• Adler & Sullivan, Elmsley, Schneider James W Scoville building Chicago, new design

    I am excited to get started creating a model of this interesting  Sullivanesque1884 design after those that were connected to  Adler & Sullivan, George Elmslie, Kristian Schneider once on the James W Scoville building Chicago. I will be working on the clay model of this and upon completion of the various processes I’ll be producing them in hand-pressed kiln fired red terracotta just  like the originals.

    I have pretty much everything ready to start on my model this weekend of this charming and interesting 1884 design by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

    Image; Original 1884 artifact courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Art


    The printed-out greyscale drawing below, is what  I will use to point up the full sized landmarks on the surface of the clay for the design.

    The master model will be 13.3″ wide, 22″ high and 4″ deep- the size of the box form shown.

    Those involved in creating the original 1884 Chicago design are said to have included;

    Dankmar Adler
    Louis Sullivan
    George Grant Elmslie
    Kristian Schneider

    Kristian Schneider, a Norwegian sculptor, immigrated to Chicago in 1884, and had modeled all of Louis Sullivan’s ornamental work since 1889. He worked for NorthWestern Terracotta until 1906 when he and another worker opened their own shop to do contract work. Schneider was a clay modeller, said by one source to have worked at Northwestern Terracotta Co., another source said he worked at Midland Terracotta Co., and a third source said American TerraCotta Co., maybe over the years he worked at all three of them, but one thing for sure is he appears in photos in “Common Clay” standing by models produced for American TerraCotta for Chicago buildings, from which this design had originated.

    George Grant Elmslie worked closely with Louis Sullivan as his chief draftsman, he left Sullivan’s employ in 1909

    Dankmar Adler (July 3, 1844 – April 16, 1900) was a German-born American architect and civil engineer. He is best known for his ten-year partnership with Louis Sullivan.

    Some or all of these persons had a hand at designing the 1894 building and the ornament here, each has a unique story and history that could fill a book on it’s own, I won’t attempt to do that here beyond this brief summary of who they were and how they connect to this interesting design.

    The building was the James W Scoville building, once located at 619-631 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois and is depicted here pre-1973 when it was demolished;

    James W Scoville building

    Significance: This factory building, designed by Adler & Sullivan contains three different designs belonging to the transitional period (1880 and 1890) of Sullivan’s ornament. This structure was the best and most ornamental of all the few remaining factory buildings by Adler & Sullivan.

    -Historic American Building Survey number: HABS IL-1114
    -Demolished 1973
    – Building/structure dates: 1884-1885

    Call Number/Physical Location at the Library of Congress;
    HABS ILL,16-CHIG,91-

    Source Collection; Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
    Repository; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington,
    Rights Advisory; No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government.