Historic Restaurant, Tavern and Church Become Chicago's Newest Designated Landmarks

October 5, 2011


An original White Castle restaurant, the Kenwood United Church of Christ and a former Schlitz Brewing Co. tied house were designated as official landmarks today by the Chicago City Council.

“These structures have served their communities for decades and their designations as official Chicago landmarks will

Each structure was previously recommended for landmark status by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

White Castle #16

Built in 1930 at 43 E. Cermak Road, the one-story structure was operated by White Castle System of Eating Houses until 1944. It remains Chicago's oldest known fast food restaurant building.

The turreted, castle-like structure reflects the pioneering use of programmatic architecture by White Castle, considered "the father" of U.S. fast food chains. The design was intended to advertise the purity and permanence of the business of selling hamburgers which, until then, was largely considered by the public as a "carnival food" of questionable quality.

The 150-square-foot structure was restored to its original appearance in 2010. It continues to be operated as a fast food restaurant.

Kenwood United Church of Christ
The 124-year-old, Richardson Romanesque-style church at 4600 S. Greenwood Ave. was built in 1887. Designed by early Chicago architect William W. Boyington, the building features a 70-foot-high bell tower, large arched windows, and medieval-influenced foliate ornament. Wood trim and wooden trusses adorn its 1,700-seat sanctuary.

Boyington's few surviving works also include the old Water Tower and Pumping Station and the Rosehill Cemetery gatehouse.

Schlitz Brewery Tied House
Located at 1944 N. Oakley Ave. the German Renaissance Revival style tavern was commissioned in 1898 by Edward Uihlein of the Milwaukee-based Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. As a tied house, it exclusively sold Schlitz products. 

Schlitz was the most prolific builder of tied houses in Chicago, constructing at least 57 taverns from the 1890s to the early 1900s. Like many Schlitz tied houses, the facade at 1944 N. Oakley features a distinctive relief of the belted Schlitz beer globe insignia.  

Still used as a tavern, the structure is the last of a group of nine Schlitz tied houses that the Landmarks Commission has forwarded for landmark designation by City Council.

# # #