Chicago is a city full of amazing architecture – something you don’t see as much on the west coast with it’s more modern buildings. There are some really great Chicago architecture tours by the Chicago Architecture Center if you visit the city.
One such architectural marvel was the Pullman Mansion. The Pullman Mansion was built for George M. Pullman on Prairie Avenue and was known as the social center in Chicago for over 50 years. When the area surrounding the mansion became blighted in the 1920s, the Pullman family auctioned all the contents in 1921 and demolish the home.
At the sale, everything was sold – not just furnishings and art, but also the wall panels and decorative interiors. Everything that could be pried loose was sold.
In 1984, architect Michael Shymanski made a discovery in the basement of the old Chicago Historical Society Building that shed light on the Pullman mansion. He found a whole pile of pieces from the old Pullman home – along with the original construction plans. It turns out that the craftsman who built the home had numbered and labeled each of the pieces during fabrication (something very common for the time). It was possible to know exactly where each piece came from.
This video is one of the best put together documentaries about how the house was put together and what it looked like. Definitely worth a look if you like Chicago architecture.