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Ask Chicagoist: Krause Music Store?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Jul 14, 2006 8:15PM

Hey Chicagoist,

The recent post on Louis Sullivan's upcoming 150th birthday anniversary got me thinking about Krause Music Store on Lincoln Ave. in Lincoln Square. I know it was the last building he designed before his death, and it used to house the Museum of Decorative Arts, but the museum closed (last year, I think). I seem to remember a sign about some structural repairs the owner couldn't afford to make. Do you know if there are any current plans for the space?


2006_07_askkrause.gifDear Fellow Architecture Lover,

The Krause Music Store is a gorgeous building, isn't it? At 4611 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicagoist thinks it's a remarkable landmark to have in Lincoln Square, something just different enough to stand out from the usual buildings. We were disappointed when owner Carol Schmidt decided to sell the building and close the Museum of Decorative Arts in May 2005. We never did make it there to check out the Art Deco, Victorian, and Art Noveau pieces they had on display.

Since the building was designated an offical Chicago Landmark in September 1977, the façade is safe from any alteration. The big "K" (for Krause) is at the center of the (as it says on the plaque on the building) "elaborate terra-cotta ornament, projecting above the roofline and framing the large display window." Louis Sullivan designed that facade with the built-in lights and white, black, and gray tiles in 1922, after being commissioned by architect William Presto. It was Sullivan's last project.

The building was originally built for William P. Krause, who lived in the apartment at the top and ran a music store on the main level. Seven years after the store opened, he closed it and rented the space to a funeral home, but he continued to live in the building until he died.

Tracking down what's going on with the building now was a little more of a challenge, however. When a variety of creative web searches turned up nothing, we contacted the Chicago Department of Landmarks to see if they knew what was going on with this Chicago landmark. They told us that the building was sold to Studio V Design, a graphic design, advertising, and marketing firm. The building, they thought, was undergoing interior renovations.

This theory was confirmed with the owner of the company, Pooja Vukosavich, who stated that Studio V is "restoring the façade (a Chicago Historical Landmark which can not be altered) and renovating and updating the interior to serve as our office space."

Hopefully the work will be completed soon and the façade will be better than ever, remaining a tribute to both Krause and Sullivan.

Image via Chicago Landmarks

Thinking about renovating? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.