Midwest Athletic Club

The West Garfield Park neighborhood was enjoying boom times in the 1920s.  A group of local businessmen organized the Midwest Athletic Club, and in 1926 commissioned a new headquarters building.  The site chosen was the northwest corner of Madison Street and Hamlin Boulevard, facing the park itself.

The firm of Michaelsen & Rognstad constructed a fourteen-story building in the ornate Spanish Baroque Revival style.  The completed facility featured two ballrooms, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a gym with a running track, and overnight guest rooms.  Club members proudly boasted of having the tallest building between the Loop and Des Moines, Iowa.

Then the stock market crashed.  By 1930 the club was bankrupt, and the building was converted into a hotel.  Then it was an apartment house.  By the time I took the photo in 1976, the onetime Midwest Athletic Club building seemed ripe for demolition.

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you might remember my stories and pictures on the Graemere and Southmoor.  Those fine old residential hotels are gone.  Happily, Michaelsen & Rognstad’s most noted building is still there on the corner of Madison and Hamlin, now called the Midwest Apartments.


2 Responses to “Midwest Athletic Club”

  1. 1 Garry July 8, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Lots of places claim to have Olympic size swimming pools, but it’s not true. An Olympic pool is 50 meters long or 168 feet.

    • 2 J.R. Schmidt July 8, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      It would seem that the club’s advertising copy was a wee-bit exaggerated. But when the clubhouse was constructed, it really was the tallest building between the Loop and Des Moines.

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