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Residential 1888-1889

McCormick Summer Residence

unidentified location
Cobb and Frost, 1882

An 1882 building permit, filed within two weeks of the permit for the Potter Palmer mansion, exists for a "summer residence" for Leander J. McCormick for a proposed cost of $80,000. McCormick was the brother and partner of Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the famous McCormick Reaper. This house was never built.


Palmer, Potter, Residence

1350 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1882

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Demolished in 1950, Potter Palmer's mansion was listed at a cost of $90,000 at a time when $8,000 built a three-story house. The merchant, hotelier, and real estate investor Palmer assembled a huge tract of mostly empty land north of the river and near the lakefront. At the northeast corner of his holdings, he ordered the construction of a large and splendid house. Built of a rusticated brownstone banded in sharply contrasting sandstone, the house was a vast, irregular mass with a porte-cochère and principal entrance placed diagonally to the main elements at the northeast corner. Pairs of banded columns of a smooth polished stone terminating in elaborate capitals flanked the entry, while an eighty-foot high tower rose from behind it. At the northeast corner of the tower, an attached round tower rose even higher and ended in a crenellated cap supported by a massive circle of corbels. A smaller tourelle formed the southeast corner of the battlement. One entered the interior via a small vestibule that opened into a three-story skylit, octagonal hall. The hall communicated with the main stairway and all of the principal rooms on the first floor, an organizational pattern that Cobb frequently employed. Though the lavish interior of rare hardwoods and polished stone is attributed to other decorators and architects, at least some of the structural woodwork must have been of Cobb's design.

Quote from Industrial Chicago, 1891, p.261: "The plans by Cobb & Frost for the Palmer residence on the lake shore drive were approved by the owner in April, 1882. The architect's description of the house credits it to the early Egyptian embattled style, with modern dressing such as large bays. The east front is eighty-two feet and the depth one hundred and eight feet. Two windowed projections surmounted by balconies rise to a hight [sic] of three stories, and with the stone balcony on the southeast corner give prominence to the east façade. The north façade shows a heavy bay and a square tower, with turret on its northeast corner, the finial of which is eighty feet from ground level. Petit tourettes mark the upper corners of the roof outline on the east front and other parts. The square tower appears more imposing than it really is, owing to the architectural aims toward this end in the northeast corner. The ordinary arch of the pointed style is not visible, but the early style is liberally endowed with pillars of the Gothic period. The porte-cochère, on the northeast corner, and the conservatory, 60x40 feet, on the south side, are well brought out. The main entrance is in the northeast corner. From the porte-cochère a large vestibule is entered, and then a hall, 80x88 feet, the hight of two stories, with gallery on the level of first floor. The main stairway with its marble dados and rich furnishings is found here. The library, 20x42 feet, lighted by two bays, occupies the southeast corner. The morningroom, 20x24 feet, the diningroom, 22x32 feet, with its old-fashioned fireplace, and the receptionroom in the tower, 15x18 feet, open on corridors. In the northeast corner is the drawingroom, 22x51 feet, lighted by a bay 22x7 feet. The statuary alcove at the west side of this room is lighted from the ceiling. The kitchen is in the basement, and the servants' rooms in that section of the building carrying a third story. Canada gray limestone, laid in six-inch courses, and trimmings, moldings, carvings and cornices in Ohio sandstone, shown in the exterior, were all cut and furnished by Young & Farrell."


Blair, William, Residence

SW Corner of Rush & Superior Sts., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1883

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The William Blair house was probably designed at the same time as Cobb's own house (see below); drastically altered, it still stands on the adjacent lot at the southwest corner of Rush and Superior Streets. Built of brick trimmed in rock-faced ashlar, the Blair house is the larger of the two houses. A row of stone-transomed windows opens the eastern gabled dormer (probably remodeled). The entrance façade is simple except for a four-windowed semi-circular turret set on a corbel table at the second story and ending in the conical roof. Though its details and scale differ from those of its neighbor, the Blair house shares a common roof-line and compatible, but not identical, fenestration with the Cobb house. The north façade's arched third-story window seems to match that of the Cobb house, as the third story dormers to the west match those at the south of the Cobb house.


