Not Quite Ghost Buildings

So I have been trying to scour Chicago for more of these “ghost buildings.” And it’s been interesting to see what is available and not. Some of the ones I find don’t appear to have any info available like the Neckhardt, Sylvia or M. Koenig. These are likely family names, though it’s possible that the families may still own these buildings.

I did find two interesting buildings which aren’t strictly ghost buildings. One is 2418 N. Milwaukee, across from the Whistler. It’s an imposing brick building with cream colored decoration and has the phrase “Hollander” inscribed on the building. It’s not a ghost building because the name still reflects the ownership and function of the building. The building appears to be the Chicago address for Hollander International Storage and Moving Company, Inc which seems based in Elk Grove Village.

It was founded in 1888, which is pretty awesome since not many companies exist over 100 years later. They used to advertise “Hollander Fire Proof Warehouses,” perhaps a result of Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire. They also appear to have made thermometers and it was a give away between 1906 and 1911.

Another building that sprang up on my radar was the John B. Murphy Memorial. It’s next to the Richard Driehaus Museum on Erie Street. The Memorial is a monumental building; it looks like a Greek temple in front. It’s largely an auditorium though I think it may have some offices. Again, it’s not a ghost building since the name still reflects the use of it. It is still a memorial to John B. Murphy.

John Murphy was the son of Irish immigrants in Appleton, Wisconsin, who went on to become a famous surgeon. He was the inventor of several medical devices all named for him:Murphy drip, Murphy’s button, Murphy’s punch, Murphy’s test, and Murphy-Lane bone skid. He also advocated for early treatment of appendicitis, and much more. Two days before he died, he allegedly wrote,  “I think the necropsy will show plaques in my aorta” and, indeed, this was later confirmed at autopsy.”

He became so revered after his death, his friends actually formed a memorial association for him and decided to build John B. Murphy Memorial. The land was owned by the American College of Surgeons and the agreement was that  they would maintain and use it for meetings and education about surgery. Construction was started in 1923 and finished in 1926 by architects Marshall and Fox in what is called “French Renaissance style”. The offices of ACS were moved in 2003 and it was opened to the public in 2006. It appears to be a popular spot for weddings.

I’ll keep on my quest to find ghost buildings throughout Chicago. Suggestions are always welcome. But I’ll also let you know about these little pockets of history I find of not-quite ghost buildings.



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