The South Shore Country Club, A Personal Perspective

On the south side of Chicago at 71st Street and Lake Michigan is an edifice that was known as the South Shore Country Club. In 1973 the club closed and sold its land and buildings to the City of Chicago which now has rename it the South Shore Cultural Center. This was the site of Barack and Michelle Obama’s wedding reception in 1992.

As a third generation member of the club I would like to share some points of interest to those that have never been there. General information on the club with all pertinent dates can be found on the Internet, it is my intention to highlight the club from a personal perspective.

The South Shore Country Club was founded by the leading citizens of Chicago back in 1906. The hostess of the gala opening was none other than Bertha Honore Palmer. Since I was not around in that time I cannot speak about the club personally, however, I would like to make one reference to the former main building which later was moved and became the golf club house and famous “birdcage”. This structure was of a very grand design and images of it can be seen in historic photos, if you study them carefully you will see that the interior of the main club house is the same as the current Palm Court of the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago, Benjamin Marshall being the architect of both structures. The four pillars that form the center core of the Palm Court with the fountain in the middle and supporting beams from above come right out of the old main building of the South Shore Country Club. In 1924 this structure was moved and the current building became the main club house until its closing in 1973.

The interior splendor of the new club house is unsurpassed by any club house in the country, bar none. The central block of the club house has a grand salon extending from its east side over-looking Lake Michigan, this is called (and still is today) the solarium. On the north end of the great hall is the Main Dining Room that seats 400 people and has marble colonnades all around topped  House Painting South Shore MA by two magnificent chandeliers and at the south end lies the grandiose Ballroom with colonnades all around the room meeting at the stage.

The main hall is two stories in height and a mezzanine surrounds it on all four sides. In the center there are three grand chandeliers that were given to the club by Clarence Darrow’s wife as a gift. On the right side as you enter the building and just before you enter the main hall there was a guest registry table, above this fine wooden table hung a wonderful painting by Stark Davis of an exotic bird which sold at the private auction in 1973 for $1,100.00.

The interior decorating of the building was lavishly decorated and look much like something from Louis XIV at Versailles. Everything about the decor was elegant and refined. The taste of the place was never over done or garish and the rooms were all filled with light.

As a child much of my youth was spent there at the beach, for the club was built right on the lake. I can truly say that never in all of my years there until the clubs closing did I ever have a sad moment, the place always will hold a deep and lovely place in my heart.

 

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