Cobb, Henry Ives, Residence (1)

716 N. Rush St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1883

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The twenty-five foot rowhouse Cobb designed for himself and his family in 1883 still stands at 716 Rush St. with only its entrance changed. It is a three-story plus attic rowhouse on a high basement with a rock-faced brownstone façade in bold horizontal courses. An arched entrance on a flat wall flanks a three-sided, two-story bay, which is a division of the façade Cobb would employ repeatedly. Cobb used the Richardsonian idiom of an unadorned masonry façade with the exception of a small square of stones in a diapered pattern between the first and second stories of the principal bay. For the adjacent lot, Cobb designed a residence for William Blair, extant but considerably altered.


Myrick Residences

613-615 E. Groveland Park, Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1883

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In 1883, Cobb designed a pair of two-story brownstones, each 23 ft. x 50 ft., for Mr. W. F. Myrick. They still stand on Groveland Park, a private street on Chicago's southside. The carving over the entrances is vivid and over-scaled, giving the façade's an unusual vitality. Like those at the contemporaneous Tansill house (see below), the second story windows were once bordered in small colored glass squares.


Tansill Residence, (aka James W. Ferry Residence)

1008 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1883-1884

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No longer standing, the Tansill house was a wide, Richardsonian Romanesque dwelling described by a now unidentified source as being of "rough hammered greenstone with a slate roof." Three stories set on a high battered basement wall ended in a gabled bay with large carved bosses at the lower angles. To the north another bay of approximately equal width had a double entrance arch rising from two engaged and one free-standing columns. Ornamented with volutes, the keystones of the arches rose well above the top line of the voussoirs. Above this, a parapet of solids enclosed a second-story balcony. Small, colored glass squares bordered the second story windows, a relatively unusual ornament in Cobb's work but featured on the contemporaneous Myrick houses (see above). At the third story, a three-sided dormer with a sort of half-domed roof balanced the gable. Three tall stone chimneys lent considerable height to the house.


111 E. Bellevue Pl.

111 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1885

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A small rock-faced row house still stands at 111 E. Bellevue in an extensively remodeled condition with its massive entrance arch appearing to be the only original element to survive. The house was announced in 1885 at a price of $10,000.


2215-2217 W. Warren Blvd.

2215-2217 W. Warren Blvd., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1885

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This description was published by the Chicago Tribune in 2003 as part of a series of articles entitled "A Squandered Heritage": "This brick double-house had mirror-image Eastlake porches, featuring a rusticated stone base and round-arched second-floor windows with Romanesque molding. There was also a Baroque-influenced parapet edged with pressed metal. Demolition permit unavailable."


Cable, Ransom, Residence

25 E. Erie St. at Wabash (formerly Cass) Ave. Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1885

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Commissioned by Ransom W. Cable, head of the Rock Island Railroad, the recently restored Cable house stands at the southwest corner of Wabash Ave. and Erie St. A distinctive example of the urban mansion, the foundation of the Cable house extends beyond the walls of the house with a curved stone course making the transition to the house's walls. Taking advantage of the corner lot, Cobb opened up all principal rooms to the exterior. Although often likened to Richardson's Glessner house, the Cable house exhibits a contrasting verticality: its two principal gables are capped with finials, its four chimneys rise high above the roofline, and its seemingly random masonry pattern carefully resists horizontality. The exterior has been carefully restored; the interior is significantly altered. The attached coachhouse, with a tower at one side and a Richardsonian arched entry, was originally detached from the house.


