Fire-Breathing Listing

1516 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60610


1516 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60610

It’s all in the details.

1516 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60610

Behold! This home has a ceiling!

1516 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60610

I have to know though: Do all the rad portrait paintings and the giant green table and chair set come with the $17 million price tag? Because if not, just forget it.

About the Author

Marty E.
Naked Loon Editor-in-Chief

18 Comments on "Fire-Breathing Listing"

  1. Was this a lawyer’s house? Because it looks like a lawyer lived here. Have to go to court? This is what you pay for.

    Otherwise, it has that old money feel to it. I like that it has a library, but it seems kind of cold. How can you get comfy in that library enough to read a good book?

    Also, that staircase is pretty cool. However, the problem is that you have to have a pretty skinny butt to slide down that hand rail. If I pay $17M, I want a decent banister on my staircase.

  2. @Frodo: It looks to me more like it used to be part of a college, or perhaps a church association, rather than a lawyer’s home. The portraits seem to be of people in higher education robes, though they might be higher level religious robes. Despite the “Fellowship Room” sign above the door in Pic 10, I’m going with the former; the building is sandwiched between the International Museum of Surgical Science and the International College of Surgeons. Why something so prestigious would be selling the center portion of their compound is something I’d like to know.

    Also, just the other side of the museum is the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, which is saying something given Chicago has traditionally been said to have the largest single population of Poles outside of Warsaw. Heady neighborhood, indeed. And what’s with the stunning mansion just around the corner? Its grounds take up the whole block between E. North Blvd, Wooden Alley, N. Astor and N. State streets, fronting onto the south end of Lincoln Park. Not only is the home huge, just its gatehouse looks to be larger than the 12K sqft listing building! There’s nary a sign anywhere from street view, so I can only assume it’s still a private residence. (O_o)

    As for the listing, I was a little leery at the words “a once in a lifetime restoration of a Historic Chicago mansion.” But the interiors were a pleasant surprise. The place looks to be in quite good shape, though the decor is dated. Assorted leather chairs in particular (Pics 3, 4, 9, and 13) look to date from the 1930s or ’40s. More images of kitchens and bathrooms would help with an assessment of whether restoration is indeed warranted.

    Ya sure can’t go wrong with the location and scenery, though! A bit disturbing they still feel the need for bars on the first floor doors and windows, but I guess it’s better safe than sorry.

  3. The mansion that is listed is part of the compound of the International College of Surgeons — you can tell by the signs that are currently affixed to it. They are identical to the signs that are on the museum. My guess is that the mansion that is listed was used as a gathering place/conference center and that it just isn’t used much any more, hence the sale.

    I can’t imagine that anyone would want to buy this place as a private residence, although I’m sure not everyone shares my views of what would make a home desirable. But, if you’ve got enough money to buy a $17 million place in Chicago, I’d think you’d want something with a bit more privacy and a bit more residential atmosphere. I mean, you’re bound to get people trying to walk into your house, thinking it’s part of the museum or something.

    As for the stunning mansion around the corner — if you look at the North Blvd. side, there is a yellow & white flag on the right side of the porte cochere. That’s the Vatican flag and the mansion is the home of the Archbishop of Chicago.

  4. @MsWildhack: Hiya Ms. Wildhack! Thanks so much for the info on both structures. I can see your point about the listing being mistaken for a public building, something you really would not want to cope with after plunking down so much money. It’s too bad, because just around the corner are a few rather nice residential blocks. I’m also not sure about facing the lakefront freeway (oddly enough, it has the same name as the street the listing is on – N. Lake Shore Drive, but the freeway is also known as US-41). That’s a heavily used route and I’m betting not all the road noise is lost over the lake.

    You’d think the best thing to do is to sell the listing as a potential business locale or, even better, for multiple business suites or high-end condos. The more units the more money with which to set up perimeter security, maybe even have a guard house. Another option – new location for a consulate looking to relocate. The one real drawback that I can see is a lack of parking. A coach house is mentioned; perhaps it might be replaced with a small parking structure.

    That was a great catch on the Archbishop’s residence! Interesting to learn also that it’s always served that function. It explains the size and quality design, as well as the location. Did you recognize the flag from personal experience or did you do some research? BTW, the Polish consulate, just around the corner, must have been on Cloud 9 when John Paul II came to visit in 1979!

  5. It’s not a case of the freeway & the street the listing is on having the same name — technically, it’s all the same street. And, yeah. It’s busy and it’s noisy and it’s another big minus for this place as a $17 million residence. You’re at the lakefront but you can’t just cross the road and be in the park — you have to go 2 blocks north to the pedestrian underpass.

