by Hank Morris

James J. Egan (1839 or 1841-1914) was born in Cork, Ireland, Egan became one of Chicago’s leading architects in the years following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. His best known building is the Hotel St. Benedict Flats at 40-52 East Chicago Avenue and Wabash, a Chicago landmark that has been described as a “particularly fine—and rare—surviving example of Victorian Gothic design Because early luxury apartments in America on the model of those in European cities were viewed with suspicion, the Chicago Avenue facade of this building was designed to look like a series of four separate townhouses. The building was named in honor of the Benedictine order, which maintained a church on the site until the Chicago Fire.