Art Deco Delight at Open House Chicago

Credit: Ken Ilio
This weekend, Chicagoans have a unique opportunity to explore over 150 architectural gems during Open House Chicago. Presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, this event allows visitors free access to sites ranging from Rogers Park to Pullman for the third consecutive year.

Credit: Minna Ann

Art Deco Allure

Among the many uncommon experiences Open House Chicago offers is the opportunity to peek inside private residential properties. One such site is The Powhatan¬†apartment building located along Burnham Park in Kenwood. The building’s design took second place in the 1922 Tribune Tower competition. With its intricate Art Deco details it’s almost enough to admire the 22-story lakeside high-rise from the outside. The building’s namesake is reflected in the ornamental terra-cotta panels on the building’s exterior illustrating Native American scenes.

Credit: Annette Gendler

Upon stepping inside the deco doors, however, visitors realize why The Powhatan was equated to having “all the luxuries of an ocean liner,” at its 1929 opening. Twenties allure resounds in the outer and inner lobbies, dripping in vibrant period mosaics and ornate etchings. Architect Charles L. Morgan’s detailed decorative elements beckon the visitor’s attention, complete with a riddle engraved over the fireplace.

Credit: Minna Ann


The Powhatan’s co-op residents take great pride in their meticulously maintained home, which gained Chicago landmark status in 1993. Its luxe wood elevator cabs are original to the building, and the only 24-hour operated elevators in Chicago. Yet the building’s chief treasure lies just around the corner. Admiring The marble hall of the Powhatan’s indoor swimming pool feels like backstroking into a glamorous past. Visions of Jazz Age encounters float by, as this jewel of Chicago’s South Side continues its swim against time’s tide.

The Powhatan
4950 S. Chicago Beach Dr.
Chicago, IL 60615

For Further Exploration: Open House Chicago Gives You the Keys to the City

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *