Building 51 | Building 51 | c. 1880’s hand carved solid walnut octagonal-shaped staircase landing newel post with pineapple finial from the joseph t. ryerson mansion- burling and adler, architects
8767
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c. 1880’s hand carved solid walnut octagonal-shaped staircase landing newel post with pineapple finial from the joseph t. ryerson mansion- burling and adler, architects

51-21643-15

Category

Chicago Buildings

About This Item

single oversized all original hand-carved solid walnut wood interior residential staircase landing freestanding octagonal-shaped newel post salvaged from the post-fire chicago mansion built in 1873 for notable chicagoan, joseph t. ryerson. the architects are believed to be the prominent firm of burling and adler of chicago. the multi-faceted gargantuan newel post contain a very elaborate profile, with an oversized hand-carved pineapple finial. the walnut wood newel post has an early (possibly the original) intact and uniform varnished finish throughout. the newel post was constructed with several square nails consistent with its age. the other newel posts and railings were removed from the house prior to demolition. the historically-important post-fire chicago mansion, located north of the river on wabash avenue (formerly cass street) near ontario, was built for pioneer steel king joseph t. ryerson in 1873, at an estimated cost of 50,000 dollars by architects burling and adler. the successful industrialist established his chicago-based business in 1842, known as the joseph t. ryerson & son company. prior to the construction of the post-fire chicago mansion, ryerson and his family occupied a residence on the same site constructed in 1860 and later destroyed by the great chicago fire in 1871.it has been said that joseph ryerson was forced to take a “hurried departure” in a carriage from his residence with only a few items he managed to gather before the house was consumed by the fire. during the 1880’s and through the 1890’s, the house was owned and occupied by a.a carpenter, who was a founder of the kirby-carpenter company established in 1872. augustus alvord carpenter was active in social, civic, and business affairs in the city. the “handsome carriages” of many society and civic leaders of chicago were often seen before the stone portals surrounding the home’s main entrance. the ryerson mansion shared the same fate (to some degree) that so many other magnificent, but archaic or out-of-date and poorly-maintained mansions succumbed to during the depression years, where unforgiving landlords converted the one grand interiors into haphazardly constructed “apartments” with very little concern for the distinctive architectural elements. fortunately, when the ryerson mansion was leased to miss elizabeth macdonald during the 1930’s, she went to great lengths to preserve the italian marble fireplaces, stained glass windows, tall hall mirrors and fine inlaid or parquet wood floors found throughout the first floor. over the following decades, the house would undergo more and more renovations or alterations that left very little of the original exterior and interior elements intact. in fact, the only significant architectural detail left intact when we arrived on the scene, was the solid walnut wood staircase, containing multiple newel posts adorned with highly detailed hand-carved pineapple finials. however, after further research prior to the salvage, the extant staircase was likely replaced in the 1880’s during the time lumber baron a.a. carpenter and family occupied the house. measures 15 x 14 x 56 inches.