The Rosenwald Court Apartments in Bronzeville was approved as an official City of Chicago landmark by City Council today.
Built in 1930 at 47th Street and Michigan Avenue by former Sears, Roebuck & Co. President Julius Rosenwald, the complex of connected, five- and three-story buildings provided workforce housing during the Great Migration era that ultimately drew a half million African Americans to Chicago in search of economic opportunity.
Originally called the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, the buildings served generations of local residents, including poet Gwendolyn Brooks, music producer Quincy Jones, singer Nat King Cole, boxer Joe Louis, and playwright Lorraine Hansberry.
Designed by Rosenwald’s nephew Ernest Grunsfield Jr., the structures’ brick exterior features a unique combination of Arts and Crafts brickwork with Art Moderne terra cotta detailing. The complex, which closed in 2000 and sat vacant for more than a decade, was reopened in 2016 following a $132 million, City-assisted restoration that created 239 one- and two-bedroom units for seniors and families.
The designation, which was recommended by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in July 2016, will protect the buildings’ exterior elevations and interior courtyard from alteration or demolition.
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