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Another Cultural Artifact Lost

A major fire in the South Loop appears to have claimed yet another relic of a bygone era. The Wirt Dexter Building at 630 S. Wabash was the long-time home of George Diamond's Steakhouse, and also an early commission of legendary architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

The Dexter Building once housed George Diamond's Steakhouse, a classic celebrity-watching site in the great age of Chicago nightlife in the 1950s and 1960s. Outliving that era, its trademark red carpeting was threadbare when the restaurant closed a few years ago. Fire officials said the building was not occupied at the time.

The Dexter Building was a less celebrated design of Sullivan and his partner, Dankmar Adler. A six-story commercial structure, it was built in 1887 as a furniture factory and showroom. But the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has called it "an irreplaceable link in the chain of work of one of the nation's most important architectural partnerships."

Quite sad. (Full Tribune story here. Photos above were borrowed from the Tribune.)

Update: Lynn Becker has further commentary and photos here.

October 25, 2006 in Chicago Observations | Permalink