About This Item
museum-quality late 19th century american ornamental salmon-colored lazed terra cotta frieze panel salvaged from the non-extant y.w.c.a. building entrance surround during the winter of 2009. the simple, yet elegant panel features a meander or greek fret design motif with a grooved line field pattern. the unusually colored terra cotta block has been reconfigured by removing the hollow cavities on the backside to significantly reduce the overall weight and make it more “wall-friendly” and/or manageable for display purposes. the block is attributed to notable terra cotta fabricator northwestern terra cotta company of chicago. surface wear, allover crazing and residual paint evident. the seven-story red brick and terra cotta ywca hotel (located at 830 south michigan avenue) was designed by chicago architect john m. van osdel ii, nephew of prominent chicago architect john mills van osdel ii. construction of the property was completed in 1895. the late19th century hotel is one of the oldest ywca buildings in the country, and was the first to be built in the city of chicago. the ywca originally used to house working women newly arriving in the city following the 1893 world’s fair. located near the illinois central railroad station and within a reasonable distance to the heart of the loop, it was was designed to take advantage of views along michigan avenue and the lake, with projecting triangular bay windows on the top floors and a renaissance inspired loggia dressed in ornamental terra cotta on the second floor. in 1929, the building became the south michigan hotel. in the 1970’s the hotel was purchased by johnson publications and converted into offices. the badly dilapidated and structurally compromised building was essentially abandoned for nearly thirty years. the building finally succumbed to the wrecking ball in 2009. urban remains salvaged much of the exterior and interior ornament prior to, and during demolition. the decorative neoclassical style panel measures 17 x 13 1/4 x 3 3/4 inches.