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Museum-Quality Original Salvaged Chicago 1929 Walter S. Ahlschlager-Designed Cast Bronze Medinah Athletic Club Staircase Baluster

$1800 $ 99
SKU : es-710611995 Category : Moldings & Trim

Museum quality interior ornamental double-sided cast bronze Art Deco staircase
baluster removed from the former Medinah athletic club designed by architect
Walter s. Ahlschlager in 1929. The exquisite detailing is found on both sides
of the grille. The Medinah athletic club in Chicago was commissioned by the
shrine organization and designed by architect Walter w. Ahlschlager. The
cornerstone of the Medinah athletic club was laid on November 5, 1928. In a
ceremony held that day, a copper box was placed within the cornerstone to
commemorate the occasion. Filled with records of their organization,
photographs of its members, a copy of the Chicago tribune announcing the
proposal of the building, coins, and other historic data, this time capsule
remains sealed within the hotels limestone exterior. The Medinah athletic club
building was intended to combine elements of many architectural styles. at the
eighth floor, its Indiana limestone facade was decorated by three large relief
carvings in ancient Assyrian style. Each frieze depicted a different scene in
the order of constructing a building, with contribution on the South wall,
wisdom represented on the west wall and consecration on the north. According to
an article in the Chicago tribune from Sept 16, 1928 entitled building art
inspires panels:the friezes were designed by George Unger, in collaboration
with Walter Ahlschlager, and carved by Leon Hermant. The figures are costumed
in the period of the building, which is that of an old fortress in mesopotamia
in xerxes time, about 5th century BC. The figures in all three scenes are said
to be modeled after the faces of club members at the time of its design. Three
sumerian warriors were also carved into the facade at the twelfth floor
setback, directly above the Michigan avenue entrance, and remain visible today.
The exotic gold dome, which is Moorish in influence, originated as part of a
decorative docking port for dirigibles - a notion conceived before the
Hindenburg disaster in 1937. Years later, the building would lose several feet
with the dismantling of an ornamental canopy on the small turret north of the
dome. This chimney-like structure was originally intended to assist in the
docking of these air ships, but it was never put into use. inside the dome, a
glass cupola and spiral iron staircase resembling the top of a lighthouse led
down to the hotels upper elevator landing.In the tower beneath the great dome,
the club featured a miniature golf course on the twenty-third floor, complete
with water hazards and a wandering brook; also a shooting range, billiards
hall, running track, gymnasium, archery range, bowling alley, two story boxing
arena, and a junior Olympic size swimming pool - all this in addition to the
ballrooms, meeting rooms, and 440 guest rooms which were available for the
exclusive use of the clubs 3,500 members and their guests. At the time, the
pool was one of the highest indoor pools in the world, and its fourteenth floor
location was heralded as a grand feat of engineering. Today it is commonly
referred to as the Johnny Weismuller pool, after the famous Olympic athlete and
actor who trained in it. Its blue Spanish majolica tiles and terra-cotta
fountain of Neptune on its east wall remain virtually unchanged today. The
elegant grand ballroom, a two story, one hundred foot elliptical space, was
decorated with ornaments in Egyptian, Assyrian, and Greek styles and was
surrounded by a horseshoe shaped mezzanine. In its center hung a 12,000 pound
baccarat crystal chandelier, the largest in North America. The somewhat more
masculine King Arthur court was built to function as the Mens smoking lounge,
and featured heavy timbering, stained glass, and a mural depicting the stories
of King Arthur and Parsifal..four years after the wall street crash of 1929 the
shrine organization filed for bankruptcy protection. In the following year they
lost control of the building, and in the decade after, the building went
through various incarnations, including a brief stint as residential
apartments. The panel was removed during the installation of a new street front
canopy. Measures 19 1/4 x 10 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches. Only one available for sale.

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Brand UrbanRemainsRack