004. Followed by excerpts from March 2004 Chicago Chronicle article.

Howard Van Doren Shaw, a prolific architect whose work contributed to Chicago's distinguished reputation in early twentieth century architecture, designed the building, which opened its doors in December of 1921. Shaw is perhaps best known for his residential design, including twenty-one homes in the Hyde Park and Kenwood areas, and a number of vacation homes in Lake Forest, a summer retreat for many of Hyde Park's early residents. Shaw, however, did not limit himself to residential design alone. His corpus of work includes McClintock Court of the Art Institute of Chicago, the original Goodman Theatre, and Market Square in Lake Forest, the nation's first outdoor shopping center. The University of Chicago Alumni House, which Shaw designed for the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 1922, stand on the corner of 56th Street and Woodlawn Avenue.

Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Shaw returned to the Midwest after attending Yale and M.I.T and traveling abroad. Many critics cite his time in Europe as the foundation of his unique take on the Beaux Arts and Arts and Crafts movements that dominated residential design at the urn of the century. A1926 Architectural Record article describes Shaw's aesthetic choice and design elements as "the most rebellious of the conservatives and the most conservative of the rebels."

As the ideas of the Garden City and City Beautiful movements across the Atlantic to the United States in the early twentieth century, Shaw was commissioned to design a workers' village of one hundred and ninety acres in northwest Indiana. Construction was halted by the first World War, but not before four of the planned 32 sections of the community were built, which now stand as the Marktown Historic District. Shaw's eclectic visions may in part be attributed to his client base, which consisted largely of Gilded Age industrialists nd Chicago's rising mercantile and social elite.

The plan for the Quadrangle Club is that of an English country house, with generous southern exposure offering views of a garden and tennis courts. Designer Todd Schwebel, who works nationally on historic houses, is a director of the club and the president of the Howard Van Doren Shaw Society. He said, "the design invites natural light into the interior, creating a sense of warmth and intimacy on the building's protected rear side. " Its front faces the University Church of the Disciples of Christ, which was designed by Shaw in 1923. The club's architectural style acts as an aesthetic bridge between the campus and surrounding community. The design blends Gothic Tudor highlights in Indiana limestone, the construction material of the University's Collegiate Gothic buildings, with the red brick characteristic of many of Hyde Park' homes. Given the nature of the Quadrangle Club's charter which extends membership not only to University of Chicago faculty but also local residents, Shaw's aesthetic vision for the club matches its unifying social role.


Schwebel said the clubhouse building is "a superb example of Shaw's design at its best. And what is particularly exciting is that it is almost entirely intact, down to the interior masonry and architectural details. It's an extraordinarily important preservation of his work.

"Shaw modeled the building," Schwebel explained, "after an English country house, with large, airy spaces for dining, play, sitting and sleeping, and with the focus on its southern exposure." Shaw intended the entire building to be flooded with as much light as possible so the open space created by its tennis courts was an integral part of his design. Schwebel noted that even the dormered sleeping rooms on the third floor receive abundant daytime light. The exterior red brick, the slate roof and other features were chosen to create a subtle, pleasing transition between the neo-Gothic quadrangle across the street and its residential neighbors.

Shaw also designed notable Chicago buildings, including the Lakeside Press Building, the Fourth Presbyterian Church and the Goodman Memorial Theatre, as well as Market Square in Lake Forest.

Shaw had been chosen to restore an earlier clubhouse after it was damaged by fire. That building, which was located where the Oriental Institute now stands, was moved two blocks west and became Ingleside Hall, which still stands. "That was only one reason to build the new clubhouse," Schwebel said. "In 1922, he was at the height of his career, and he was well known to the leading figures of the city at the time, many of whom were his friends."