Coleman, Joseph G., Residence (aka Miner T. Ames Residence)

1811 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1885

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Designed for Joseph G. Coleman, a real estate investor and hardware merchant, the Coleman house survives today as the offices of the U.S. Soccer Federation across the street from Richardson's Glessner residence. Nearly unchanged from its original appearance, the exterior of the house displays mastery of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The façade features contrasting textures: the battered foundation and first floor are rock-faced random red sandstone, while the arches of the entrance portico are set on grouped, smooth-surfaced columns with foliate capitals. A course of smooth stone forms the base of the columns and the adjoining three-window bay. 


1034 N. LaSalle St.

1034 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1886

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In November 1886, Inland Architect reported Cobb's commission for a set of three two-story dwellings at the corner of LaSalle and Maple at a combined cost of $15,0000. Two houses, of brick with brownstone trim, survive in a considerably altered condition.


1036 N. LaSalle St.

1036 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1886

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In November 1886, Inland Architect reported Cobb's commission for a set of three two-story dwellings at the corner of LaSalle and Maple at a combined cost of $15,0000. Two houses, of brick with brownstone trim, survive in a considerably altered condition.


Studebaker, Clement, Residence

620 W. Washington St., South Bend, IN
Cobb and Frost, 1886

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Commissioned in 1883 by Clement Studebaker, a wagon and carriage manufacturer, the Studebaker house survives as the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant. The house and its outbuildings, which originally included a barn, occupied an entire city block on South Bend's fashionable Washington St. The Richardsonian house is built of red, gray, and pink fieldstone masonry arranged randomly with openings delineated in light beige limestone or sandstone. As at the Cable and Tansill houses (see above), the chimneys of the Studebaker house rise high above the roofline.


Bartlett, A.C. (Adolphus Clay), Residence

2720 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1886

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The A.C. Bartlett house once stood alongside the Hiram and Elizabeth Kelly residence (see below). Of darker masonry than its neighbor, the house had a three-story corner bay ending in a pyramidal roof.


Kelly, Hiram and Elizabeth, Residence and Barn

2716 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1886-1887

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The demolished and sparsely documented Kelly house appears to have been built of a light-colored, rock-faced ashlar on a battered foundation. Front stairs led to a massive entrance arch springing from grouped columns. A double-hung window was above the arch at the second story. A curved three-window bay with first-story stone transoms and double-hung windows above formed the larger part of the façade. The third story and attic were part of a gable-crowned wall, flanked and topped by carved finials, those at the side ending attached columns rising from the second story. Dormer windows lit the third story at the side. Cobb's residence for U. C. Bartlett (see above) once stood adjacent to the Kelly residence.


Keep, William F., Residence

1127 N. Dearborn St. (originally 387 Dearborn), Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1887

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This building has been demolished.


Keith, O.R., Residence

1808 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1887

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The Keith house once stood on Prairie Avenue across the street from the Coleman house by Cobb (see above) and immediately south of Richardson's Glessner house. Set on an exceptionally long lot of thirty-eight by eighty feet, the sides of the Keith house abutted those of its neighbors. The façade of the first two stories and battered basement was rock-faced granite, while that of the third story was smooth masonry. Constructed at the high cost of $40,000, this elegant and well-planned house was the home of Stanley Field, nephew of Marshall Field, from 1901 to 1913. Louis Sullivan rented a room from the American Terra Cotta Co., a subsequent owner, from 1919 to 1921.


Warren, W.H., Residence

1347 N. Astor St., Chicago, IL
Henry Ives Cobb, 1887

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Now considerably altered, the W.H. Warren house is a narrow rowhouse of gray, rock-faced masonry. A two-story, three-sided bay on brackets at the top of the first story is a pretty exercise in metal and wood and gives light and spaciousness to the principal front rooms.


Benedict, Amzi, Residence

Sheridan Rd., Lake Forest, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1887-1889

This building is extant.


Chapin Residence

Sheridan Rd., Lake Forest, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1887

This extant building has been renovated and expanded, including interiors by Walter Frazier.


Cooper, E.M., Residence

Memphis, TN
Cobb and Frost, c.1887-1888

A rendering and plan of the residence was published in Inland Architect, vol. 10, no. 7., December 1887.


