Farcroft Apartments

From HistoryWiki

The Farcroft Apartments, 1337 W. Fargo Avenue, were in the 2000 Annual Fall House Tour.

According to the July 10, 1928 Tribune, page 22, construction had just started on the Farcroft. Fleisher Engineering and Construction Company was the general contractor. The building was to have 84 apartments of three, four, and five room suites. The land and building was rumored to have cost $950,000.

The apartments were built in 1928 by architect Charles Wheeler Nicol (also rumored to be a magician). Pieces of the building's architecture tend to support the rumor that Nicol was a "magician." From the second floor to the 13th, the apartments also reportedly lacked right angles to better support the flow of mystical energy. The corners are purported to be made in a certain way to generate a certain type of mystical energy.

The exterior of the building also was designed with no right angles and is decorated with carved grotesques symbolizing vices, such as greed, vanity and gluttony.

Previous tenants described the lobby as a "medieval feasting hall," accentuated with a series of "decapitated clergymen" above the fireplace; "hunchback monks" appear to be holding the weight of the building on their backs above support columns.

Plans for the 13-story Farcroft apartments were first noted in a Tribune article, published February 12, 1928. Designed by Nicol, the article stated, the building would be faced with brick "with attractive shadow paneling on the east wall."

The total cost to construct the building was priced at $925,000 ($12.6 million in today's dollars when adjusted for inflation).

Five months later, work began, according to another Tribune article. Then, in 1947, Nicol was elected president of the Chicago Building Congress, according to the Tribune, which also published a photo of the architect.


Over time, Farcroft Apartments fallen into bad shape. After purchasing the building from the previous owners, Billionaire preservationist and developer Jennifer Pritzker's Tawani Enterprises Inc. began a total gutting and rennovation of the building. Those in the know have described Tawani as "preservationists first, developers second." "We're blessed with the fact that we have the resources to do it right," said Sean McGowan, chief operating officer of Tawani Enterprises, Pritzker's real estate holding company. "The restoration of the Farcroft was a definite "nod to the past.""