University to demolish Ingleside Hall for park

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

The University of Chicago plans to demolish Ingleside Hall, 956 E. 58th St., to expand the quad and create more green space on campus.

The university made the announcement Wednesday at the Cummings Life Science Center, 920 E. 58th St. The U. of C. is working with the city to vacate the street and create a pedestrian path beginning at the western edge of the Cummings Life Science Center, and extending east, ultimately to Woodlawn Avenue.
Ingleside Hall is not eligible to be preserved as a historic Chicago landmark, despite being constructed in 1896 and designed by Charles Atwood. At some point in its history, the building was moved to its current location from across campus. To make the building fit onto the smaller lot, 12 feet was removed from the middle of the building.

Ingleside Hall will be demolished to connect the Crerar Quadrangle behind the building to the new pedestrian walkway.

Calmetta Coleman, senior communications officer for the U. of C., said Ingleside Hall was originally constructed as the Quad Club at the corner of 58th Street and University Avenue, which was then called Lexington Avenue.

“Even at the time it was open it was considered to be too small for its use as the Quad Club,” Coleman said. Between July and December of 1898 the building had three separate fires that damaged the façade and the roof. An annex was added while repairing damage the following year.

It continued to be used as the Quad Club until the late 1920s when it was relocated to its current location. The university used the space it had previously sat on to build the Oriental Institute.

“It was relocated to a new site, and where it was going to go was not large enough to accommodate the building, so 12 feet were cut out of the building so it could fit on the new site,” Coleman said.

To move the three-story brick building it was separated from its foundation and lifted up using a large jack. It was then slid on log rollers. The total distance between the two sites is just under half a mile.

The alterations leave the building too significantly changed to be considered a landmark by the City of Chicago. The sole tenant currently is the United States Post Office. Alicia Murasaki, U. of C. executive director of planning and design, said there have been difficulties finding a location on campus for the post office.

“The lease for the U.S. Post Office, the only current tenant of the building, expires later this year; postal officials have declined offers to relocate the office elsewhere on campus,” the university said in a press release.

The university is asking the city to vacate 58th Street from Drexel Avenue to Woodlawn Avenue. Murasaki said the university then intends to build a pedestrian walkway connecting 58th Street from the western edge of the Cummings Life Science Center to the main Quad. It will then connect the main Quad to Woodlawn Avenue along 58th Street.

The portion of 58th Street from the western edge of the Cummings Life Science Center to Drexel Avenue will remain paved and be used as a staging area for emergency vehicles.

The university is currently working to gather all necessary permits and to prepare the site. Murasaki said the city is expected to vacate the street in May. Construction should begin in July and the whole project should be completed by summer 2014.

l.welbers@hpherald.com