Ralston, Julia E., Residence

Lake Forest, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1887-1889

Most likely demolished sometime in the 1930s, the carriage house for this residence survives as a private house. 


Smith, Perry H., Residence

1400 N. Astor St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1887

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Set on a narrow, long lot, the Smith residence faces south on Schiller St. with its Astor St. front marked only by a semi-hexagonal attached turret. Beginning at the setback, the western end of the house is a new addition. The three-story, smooth red brick house sits on a high basement topped by a simple, rounded sandstone course, notched for window sills. Two gabled bays, the east larger and with a curved, projecting window, frame an arched sandstone entrance. The two dormers breaking the roof line are possibly a later addition. Excepting the porch, ornament is limited to a corbelled effect on the eastern bay and molded brick ornament at the top of the gables. A 3,000 sq. ft. addition, designed by Hammond, Beeby, Rupert, and Ainge, was completed in 1991.


Allen, Benjamin, Residence

Allen, Benjamin, Residence

1815 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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Now demolished, the Benjamin Allen house was built of rock-faced ashlar set in even courses with a stone front porch. Its façade was composed of a vertical bay and a corner turret. While the vertical bay featured a gable with double windows, the turret ended in a cone roof punctured with dormers.


Bangs, E.W., Residence

Bangs, E.W., Residence

1212 N. State St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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The E.W. Bangs house no longer stands, but photographs of the house were published in the February 1888 issue of Inland Architect. Excepting a few rock-faced lintels and sills, the Bangs house is notable for its rejection of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. It is a rather clumsily massed, almost unornamented brick house, relieved by a simple wooden porch and a bit of carved ornament in the gables of the third floor.


Fay, C.N., Residence

Fay, C.N., Residence

52 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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Still standing, the Fay house is a modest, three-story, row house. The façade is brick, while the entrance arch, the voussoirs of the flat-arched windows, and the foundation are of a rock-faced stone. The brick parapet has acorn finials at the sides, a motif that also appears on the Keith house (see above).


McWilliams, J.L., Residence

McWilliams, J.L., Residence

3945 S. Lake Park Ave. (formerly Lake), Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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Now demolished, the house Cobb designed for J.L. McWilliams is documented by a plan and photograph published in the June 1888 issue of Inland Architect. Set on an unusually wide lot, the house of random, rock-faced ashlar was divided into two principal bays, with a characteristically Midwestern front porch on one side. Paired, freestanding columns with carved capitals supported the massive lintels of the porch. This bay stood two stories and was topped by a pitched roof with a front-facing, double-windowed gable, while the principal bay at the front of the house was three stories ending in a pyramidal roof. Two semicircular towers at the end of the house flanked a porte-cochère, beyond which stood the carriage house. The spacious interior displayed careful detailing. The front entrance led to a small vestibule and then to a large central hall communicating with all the first floor rooms: parlor, library, semi-circular ended dining room with a small conservatory, and kitchen hall. Alternatively, entry could be gained from the porte-cochère flanked by turrets, one with a half flight of stairs leading into the hall and the other with a staircase rising to the second floor.


Rees, Harriet, Residence

Rees, Harriet, Residence

2110 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL (original location)
2017 S. Prairie Ave., Chicago, IL (moved to this location, October-November 2014)
Henry Ives Cobb, 1888

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Now isolated in its location, the Harriet Rees house was originally constructed in a row of houses. The workmanship of the façade, with its sensitively handled masonry and perfectly scaled ornament, rivals that of Richardson's Glessner house located a few hundred yards to the north. The three stories and an attic house is constructed of Bedford stone that has been completely smoothed, emphasizing the carved ornament of the façade and the beautiful masonry work of the entrance, set on a rusticated base. A great, simple arch with over-sized voussoirs shelters the entrance. To its south, a curved bay stands two stories and ends in a semicircular copper roof. A group of five arched windows light the third floor and a steep gable with a single arched window rises to a finial. A vigorous scroll of foliate carving divides the first from the second floor of the bay and is echoed in the third-floor capitals and in relief on the attic wall. [Note: in preparation for the construction of the McCormick Place entertainment district, the Rees Residence was moved to 2017 S. Prairie Avenue on August 22, 2014. The coach house was moved in September and October 2014.]


