Cobb won the Union Club commission while he was still working for Peabody and Stearns in Boston. Now demolished, the Club was 80x86 feet in area, and three stories high, including a basement and attic. The building is variously described as being constructed of red sandstone or Massachusetts rock-faced, brown stone (see Industrial Chicago, 1891, p.182). Two scalloped, Dutch Renaissance, gabled pavilions flanked the triple-arched entrance porch, while a similar gable topped the Dearborn St. elevation with a bee-hived roofed, semi-circular turret at the building's southeast corner. A hipped roof ended in a rectangular balustrade. Opulent in its details, the interior housed a reception room, office, parlors, reading-room, cafe and supper rooms.
Quotation from Industrial Chicago, 1891, p.182: "The square bays, with a balcony on the top of each, semi-round, alored gables, solitary oriel, adapted mansard roof, with open promenade, circular turret and other architectural fancies, mark this building."
Located diagonally across the intersection of Deerpath and Sheridan roads from Lake Forest College's Durand Hall, Cobb and Frost's First Presbyterian Church has been greatly altered since its construction; the north exterior of the sanctuary and the tower are all that remain of Cobb and Frost's design. The first story is built of a spotted local limestone salvaged from Chicago's Second Presbyterian Church, destroyed by the Great Fire. A shingled second story and roof, and a tower, with a stepped transition from stone to shingles, complete the design. Early photographs indicate that a simple entrance porch originally welcomed the visitor to a medieval, highly elaborate interior, distinguished by a rose window over the altar and triple arches.
Still standing, the Lake Forest Presbyterian Manse has been significantly altered since its original construction: Charles S. Frost remodeled it in 1905 and it shows evidence of major alterations since then.
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad (C. & NW) Station, Wayne, IL
Wayne, IL Cobb and Frost, c.1887-1888
During the 1940s or 1950s, the station was moved to Dunham Castle, a local mansion built between 1878 and 1882. It was returned to its original site on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad (now Union Pacific) tracks at Army Trail Road in October 2007. The station, locally referred to as "The Depot," was at some point converted to a horse stable, but is currently being restored. A rendering of this station, with several others by Cobb and Frost, was published in Inland Architect, vol. 10, no. 6., November 1887.
Constructed of irregular rough masonry trimmed with cut stone, the former First Presbyterian Church building is L-shaped, one and a half stories with a high-pitched, cross-gabled roof. The openings of the Washington Ave. and Lafayette Blvd. elevations are great round arches with two rectangular, transomed windows on either side. A tower marks the intersection of the two gabled wings.
In 1888, Henry Ives Cobb was hired by the Newberry estate trustees to design the Newberry Library, a commission so time-consuming it required the dissolution of the Cobb and Frost firm. Cobb's early conception for the library followed the stack "model," where books were stored in an exclusive space and delivered to reading rooms by attendants. Newberry librarian William Frederick Poole was a fervent opponent of the stack system, preferring a system of compartmentalized reading rooms organized by subject with books accessible on shelves; he went so far as to hire an architect to draw up plans in keeping with his wishes. After an extended dispute with Cobb and the trustees, Poole's ideas informed the organization of the final library building. Situated on an entire block facing Washington Square Park across Walton St. between Clark and Dearborn Sts., the building uses a Romanesque vocabulary while conveying the impression of an enlarged Florentine palazzo. The front elevation consists of protruding pavilions at the ends and the center with two connecting sections. An elaborately carved, triple-arched porch with a short flight of steps marks the center section. A dentilled cornice separates the battered walls of the first floor and basement, clad in a roughly finished pink granite, from those above, smoothly finished in the same granite. At the top of the wall all around the façade is a frieze of small arches, above which great stone brackets support a simple narrow cornice. Cobb had originally planned an interior with a grand staircase and two-story reading room. Poole's influence resulted in a plain interior with the first floor housing offices and an assembly room and the rest of the building arranged as a series of rectangular reading rooms devoted to specific departments, which were eventually converted into storage rooms. The interior of the building has changed significantly since its original construction; it was twice remodeled by Chicago architect Harry Weese.
Quote from Industrial Chicago, 1891, p.226: "The Newberry library building was designed by Henry I. Cobb in the summer of 1888, but the building contracts were not awarded until May, 1891, nor was the permit issued until June. The material selected is Massachusetts brown granite. The building is four stories, a basement and an attic story in hight, [sic] fronting three hundred feet on Walton place. The estimated cost of this structure is $300,000. The new building will constitute only the south wing of the quadrangular design of the complete structure; but it is calculated to meet the demands of the next twenty-five years and will have a capacity of four hundred thousand volumes. The drawings show a massive structure in the Romanesque order of architecture. In the main entrance on Walton place are three large and elaborately carved doorways. The third story is encircled with a row of panels bearing the names of famous men."
The Church of the Atonement was expanded twice since its original construction, in 1910 and again in 1919. All that remains of the original church is the north (and only) transept. The November 8, 1889 edition of American Architect and Building News contains Cobb's original drawing for the church, originally composed of a rectangular nave and chancel with one transept to the north and a square bell-tower at the northwest corner. Built of a warm reddish stone and entered through a pointed arch at the bottom of the tower, the building was devoid of ornament. Three-stepped buttresses at the corner of the tower, great and irregular voussiors over the pointed great west window and the tower windows, and steep gables created a handsome, impressive exterior in a modest scale.