SULLIVAN, Louis Henry
(b. 1856, Boston, d. 1924, Chicago)

Schiller Theatre Building

1891
Photo
Library of Congress, Washington

Adler and Sullivan had evolved the configuration of the Auditorium Building in a series of theatre designs, notably in the Chicago Opera Festival Theatre (1885; destroyed) and the Pueblo Opera House in Colorado (1888-90; destroyed). Later they carried it to perfection in the Schiller Theatre (1891-93; destroyed), Chicago, regrettably the last of the firm’s theatre commissions.

The Schiller Theatre Building was designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler of the firm Adler & Sullivan for the German Opera Company. At the time of its construction, it was one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. Its centrepiece was a 1300-seat theatre, considered by architectural historians to be one of the greatest collaborations between Adler and Sullivan.

Opened in 1891, the Schiller Theatre was projected to be used for German-language operas and cultural events. In the late 1890s, it ceased its German performances and exhibited touring stage shows. In the 1930s, the building was converted into a movie theatre. It became a television studio in 1950 and returned to screening movies in 1957. After a long decline that began in the 1930s, the building (since 1903 named Garrick Theater) was razed early in 1961 and replaced with a parking structure. Hundreds of artefacts and ornaments from the building were salvaged.

The photo of 1900 shows the Schiller Building at 64 West Randolph Street, Chicago.