Stanton, Gerald M., Residence

58 E. Bellevue Pl., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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The Stanton house still stands near Cobb's Fay Residence (see above), separated by an elaborate J.L. Silsbee house. Though the façade is similar in size to that of the Fay house, it is more successful in its realization of Richardsonian simplicity: its rock-faced ashlar is set in horizontal courses on a well-scaled battered foundation. Only the railing at the top of the two-story rounded bay and the parapet disrupt this simplicity. The front steps lead to a well-scaled entrance whose lowest voussoirs rest on paired columns. The interior was gutted in 2000.


Thompson, John Howland, Residence (now Scottish Rites Bodies)

Thompson, John Howland, Residence (now Scottish Rites Bodies)

915 N. Dearborn St. (formerly 285 N. Dearborn), Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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The Thompson house stands at the northeast corner of Dearborn and Delaware facing Washington Square, quite near Cobb's Newberry Library. Built of red rock-faced sandstone on a battered basement, the house is entered near the center of its long side on Delaware. Steps lead into a porch massed with windows on both sides, which are flanked by the usual grouped columns sharing foliate carved capitals. A diapered panel carved in a quatrefoil pattern is placed above the lintel supported by columns. A curved bay with a conical roof stands east of the entrance. A varied window arrangement articulates its three stories: four large double-transomed windows in the first story, four single-transomed windows in the second story, and six shorter, widely-spread windows in the third story. The house wall continues into a garden wall and then into the coach house wall with its wonderfully scaled entrance arch rising from the ground. The interior is now damaged, but the carved wood staircase rising from the spacious central hall recalls that of the Coleman house (see above), although it is simpler in treatment.


Unidentified apartment building (project?)

SW corner 23rd St. and Indiana Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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Quote from Industrial Chicago, 1891, p.242: "The erection of a four-story apartment house on the southwest corner of Indiana avenue and Twenty-third streat [sic] was first considered in 1888, and plans for such a building were made by Cobb & Frost. Anderson pressed brick, with buff Bedford stone trimmings, formed the exterior front walls. Steam heat and electric bells were demanded; but the elevator, common in latter-day apartment houses, was forgotten, or deemed unnecessary for this flat of 1888."


Judson, C.E., Residence

Judson, C.E., Residence

3431 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1888

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Now demolished, the C.E. Judson house presented an asymmetrical, planar, rock-faced façade. The entrance arch, with richly carved ornament on its face, began a little above the bottom of the basement windows and ended below the tops of two rectangular first floor windows. Above the arch, broken masonry rows indicated voussoirs, a motif repeated at the second level. The third story windows were organized in a five-arch group and sheltered by a sloping roof.


Bowen, Joseph, Residence

N. Astor St., Chicago, IL
Cobb and Frost, 1889

Included in the group of six houses designed by Cobb that were described in an Inland Architect article of 1889, this project was a remodeling of the Joseph Bowen residence on Astor St. in "old colonial style." The house was demolished in the 1980s and surviving photographs do not provide a clear distinction between Cobb's renovation and the original building.


Unidentified frame residences (4)

Northern suburbs, IL
[Cobb and Frost], c.1889

Four of the six houses described in an 1889 Inland Architect article were frame houses in the northern suburbs. Like the Professor Thomas house and the Joseph Bowen house remodeling (see above), these houses were probably designed during Cobb's partnership with Frost. A drawing for a house in Lewiston, Maine and a surviving rowhouse at 3301 S. Giles in Chicago display Cobb's skill in designing shingle-style houses. It is unknown whether these frame houses were ever built.


Van Schaik, Anthony, Summer Residence

Highland Park, IL
Cobb and Frost, c.1889

Noted in Inland Architect, vol. 13, p. 13, February 1889.