    As for the Archbishop’s mansion — I recognized the Vatican flag and figured that’s probably what it was, as I was aware that the AB of Chicago’s residence was the subject of controversy (re: the appropriateness of a priest living in such a lavish mansion). So, a quick Google confirmed it.

    In the early 80s, I was good friends with a guy from Chicago whose parents were Polish immigrants. JP II’s visit was a VERY big deal for them. :-)

  6. @MsWildhack: I lived in the Chicago ‘burbs from age 3 to 11. I vividly remember spending time downtown at the museums and parks, which is why I knew about the traffic on Lakeshore Drive. Traffic in general was why my dad used the double-decker commuter trains to get to work in The Loop.

    I can see the point of the AB controversy. Lavishness not just for a single man but for anyone, given how much the Church is supposed to be focused on poverty. Parts of it is, others not so much.

    Funny about Polish (and other immigrants) in Chicago… By the time we moved to the KC ‘burbs I could pronounce all sorts of names regardless of “weird” spellings. But in Kansas even the teachers struggled with anything that wasn’t run-of-the-mill English. There’ve always been lots of German immigrants on the Plains but they couldn’t seem to handle even those… including both my first and maiden names, despite their being quite common. These days, the one good thing about hardly anyone getting my married name right the first time is that it’s way easy to identify callers trying to sell stuff. :D

  7. One problem with non-English names in the US is that even the families themselves seem to change the pronunciation over time. I’ve studied five languages and have a decent grasp on the rules of pronunciation for several other European languages, so when confronted with most European surnames, I can usually give a fair approximation of the “correct” pronunciation. But many times I’ve pronounced names the European way only to be looked at like I’m a freak and told, “It’s wrong pronunciation.”

  8. Ergh. Formatting fail. Meant to put brackets around “wrong pronunciation”.

  9. @MsWildhack: Between having to cope with being immigrants that didn’t speak the language, then having kids and grandkids who’d never been to the Old Country, it’s not surprising people just gave in to a change in pronunciation. One branch of my husband’s family purposefully chose to go with the pronunciation most people use, even though it sounds very cumbersome and just weird to anyone familiar with basic German pronunciation rules.

    One name from my mom’s family sorta did the opposite. They were from central Europe, so ethnically German but their name was French. Of course Americans couldn’t cope with the French spelling, so they anglicized it. Thankfully it wasn’t a name that non-French routinely destroy, that is, when they can even come close to saying it correctly. Not sure what those folks do. I mean, if it’s unpronounceable there’s not even any point changing the spelling. Just pick something that sounds similar and get on with life.

    I’ve heard, though, that the old story about Ellis Island (and other immigration) officials routinely anglicizing spellings is not accurate. It was usually the family that did that. Sometimes it was for ease, but it could also be a means to downplay, or even hide, their ethnicity or religion.

    Sorry about the delay in responding. I don’t think I got an email alert that you’d posted. Or… it might have gotten tossed with the unbelievable avalanche of Cyber Monday ads. (O_o) Oh, and good on you, studying five languages!

  10. :-( Is anybody home?

  11. MsWildHack, I was wondering that also. I thought emerald would be around

  12. Seems a shame if it dies. I submitted something a month or so ago, though I can’t honestly remember what it was. In the meantime, here’s a little something to entertain yourself with:

  13. @MsWildhack: So sad to see it lie fallow. It’s like an empty house. :’-(

  14. Yes. And so well-cared for. I mean, that fantastic circular sectional looks brand new.

  15. @MsWildhack: Hi Guys. I haven’t checked here in a while. It just got too depressing to see that Marty wasn’t posting anymore. I can still create new material, but he’s the only one who has “the keys” to post them on the front page. Sigh.

    Also, I did not receive email alerts to any of the last few messages in late January. I thought no one had been here, which was really depressing. Wonder what that’s about?

    Further, my preferred go-to source for content, Redfin, did away with their Collections feature. You now have to choose a location and just go through whatever’s listed for it. No more easy grabs from someone’s “Weird Stuff” or “Yikes!” files. I kinda wonder if that’s part of why Marty stopped posting – the search factor really increased.

    Are there any other fun websites any of you hang out at? Somewhere we can get our *snark* and/or “Awesome!” on?

    BTW, I would KILL for that green sofa in the Chicago apartment. Well, maybe not the sofa, but absolutely the fabric. Gorgeous!!

  16. Hi Emerald…ever thought of starting ur own site? I can help you if you want. You did a great job helping Marty…….you can do this type thing on WordPress. Com and I can help you

  17. @Emerald63: I think the email alerts were broken for a time. So I was just checking back manually for a couple of weeks after posting a comment. However, I just had two alerts show up yesterday from comments made in the past few months, so maybe its working again?


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