Klafter, David Saul

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David Saul Klafter Soundex Code K413

David Saul Klafter was a member of the American Institute of Architects

David Saul Klafter, in 2014, is the name of an architectural firm. Its headquarters are at 64 W. Randolph Street

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1884, David Saul Klafter was raised in Chicago since the age of three. After studying at the Lewis Institute and the Art Institute of Chicago, Klafter began working as a draftsman for D.H. Burnham & Company in 1907. Following this he worked in office of Jarvis Hunt, and then began his own architectural practice. In 1911, Klafter was appointed by Mayor Carter Henry Harrison, Jr. to a special board established to protect residential streets from commercial and industrial encroachment. He also served as Cook County Architect from 1941 through 1948.

He was a member of the Jewish People's Institute, B'nai Brith, Free Sons of Israel Associated Charities, and the advisory board of Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society. In addition to an individual entry in The History of the Jews of Chicago, (Meites 1924, 394). Klafter was listed as a leading Jewish Chicago Architect in A Priceless Heritage, (Gutstein 1953, 420), and The Sentinel: History of Chicago Jewry [end page] (Jacobs 1961). He was also listed in Who's Who in Chicago 1926.

Among his noted works of architecture are:

1157 S. Wabash Avenue; Construction end: 1928; Stories: 2

Fabrics Building; 323 S. Franklin Street; Construction Dates Finished 1924; Floor Count 12, destroyed

415 Aldine, a luxury condominium building designed in 1927

Alvin Theatre, 1612-1614 W. Chicago Avenue, demolished

Ashland Theatre, 1611 W. Madison Street, demolished

Home Theatre, 3749 W. 26th Street, demolished

Hub Theatre, 1746 W. Chicago Avenue, demolished

Oak Theatre, 2000 N. Western Avenue, demolished

Wicker Park Theater, 1539 N. Milwaukee Avenue, demolished

Sexauer Garage, 3640 N. Halsted Street, built in 1924

Fred L. Mandel Jr. House, Highland Park, Illinois

AIA Historical Directory of American Architects

File number: ahd1024160

David Saul Klafter

Name: Klafter, David Saul

Personal Information

Birth/Death: AIA notified of decease January 1965

Occupation: American architect

Location (state): Illinois

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1947-decease

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:

Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory

Repeat of 1956 biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects

Membership file may contain membership application, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.

American Architects Directory First edition, 1956, page 303

Klafter, David Saul (AIA)

Office: 100 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago.

Home: Hotel Pearson, Chicago.

b. Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday, November 14, 1886.


Children 1.

Education: Lewis Institute & Art Institute of Chicago.

Foreign Travil: South America, Europe,

Work: D.H. Burnham & Company, 1907 to Present

Firm: David Saul Klafter, organized. 1908.

Registered: Michigan;

NCARB Cert, Lie. Engr.

Primary Works:

Clark Memorial Hospital, Neenah, Wisconsin, 1912;

Office Building, 323-327 Franklin Street, Chicago, 1927;

Apartment building, Lake Shore Drive,

Office Building, Northwest Corner of Wells Street & Van Buren Street,

Apartment Building, Southwest Corner of Sheridan Road & Aldine Avenue, Chicago, 1928.

Gen. Types: 2,3,4,5,6,7,9.

Member: Standard Club of Chicago;

Wabansia Lodge A.F.& A.M;

Ramah Lodge, B'nai Brith;

National Jewish Hospital at Denver, Colorado

Board of Trustees. AIA

Member: Chicago Chapter AIA.

Member: Illinois Society of Architects

Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1965, page A8

D.S. Klafter, Architect for 50 years, dies

Services will be held tomorrow.

Services for David Saul Klafter, 78 (1887-1965) of 190 E. Pearson Street, well-known architect, will be held at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow in the chapel at Piser Weinstein Funeral Home, 5206 N. Broadway.

He died Sunday in Columbus Hospital after a long illness.

In 1908, Mr. Klafter, without any college training, took the state licensing examination and passed with a score that stood as a record for 10 years.

Takes City Post

When he was 21, he was recommended for a draftsman's position with Daniel Burnham, city planner. Burnham's views on ornamentation deeply influenced Mr. Klafter, who said in 1963 that he was convinced "people want beautiful buildings."

Among structures he designed were the 1420 N. Lake Shore Drive building of 35 apartments; the 12-story Fabrics Building, 323 S. Franklin Street; and the 16-story Wells and Van Buren building, erected in 1927.

He also designed the Michigan-Walton building and the Michigan-Oak building called the Rockefeller block. He was commissioned as architect by Mrs. Edith Rockefeller McCormick. The Rockefeller crest can still be seen.

In an interview in October 1963, Mr. Klafter struck out at the "graceless, cheese-box cities" springing up across the country. He called them "engineering masterpieces," not products of architectural design.

Cities Top Buildings

In Chicago, "the finest buildings ... are not those new ones devoid of personality but in the Board of Trade Building, Tribune Tower, and the Palmolive Building," he said.

Mr. Klafter, architect for Cook County from 1941 to 1947, had been appointed to public posts since the days of the late Mayor Carter Henry Harrison, Jr.. Last June, President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity.

In 1961, Governor Otto Kerner, Jr. named him to the state's architect's examining board. In 1963, Mr. Klafter won the Good American Award from the Chicago Committee of 100 for contributions in the field of human relations.

Accepts High Award

Last year, he was one of 10 Americans to receive a success story award from the Free Enterprise Awards Association, Inc. of New York City.

Surviving are his widow, Amanda Klafter; a daughter, Mrs. Lois Schubert, nee: Lois Klafter; a grandson; a brother, Joseph H. Klafter and a sister-in-law Mrs. Mathilda Klapper.