About This Item
highly unique and exceptionally detailed american 19th century exterior slip glaze red terra cotta figural grotesque face corbel salvaged from the chicago and northwestern railway “lake front” depot prior to demolition in the late 1960’s. built in 1889–1890 by the chicago and north western railway, the lake front train depot was located near the shore of lake michigan at the end of east wisconsin avenue, by today’s milwaukee county war memorial. the structure was designed and built by charles sumner frost in the romanesque style, and had a tallclock tower which reached 234 feet the depot cost $200,000 to build at the time, and eventually served 98 trains per day. charles sumner frost worked for the firm of peabody and stearns in boston after graduating from the massachusetts institute of technology. he moved to chicago in 1882, where he began a partnership with henry ives cobb. together, they established the firm cobb and frost, which was active from 1882 to 1898. after the partnership ended, he worked alone, and eventually partnered with alfred hoyt granger to form the firm of frost and granger. frost and granger were known for their designs of train stations and terminals. after frost and granger dissolved, frost continued to work independently, designing such structures as chicago’s navy pier, minneapolis great northern depot, milwaukee road depot and milwaukee road passenger depot to name a few.chicago and north western owned the depot until 1946 when milwaukee county bought the structure and surrounding land for $7 million, with the intent to use the land for park purposes and a freeway. c&nw continued to use the depot until may 15, 1966 when trains were moved to the new union station (now the milwaukee intermodal station) after it was built by the chicago, milwaukee, st. paul and pacific railroad (milwaukee road). the milwaukee road had itself vacated its old everett street depot the previous year. the depot succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1968. the sinister-looking grotesque contains a nicely aged surface finish, with the red turning to black due to prolonged exposure to weather and air pollutants (i.e., coal, etc.). the corbel was likely fabricated by either the american or northwestern terra cotta company of chicago, il.