Bill Bowe, retired Executive Vice President of Encyclopaedia Britannica and a former Club President, gave a short talk about the history of The Cliff Dwellers at the Club’s 117th Annual Meeting of Members in 2023.
Using rare historic images, Bill focused on the Club’s three homes along Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. He first takes a look at the origins of the Club in the Fine Arts Building at 410 South Michigan Avenue, then turns to the Club’s longtime venue on the top two floors of Orchestra Hall.
He concludes with a look at the Club’s current aerie on the site of what was once the Pullman Building. This terraced penthouse space is directly across from The Art Institute of Chicago. Together with a bit of architectural history and anecdotes of Club life over the generations, his illustrated talk offers a light-hearted and fascinating window through which to view not only the storied past of The Cliff Dwellers, but also to see a bygone era of Chicago as well. Below are some of the pictures illustrating this history.
A Pictorial History
1871: First Offices of the Pullman Palace Car Co.
1885: Architect Solon Beman's Fine Arts Building First Houses the Studebaker Company
2010: Elevator Foyer of the Fine Arts Building
1884: Pullman Builds a New Headquarters at Adams Street and South Michigan Avenue
1888: A 9th Floor Restaurant's Kitchen Later Serves The Cliff Dwellers
1911: Railway Exchange, Orchestra Hall, Pullman and Peoples Gas Buildings
1920: South Michigan Avenue across from The Art Institute of Chicago
1915: The Pullman and Peoples Gas Buildings
9th Floor Floorplan Shows Restaurant Location
10th Floor Kitchen Serves The Cliff Dwellers through a Hole in the Wall to Orchestra Hall
1954 The Decapitated Pullman Building Shortly before Its Demolition
1956: The Borg Warner Building is Built on the Pullman Building's Site Next to Orchestra Hall
The Cliff Dwellers Finally gets Its Own Kitchen on Orchestra Hall's Top Floor
1996: The Cliff Dwellers Moves from Orchestra Hall to the Borg Warner Building
Pre-Millennium Park View North from The Cliff Dwellers Terrace at Orchestra Hall
Plaster Frieze Saved from Razing of Louis Sullivan's 1920 Chicago Stock Exchange