Our next stop of Open House Chicago was the Lawrence House.
A Building in Uptown
It was raining when we showed up. It had been all day, but now it was coming down heavy. Across the street from the chic new apartment building was a strip mall and half a block down was a vacant and crumbling building. On the corner, a JJ Peppers liquor shop and a check cashing place.
Uptown as a neighborhood is a mixed bag. It’s home to iconic parts of Old Chicago like The Green Mill jazz club and the Aragon Ballroom. But it has also fallen into disrepair over the past 50 years becoming a hotspot for gang violence and street crime. Things are slowly on the upswing though, and the contrasting imagery of a recently renovated building next to dilapidated stores is perfect metaphor for the state of the neighborhood.
The Lawrence House was built in the late 1920s, and it was a hotel until it was remodeled into apartments in 2015. It embodies the art deco styling of the era and the remodeling was faithful to the source material.
When we walked in, the vaulted ceilings greeted us in the lobby.
On the ground floor, there is retail space including a Heritage Outpost coffee shop and a bar called Larry’s (which was closed).
As part of the tour, we went downstairs to see the pool area.
They kept much of the original tile work and touches that embraced the building’s old history like this life preserver…
And this no fun sign.
Outside of these things, there wasn’t much else to see. It’s a very nice building and it’s historically rich. And the architecture was great.
Before I left, I got a shot in the mirror with the closed Larry’s Bar in the background.