Eight brewery tied-houses and one stable proposed for Chicago landmark designation have close ties to Wicker Park


"Belted globe" design originated for the Schlitz 1893 World's Fair Exhibit

Chicago Landmarks Commission proposed thematic Landmark Designation of eight former Schiltz Brewery tied-houses and one stable are closely tied to early residents of Wicker Park. Edward G. Uihlein, Chicago manager of operations for Schlitz Brewery lived in the 2000 block of Pierce Ave., beginning in 1872.

Among those involved with the brewing industry from the 1870s to prohibition in 1920, lived along Hoyne (Beer Baron Row) and on Pierce Avenues. Some of the families were John Buehler, Conrad Seipp and William Legner. In fact, two Uihlein daughters married two Seipp sons.


Horsehead is detail on the front of the former Schlitz stable

The brewing industry, like other industries, had its peaks and valleys. Chicago's Great Fire of 1871, among other things, dealt a blow to local beer production. Many of the malt houses operating along the River were wiped out except for Buehler's. Five of the twelve breweries and the City's water system were destroyed.  Milwaukee's Schlitz brewery, after The Fire, sent trainloads of beer and drinking water into the City in the spirit of good will.

With the rebound and growth of the industry came fierce competition. The government wanted more revenues. Social pressures to regulate/obliterate alcoholic consumption were fomenting.  Saloon owners increasingly requested breweries to assist in meeting the greater demands. in 1892, two large breweries combined efforts and funds to purchase existing saloons  and build new ones. Gradually the "tied-house" system, which originated in England a century earlier, became the new business model in Chicago.

That model put the brewer in complete control of the entire process of brewing the beer through selling it to the customer.  While many breweries were part of that movement, Uihlein created fifty-seven  such structures between 1897 and 1905.

Wicker Park site of Schlitz tied-house

Mac's American Pub in Wicker Park at 1801 W. Division

The brewing industry in Chicago, with its feeder businesses, were major employers from the mid 1800s until Congress' 18th amendment aimed at prohibiting the sale and transportation of intoxicating liquors. Ratified on Jan. 16, 1919, Prohibition went into effect on Jan. 16, 1920. It was repealed by the 21st amendment which took effect on  Dec. 5, 1933. In the meantime, people lost jobs, buildings were destroyed and fortunes lost.

In building the Schlitz tied-houses, Uihlein used many well known architectural firms of the day. They included Frommann & Jebsen , Charles Thisslew  as well as Klay and Lang.  Thisslew was the architect for several homes in the Wicker Park Chicago Landmark District along Pierce including 2121, 2134 and 2146; eight structures in the 2100 block of Caton; as well as in the Logan Square Chicago Landmark District. Frommann & Jebsen was the firm that designed Uihlein's home, 2041 W. Pierce. The entire complex covered several lots on Pierce. The home was razed in 1924.


Schuba's at Southport and Belmont

The eight proposed buildings are:

1944 N. Oakley Ave.
Date: 1898
Architect: Kley & Lang

1801 W. Division St.
Date: 1900-1901
Architect: Fritz Lang

958 W. 69th St.
Date: 1898
Architect: Unknown

3159 N. Southport Ave.
Date: 1903
Architect: Frommann & Jebsen


This example is at 5120 N. Broadway

5120 N. Broadway
Date: 1904; 1908
Architect: Charles Thisslew

2159 W. Belmont Ave.
Date: 1903-1904
Architect: Charles Thisslew

11400 S. Front Ave.
Date: 1906
Architect: Frommann & Jebsen (attributed)


The former stable has interesting horsehead detail

3456 S. Western Ave.
Date: 1899Architect: Kley & Lang

Former Schlitz Stable
11314 S. Front Ave.
Date: 1906
Architect: Frommann & Jebsen (attributed)

This designation by Chicago Landmarks Commission will make it possible to protect more of the forty-one remaining tied-house structures that tell the tales of life in Chicago starting in the mid 1800s as neighborhoods were developing. It also helps preserve the history of Chicago's brewing industry and gives another view of the impact Prohibition had locally.

Jonathan Fine, Executive Director, Preservation Chicago said, "This action has been long-awaited by Preservation Chicago and other preservationist who have been urging the city to take action on this thematic designation for the past eight years. The tragic 2002 demolition of an Orange Rated brew pub in West Pullman prompted interest in the history of these important neighborhood structures and their architects. At that time, it was learned that the architecture firm responsible for some of the best designs was Frommann and Jebsen."

Preservation Chicago's first historic save was the building at the northeast corner of State and Division which was a Frommann and Jebsen designed building.


Primary sources for this article are Preliminary Summary of Information submitted to the Commission on Chicago landmarks in October 2010 and Wicker Park from 1673 Thru 1929 and Walking Tour Guide.

Special  thanks: to Matt Crawford, Architectural Historian,Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning, Historic Preservation Division

*Photos courtesy of Commission on Chicago Landmarks, 2010


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